Posts Tagged ‘Campaign’

Note to the Democratic Party

Friday, October 30th, 2009

With Heather Wilson’s announcement yesterday that she will not run for Governor in 2010, there is only one thing that is crystal clear about the gubernatorial race… The Democratic Party of New Mexico has a messaging problem:

“Regardless of who emerges from the Republican primary, the lack of experience in their entire slate of Republican candidates should deeply concern New Mexicans,” Geise said. “Now is not the time for on-the-job training. We need a proven leader to help New Mexico families weather these tough times, and none of the Republicans running come close to meeting that challenge.”

What’s the problem with this message you ask? Well, it tries to define Lt. Governor Diane Denish as a proven leader. Of course, the only proven elected leadership Lt. Governor Denish has is as the second highest ranking member of the scandal plagued Richardson Administration. Heck, if you factor in the Governor’s out of state travel schedule, especially in the last four years, you might even argue that she has significant experience as acting Governor of a scandal plagued administration. Problem is you’d be arguing against Lt. Governor Denish herself:

Denish has said, in an attempt to distance herself from the scandal-plagued Richardson administration, “There is only one governor at a time.”

So, which is it? Is she a proven leader, or someone who spent the last seven years failing to prove leadership? Let’s say we give the Lt. Governor the benefit of the doubt and choose the former over the latter. Well, then we have a leader who has proven that she can be at the helm of the most corrupt, financially bankrupt and policy flawed administration in the history of New Mexico.

Our roads are crumbling, our schools are failing and not a week passes without someone tied to the administration getting indicted or resigning in shame. If this is what counts as “proven leadership” in the Democratic Party, then I think you’ll find most New Mexicans have just about had enough with the Denish/Richardson brand of proven leadership.

On the other hand, if we are to accept the Lt. Governor’s claim that the terrible mismanagement of the public trust belongs to Governor Bill Richardson, then she has a failure to prove leadership problem on her hands. See, over the last seven years, Lt. Governor Denish sat side by side with Governor Richardson and told New Mexicans that all was well in the Land of Enchantment. Now, we all know that all was not well. In fact, as we have spiraled further and further into crisis, one thing has becoming increasingly clear there has been a decisive lack of leadership shown within the ranks of the Richardson Administration.

Not Enough Screaming Insults

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Must have been an unbelievably slow news day. The front page of today’s online Albuquerque Journal has an “article” which is basically a free ad for Lt. Governor Diane Denish’s request for contributions:

Lt. Gov. Diane Denish is asking New Mexicans to restore civility to state politics — by contributing money to her gubernatorial campaign.

In an e-mail sent out to supporters Wednesday, Denish, the sole Democrat to enter the 2010 race thus far, said many New Mexicans have told her they’re tired of the name-calling and negativity of current politics.

“Stand with me against the screaming and the insults,” said Denish, who added that a contribution of $25, $50 or $100 would help her “put her foot down and say ‘enough is enough!'”

Sorry folks this isn’t news. There are lots of candidates out there asking for money, and unless the Journal plans on giving each and every one of them equal time, I think they ought to revisit their editorial policy.

As to the content of the Journal’s in-kind contribution to Lt. Governor Diane Denish’s campaign efforts, I can’t help but wonder what exactly the Lt. Governor wants everyone to stop screaming about? Does she want New Mexicans to stop screaming about the fact that this administration’s tenure has been marked by more criminal indictments and pay to play scandals than any other administration in recent history? Maybe she wants New Mexicans to stop screaming about a public education system that is failing more and more children every year?

As a former Chairman of the Democratic Party, does the Lt Governor find it insulting that a member of her own party would point out that OVER A BILLION DOLLARS is spent without required audits. Or, could it be that Lt. Governor Denish finds it insulting that she is being held accountable for failing to blow the whistle as tens of millions of dollars in taxpayers funds disappeared because of highly questionable investment practices.

Sorry, but if you ask me, there’s not near enough screaming going on in the Land of Enchantment. In fact, I hope the “screaming” grows louder, and I’m really not going to lose any sleep if the crooks, or their enablers, are insulted.

Mayor Chavez Buys Votes for $1.3 Million

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

I’ve long been an opponent of publicly funded campaigns, and it appears that the mayoral campaign currently underway is the perfect case study of why using our tax dollars to elect politicians is a lousy idea.

First, let’s consider how Albuquerque’s incumbent Mayor Marty Chavez was able to get on the ballot:

The confirmed city employees constitute 42 percent of the volunteer base used to collect the qualifying donations, making Fleisher correct in that respect. But those employees collected more than their share of the contributions. The review shows that 152 of the 295 books, or 52 percent, were used by city employees to qualify the mayor for public financing.

For example, the city’s employee relations manager, Lawrence Torres — who is the administration’s liaison with the city’s unionized workers — collected 10 books for the mayor, which was the largest group of books collected by one individual. Torres confirmed he collected the contributions, but declined to discuss how he did it, or why he participated in the drive.

Along with Torres, many of the city’s department directors — who are appointed by the mayor — collected contributions, as did many of their department managers plus the mayor’s own staff.

In other words, there is nothing grassroots about the whole taxpayer funded campaign program. The biggest beneficiaries are those already in office. Of course, getting your appointees to collect the signatures and money you need to get on the ballot and rake in the taxpayer money is only the beginning of the story.

Next comes the actual execution of the campaign. This is where you have to convince people to vote for you. Of course, once again, the incumbent in this case, Mayor Marty Chavez, has a great strategy. Try and buy the votes of a large voting block:

Mayor Martin Chávez says the city’s blue-collar, clerical, security and transit employees won’t have to wait an extra six months for their annual pay raises.

Chávez said his budget office had found about $1.3 million that isn’t needed in a workman’s compensation fund. That will allow the city to provide pay raises to more of its employees on July 1, the mayor said. The raises are expected to be about 3 percent.

That’s amazing! Mayor Chavez found $1.3 million to pass out as raises. Somebody please explain to me how that happens. Last I checked the City of Albuquerque was looking at huge budget shortfalls:

Albuquerque faces a $20 million budget shortfall because of the worsening economy, and city officials are trying bridge the budget gap without laying off city workers.

In fact, the $20 million budget shortfall is just the beginning. It has been estimated that this amount will grow even larger next year. Yet, the Mayor is handing out raises. There is only one motivation to do this – buying votes!

The Rest of the Story

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Looks like the New Mexico Independent left off the rest of the story in their ethics reform discussion with the Center for Civic Policy.

Matt Brix, policy director for the Center for Civic Policy, tells the Independent he’s hopeful that the ongoing federal investigation into how CDR Financial Products won more than $1.4 million in state contracts could lead to new momentum for enacting ethics reform legislation in New Mexico.

“I certainly hope the Legislature will see fit to approve much-needed ethics reforms like contribution limits, an independent ethics commission and an expansion of public financing,” Brix wrote in an e-mail to NMI. “After all, New Mexico is one of the last remaining states without contribution limits and independent oversight of both the executive and legislative branches.”

They left out the ironic part. The part that reminds everyone that an organization funded by the Center for Civic Policy is under investigation by the Attorney General for ethically questionable and potentially illegal campaign practices:

Attorney General Gary King today answered erroneous reports that his office was somehow backing away from its request to the Secretary of State’s Office to require a non-profit group to report campaign expenditures and abide by other requirements under the Campaign Practices Act and Lobbyist Regulation Act.

“Despite some reports to the contrary, we fully support our earlier position in a letter that the Secretary of State’s Office needs to tell the New Mexico Youth Organization (NMYO) to immediately comply with the law,” says Attorney General King. “Due to the spread of misinformation there seems to be some thought that my office had “disavowed” our letter or told the Secretary of State to “ignore” our advice, that is just not true. Those words were used, however, by others who support the NMYO.”

The AG also says, “If the Deputy Secretary of State thought we had instructed him to simply ignore our letter, then that was a misunderstanding on his part of what was said.”

Following receipt of a letter from the Center for Civic Policy (CCP), the Secretary of State’s Office forwarded the letter to the AG’s Office. In the letter, the CCP set forth a number of claims supporting NMYO’s actions and urged the Secretary of State not to grant the AGO’s request. Before they made a decision to disregard or follow the AG’s advice, the SOS was asked to let the AG’s office closely examine the CCP’s claims and report back. That is where the issue stands today.

NMYO is responsible for a number of messages distributed publicly that targeted state Legislators. The group claims that the mailers it sent out were not campaign materials. The Attorney General disagrees.

“There’s an old saying that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then its probably a duck,” say AG King. “And I think we know a duck when we see one.”


Heinrich Questions Deputies Integrity

Friday, October 31st, 2008

In an astonishing turn of events, Martin Heinrich’s campaign questions the integrity of every deputy in the Bernalillo County Sherriff’s department:

Every election year, deputies with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office escort poll workers from polling sites to the locations where they drop off the ballots, and this year deputies will be guarding the election warehouse until the vote is certified.

But one campaign is questioning the role deputies will be playing in the process this year because the deputies’ boss, Sheriff Darren White, is on the ballot.

“I think the interesting part and the disturbing part for me is that these officers will be sheriff’s officers who work for Darren White,” said Jason Burke, a campaign strategist for Martin Heinrich, White’s opponent in the campaign to represent New Mexico’s first congressional district.

This is simply amazing to me. These are men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve all of us – regardless of political persuasion. Plus, as the Heinrich camp knows all too well, Sheriff’s deputies don’t touch the ballots, they only safeguard those transporting the ballot. So, the implication here is that these deputies would attack those protecting they are charged with protecting in order to alter the ballots. Unbelievable!

You can catch me this Sunday morning on KOB-TV’s Eye on New Mexico at 10:00 a.m. discussing the election.

Martin Heinrich Blew It

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

A lot of last night’s televised debate on KOB-TV between former City Councilor Martin Heinrich and Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White for the 1st Congressional covered familiar ground and campaign tazlking points. However, Darren White hammered one point home that will really hurt Martin Heinrich going into this final stretch of the election.

Darren truthly pointed out over and over again that Martin Heinrich was the only candidate running for federal office in New Mexico who did not state a position on the bailout when questioned by the Albuquerque Journal.

Martin Heinrich Democrat Did not say if he would have voted for or against bill, but criticized it.

This fact, more than any other, demonstrates that Martin Heinrich is not ready to represent us in Congress. The biggest economic crisis to face our country since the Great Depression, and Heinrich dodges the question by refusing to take a position – UNACCEPTABLE.

The Boomers are Pulling Their Money

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

There has been a great deal written about the fact that the Baby Boomer generation has control of the greatest amount of wealth this country has ever seen.  In the past the focus has been on the ultimate transfer of that wealth.  But, of late, we’re seeing that wealth disappearing at a phenomenal pace with market decline on top of market decline.

So, the question remains how long will the Boomers leave their money in the market?  My guess (and anecdotal evidence) is that they’re starting to pull it out in droves, and I don’t think that’s going to stop between now and Election Day.  I don’t believe they are going to put the money under their mattresses, but they are probably going to convert it into FDIC insured accounts until the market settles.
Obviously, I thought the bailout was a bad idea.  I put up a couple of posts arguing against it. And, I’m pretty sure, like most “great” government solutions, this one is going to suffer from unintended consequences – namely, the continued decline of Wall Street.  
See, by raising the FDIC insured amount to $250,000, the government just encouraged people on fixed incomes (read:retirees) and those about to retire to pull their money out and put it where it’s safely insured.  
The politicians used a lot of doom and gloom rhetoric to rationalize the bailout, and they built up the expectation that as soon as it was passed the market and economy would be turned around. But, it’s just not working out that way.  There is no way it can.  We’re going to continue to see market declines through Election Day, and my prediction is that the Democrats are going to win big across the nation because of it – although, I hope I’m wrong.
No, it’s not because the Republicans are the cause of the economic downturn.  There’s plenty of blame to go around on both sides of the aisle, and in our own lives (count your credit cards). However, most Democrats believe that government can provide the solutions to every social issue and economic challenge, so it makes sense they would vote for the bailout.  Whereas, Republicans are supposed to believe in a free market economy (or at least something resembling one), many turned their back on those values and opted for the magic quick fix.  
The problem is, there is no such thing as a magic quick fix. 

Dead Heat is Bad News for Heinrich

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

That statistical dead heat in the 1st Congressional District race is bad news for Martin Heinrich (subscription):

The 1st Congressional District race is a close one, with Republican Darren White and Democrat Martin Heinrich running nearly even for the open seat, a Journal Poll found.

In interviews with likely voters, Heinrich, a former Albuquerque city councilor, was two points ahead of White, the Bernalillo County sheriff.

Heinrich was backed by 43 percent of the registered, likely voters in the 1st Congressional District survey. White had 41 percent. Sixteen percent were undecided.

The survey was conducted Sept. 29-Oct. 2 and has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points plus or minus. Heinrich’s 2-point edge over White wasn’t statistically significant, said Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling Inc. in Albuquerque, which conducted the poll.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Republicans have an uphill battle this year for a variety of reasons. We all know that. Although I admit I’m confused as to how some folks can be enamored of a change to Democratic control. After all, the Democrats won Congress two years ago on a platform of change, and look how well that has worked out for all of us.

Anyway, back to the poll. Heinrich has more money than White, and based on Democratic performance in mid-term elections in Republican strongholds across the country, Heinrich should be sweeping Darren White in the polls, but he is not.

Disclaimer stuff: In case you missed the previous disclaimers, I’m a big White supporter.

Declining Performance

Monday, October 6th, 2008

I probably should have given this more attention last week, but I guess better late than never. It looks like even by her own accounting District Attorney Kari Brandenburg’s performance is spiraling downward (subscription):

[Kari] Brandenburg says the DA’s Office got convictions in 57 percent of the cases it took to trial in 2007 and says the overall conviction rate since she took office is more than 95 percent, taking into account guilty pleas.

Brandenburg concedes the data raise some questions and said she will thoroughly look into all of the cases on the list.

She pointed out that some of the cases were gang-related and witnesses backed out of testifying at the last minute. Four of the acquittals and three of the mistrials involved sex crimes, which she said are hard to get convictions on.

Of the four murder cases on this year’s list, there were three convictions and one acquittal.

Torraco had a different view of the 2008 statistics.

“It’s a disgrace. It’s a travesty. There are a million words to describe this,” said Torraco, who believes the DA’s Office should win 80 percent of its cases. “I am seriously questioning their ability to analyze cases.

“When we have a DA whose loss record is greater than 50 percent, we know she is clogging the system with cases that should not have even been brought.”

Let’s review, shall we? District Attorney Kari Brandenburg has an overall conviction rate over the last eight years of 95%. But, in 2007 according to her own analysis, that rate dropped to 57%, and then according to an analysis done by her opponent in the District Attorney’s race, Lisa Torraco, that conviction rate has dropped down to an alarming 37% for the first six months of this year.

At this rate of decline, it won’t be long before the all of the criminals are running around free on our streets. But, probably most troubling for me is this statement that District Attorney Brandenburg made:

Brandenburg concedes the data raise some questions and said she will thoroughly look into all of the cases on the list.

How can you run an office as District Attorney and only become aware of the precipitous drop in convictions through an Albuquerque Journal interview? How exactly has she been benchmarking her performance if she wasn’t already aware of the significant declines in convictions.

It’s this type of declining performance that makes it clear that District Attorney Kari Brandenburg must go.

Disclosure: I’m supporting Lisa Torraco for D.A.

Waiting for the Iglesias’s Ad

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Joel Gay put up an article today in which he acknowledges the fireworks have begun in the 1st Congressional District race between Darren White and Martin Heinrich. And, by fireworks he means the negative ads.

If you think the race for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District seems quieter than anticipated, you’re not alone. What was widely expected to be a barn-burner has largely been a snoozer. The candidates have kept relatively low profiles and the airwaves have been largely devoid of their names and faces.

That’s started to change, with Republican Darren White and Democrat Martin Heinrich trading blows over debate schedules, resumes and flip-flops on various policies. And just this week, White came out with the first negative ad.

Hmm, Joel, you might want to go back and review the ad releases dates. I’m pretty sure that Mr. Heinrich beat Darren in the “first negative ad” category. There was that embarrassingly cheesy hit piece that Mr. Heinrich put out a couple of weeks ago, and there was at least on other one before that. Although, on second thought that first ad I’m recalling may have been paid for by the DCCC, which I’m sure has nothing to do with the Heinrich campaign – just like Martin Heinrich didn’t really need to register as a lobbyist when he was lobbying.

But, I will agree with your assessment that the negative ads are going to start to fly now from both camps. In fact, I couldn’t help but notice that David Iglesias was back in the news:

“Looking back on all of this, in hindsight, I wish the department had not gone down this road,” he said. He said he would not have included on the dismissal list U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico, who has said he was pressured over a corruption investigation.

Of course, we all know that the “pressure” that David Iglesias received was not over a corruption investigation (he would have been required to report that – kind of the requirement to report you’re a lobbyist], but the pressure was about his unwillingness to prosecute ACORN’s fraudulent voter registration election cycle after election cycle.

You probably have noticed the result of Mr. Iglesias ongoing failure to prosecute has embolden the organization. ACORN is now acting in such a fraudulently criminal manner that even the Democratic Bernalillo County Clerk has had to call in to question their practices – something Mr. Iglesias never had the stomach for.

Such is the situation for Bernalillo County, which reported, the day before Obama’s Española rally, that it had received 1,100 fraudulent voter-registration cards. While there is no information, yet, on where those cards came from, Matthew Henderson, ACORN’s New Mexico head organizer, acknowledges some could have come from his group. ACORN, he says, has registered 75,000 New Mexicans during this election cycle. While the group separates suspect forms into a separate stack, he says, it’s ultimately up to county clerks to decide which are valid.

In the case of Bernalillo, County Clerk Maggie Toulouse-Oliver notified the district attorney, Attorney General and US Attorney Offices about the bogus voter-registration cards. “If they want to conduct an investigation,” she says, “that’s their prerogative.”

Now, I’ve got a prediction. I’m willing to bet that Heinrich’s campaign (or it’s alter ego, the DCCC) will put out an ad trying to link Darren White to David Iglesias as Election Day gets closer. Heck, they’ll probably even use an article the Albuquerque Journal published on April 15, 2007, which places Darren White at a meeting with the Department of Justice during the 2006 election cycle. Of course, there would be one problem with that tactic

FOR THE RECORD: This story has been corrected to reflect that Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White met with Kyle Sampson, chief of staff for U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in Washington in 2005 — not in 2006.

Now, if I know the record has been corrected, we know that Martin Heinrich and his alter ego the DCCC know that it’s been corrected. The question is will they let the truth get in their way? You know, like the truth about needing to register as a lobbyist when you’re lobbying.