Sunday, July 31, 2005

Journal "politics" headline today--what the heck was that?

I love today's front page headline in the Albuquerque Journal.

"Politics Clouds Mayor's Race"

God, that's awful! Politics in the Mayor's race?

Look for tomorrow's Journal Business section headline "Investing Takes Over Stock Market"

Or their sports section headline "Running Dominates Marathon"

C'mon guys, Isn't the Mayor' race by nature political? God forbid politics should enter it. I chalk this up to another example of the petty disgust people have for politics. What do they want, non-competitive races for public office? It's crazy, and someone was asleep at the Journal Saturday night.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Griego Should Oust Espinosa from Mayor's Race

Albuquerque Mayoral candidates filed their petition signatures yesterday at city hall and all had enough to qualify at face value. But the Journal reports that the City Clerk has been dismissing many signatures as invalid.

Candidates Judy Espinosa and David Steele had barely met the number needed to get on the ballot and with the Clerk dismissing many invalid signatures from petitions, these two candidates run the risk of being booted from the race.

If the Clerk fails to find enough invalid signatures to remove Espinosa from the ballot, Mayoral candidate Eric Griego should consider challenging her signatures further and see if he can invalidate enough of her signatures. It might be worth his while to have Espinosa off the ballot and leave himself as the only viable democrat alternative to Mayor Chavez.

In fact, Griego might even want to make sure Steele stays off the ballot as well. A three man race is much more attractive to Griego than a four-man race. Assuming Winter and Chavez go toe-to-toe and raise each other's negatives, Eric could have a change of gaining votes as the alternative to the two nasty campaigners and could make it into a run-off.

What happens in the next few days and the construction of who is on the Mayoral ballot will have a big impact on the Mayor's race.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Brad Winter's Rovian Strategy

On tonight's news, City Councilor Brad Winter attacked the Albuquerque Police Chief and the Mayor on the number and distribution of forces in the City.

Winter's attack could be a smart one.

Noted political advisor Karl Rove made a name for himself in campaigns by attacking his opponent's perceived greatest strength. One needs to look no further than Rove's strategy to attack Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry on his war record, which was always thought to be untouchable. As we all know, Bush's attacks on Kerry's war record were successful.

On a smaller scale, Winter (who is running for Mayor) is attacking Mayor Martin Chavez on his record on crime. Chavez won his 1993 Mayor's race based on his stance on crime. He road the crime issue to victory again in 2001 and that issue remains not only his strongest, but the one with the greatest resonance with moderate voters--the same voters Winter is vying for.

Chavez should learn something from John Kerry's campaign and fight back early and often and retain his advantage on the issue of crime.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Eric Griego's Calculations--How does he win?

I’ve been pondering how city councilor Eric Griego can win the Mayor’s race. As far as I’m concerned, there are three real candidates in this race—candidates that have the money and the ability to communicate the message they need to win. Sorry, Judy Espinosa and David Steele, you just don’t have the money to get your message out or the manpower. Thanks for playing now please get out of the race.

Griego, Councilor Brad Winter and Mayor Martin Chavez do have the money (Winter may not now but presumably will) to get their message out by mail, TV or radio. Winter and Greigo need to spend a lot of those resources on pumping up name id, Marty doesn’t have to.

Marty has the name identification and incumbency helping him, Brad Winter has the Republican Party backing him up, but what does Eric have? How does he win this race?

I think the key for Eric is, obviously, forcing a runoff. If no one receives 40% of the vote on election day, it forces a runoff between the top two finishers. The only chance for Eric to get above 40% is for Winter and Chavez to so thoroughly destroy themselves and bring each other’s negatives to the point of no return. With Winter’s late entry in the race, the likelihood of reaching that boiling point is pretty slim.

So, how does Eric get in the runoff? Eric’s campaign hopes that Winter and Chavez battle it out -- with Chavez trying to steal Winter’s republican votes and Winter trying to retain republican votes and “out republican” Marty. Eric’s hope must be that while Winter and Chavez battle it out for Republicans and in the process start negative campaigning against each other, democrats, disgusted with Marty and his conservative leanings will turn to Eric, thus denying Marty his 40% while Marty is simultaneously denying Winter’s 40% by stealing Republicans. All this is moot if Winter succeeds in coalescing the Republican voters behind his candidacy and turns them out to vote.

If Eric can force a run-off with either Marty or Winter, he stands a good chance of staying competitive. If Marty or Winter enter the runoff battered and bruised Eric could slip in as an alternative to the nastiness fomented by Winter or Chavez during the first election.

Against Marty, Eric would make the run-off be a referendum on the incumbent and a campaign against the nastiness Marty showed towards Brad. If running against Winter, Griego could solidify the democrat base against the Republican base and fight with Winter for moderate votes.

There are, of course, a lot of subplots here that certainly can throw a wrench into any of this. For instance, will Judy Espinosa effectively steal away just enough progressive votes from Eric to make him miss the runoff? Also, what will Eric do during August to affect the inevitable Brian Sanderoff/Albuquerue Journal late August/early September poll that will let us know where the Mayor’s race stands? If Eric is below, say 15% in that poll, he’s in trouble and the media will focus on the two-man race b/w Winter and Chavez. Will Eric continue to raise money and can he run an effective campaign? Will this campaign reveal the truth about the effectiveness of the Soltari consulting firm? Who will run the best, most innovative, smart campaign? How will Winter run in a way to capture both the GOP faithful and moderate republicans? What will be the ultimate role of the NM GOP in the race—outside interest (attack) group or joined at the hip with Brad?

Just some thoughts on a lazy Saturday. ..

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

With Judge Roberts on the Court, I Guess We'll Have That Baby Now

After the announcement that President Bush will nominate conservative justice John Roberts to the court the structure of the Supreme Court will certainly change and many national issues will be affected.

But closer to home, a friend of mine called with the news and showed why the nomination of Roberts to the Supreme Court has a direct, personal effect on many that we don't always realize.

"With this Roberts thing, my husband and I are are moving up the plans for the baby" my friend said in a panic. In her opinion, if she and her husband don't have the child they want to have in the next year they risk going through a pregnancy under the reality of a new Supreme Court that will change the choices available to young parents today. More conservative judges on the Supreme Court will result in the inevitable roll-back of laws that provide parents with any reproductive choices.

"What if there's problems, I mean, with the baby? These guys on the Court don't care." Her fears are valid. Conservative jurists like Roberts feel that there is no justification for the termination of a pregnancy at an point, despite the heath of the mother, despite the health of the baby.

Times are changing and intelligent, informed observers of the political atmosphere are in the position of making very difficult decisions. Welcome to the new reality.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Patricia Madrid-Running or Not?

The speculation around whether attorney General Patricia Madrid will run or not run for the 1st Congressional District increased yesterday as invitations to a fundraiser for Madrid's Political Action Committee, "Justice for America" hit New Mexicans' mailboxes.

For someone planning to run for Congress, it is unusual to start raising money for their political action committee as opposed to raising money to run for Congress. Madrid had a total balance of $126,000 in her PAC account as of the end of May. So why does she need more?

More importantly, Madrid's PAC is a soft-money PAC that is not allowed to contribute or "play" in federal races. McCain/Feingold places strict limits on spending money like this in anything related to a federal race. So, clearly this is a PAC meant to be used in New Mexico state elections and not federal elections. If she runs for Congress and attempts to spend her PAC money to bolster her Congressional bid, she will fall under serious scrutiny.

Just looking at those factors seem to point to Madrid not running in a U.S. House race and limiting herself to in-state activities. Also affecting Madrid's decision is the Green Party's interest in getting involved in the 1st CD race, especially if Madrid is the democrat's nominee. The Green Party still harbors ill-will towards Madrid after, as AG, she opined against the Green Party in various situations that reduced their party status.

So, is Madrid focusing on another race?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Liberal talk radio catching on in Albuquerque

Joe Monahan's blog posted the other day (link) some information on the "Arbitron" ratings for radio stations in Albuquerque. Arbitron surveys radio listeners and analyzes the percentage of radio listeners listening to particular stations. (link)

Joe correctly noted that KKOB talk radio is # 1 in Albuquerque and liberal talker KABQ 1350 AM is a surprising #2 in the talk radio market. KABQ features national shows like Al Franken and Randi Rhodes.

But looking deeper into the numbers you find that KKOB lost some listeners over the last few months while KABQ has doubled its listenership since the winter. Pretty interesting, one has to wonder what liberal listeners were tuning into before KABQ came along.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Newsweek Reports that Rove was the Leaker

Newsweek Weekly has reported that White House aide Karl Rove was indeed the person who leaked the name of an undercover CIA agent to the press. (link)

So, in a time when national security is of upmost importance, The Republican White House is jeopardizing our national security by revealing the identity of CIA secret agents working on our behalf. Terrific.

Let's see how many Republicans dare to call for his resignation.

Friday, July 08, 2005

NM GOP/Winter Look Silly With E-Mail Story

If there ever was a ridiculous, internal campaign story that doesn’t matter one iota to the voting public it is the story that ran for a few days in the Albuquerque Journal about the Sate GOP complaining that Mayor Martin Chavez’s campaign may have found a way to get the Republican’s email list. See "GOP Fear Database Breached" (link) Apparently, Republicans across the state are receiving emails from Chavez’s campaign, which in itself seems to be offensive to the State GOP and warrants a criminal investigation.

Whoa! Send in the National Guard! Maybe US Attorney David Iglesias should be brought in to prosecute the alleged copying-and-pasting of Republicans’ emails. . . .

Seriously, who cares? What’s next, allegations that Chavez is stealing Winter’s yard signs?

Chavez offered a completely plausible explanation for the fact that he has Republican emails—he has Republican supporters that are, presumably, on various republican lists and gave him those emails. The Republicans have offered no explanation and no reason to accuse Chavez other than he is emailing Republicans. Is that a crime? In the Albuquerque Journal articles, the State GOP seems to suggest that somehow there was hacking or breaking-in or something criminal involved, but no evidence was provided in public reports to substantiate that.

This represents the second attempt by the state GOP to attack Marty Chavez on behalf of City Councilor Brad Winter, who is also running for Mayor and is recipient of the State GOP’s support. The first being their attempt to defend Winter against recorded phone calls against Winter on the voter i.d. issue.

In an earlier post about Winter, I noted the fact that Mayor Chavez appears to really want to be Mayor and Winter seems to have been pushed into running by the State GOP and doesn’t really, really want the Mayor’s seat. Marty’s campaign effort, whether he lifted emails or not, looks more aggressive in these recent stories and Winter looks more and more like a whiner.

The NM GOP’s insistence on pursuing this story is hurting their candidate. They are further establishing the fact that Marty is an aggressive campaigner who seeks votes from members of all parties which, in turn, makes him look more independent and less tied to a Party. Meanwhile, the Republican Party’s effort to push this story hurts Winter’s moderate image and makes him look more and more like a pawn of the Republican Party. Maybe winter should stop complaining and show voters what he’s doing to draw votes from all political persuasions?

Better yet, Brad Winter might consider asking “experts” at the State GOP to stay out of his race.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Are we being set-up on the Gonzales nomination?

Call me conspiratorial, but I 'm just wondering if we are being set-up by the President.

If you notice, hardly 2 hours after Justice O'Connor announced her resignation, conservative groups immediately denounced the potential nomination of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to the post on the basis that he wasn't conservative enough.

Is this a tactic of the White House? Make sure the message gets out that Gonzales is too conservative, so when the Democrats in the Senate accuse him of being conservative while considering his nomination, the Republicans and the White House can point to all the conservative groups that coincidentally have come out and said that he's not conservative enough?

Notice how Gonzales hasn't exactly come out and said, "I enjoy being Attorney General and what to finish the job I was just recently appointed to." He's left the door open to his nomination to the Supreme Court.

Given that the White House has planned out their Supreme Court strategy for months, do you think they aren't orchestrating this whole thing in concert with these Conservative organizations?

Something to ponder . . . .