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. ..

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