On November 7, 2018 Joe Monahan on his political blog “New Mexico Politics With Joe Monahan”, posted an excellent article summarizing the final outcome of the 2018 New Mexico midterms.
As usual, Mr. Monahan provides a number of revelations that only he is able to provide because of his news sources developed over 30 years in the business.
The link to the full blog is: http://joemonahansnewmexico.blogspot.com/
Following is Mr. Monahan’s November 7, 2018 blog article:
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
BernCo Tsunami Felt Statewide As Dems Sweep; Herrell Lone Bright Spot For R’s (Maybe!); Dem State House Pick Ups Could Reach 7; GOP Icons Fall; Anti-Trump Sentiment Sends Turnout Soaring; Possible MLG Staff Chief Floats; Udall Announces 2020 Re-elect; Ben Ray To Leadership?
A blue tsunami washed over Bernalillo County Tuesday night, flattening the Republican Party and making possible a Democratic sweep of every major statewide office. The damage was so thorough that it appeared Bernalillo County might have only one Republican state representative in Santa Fe at the next legislative session in January.
Swept away was Republican gubernatorial nominee Steve Pearce who lost BernCo 62 to 38 to Michelle Lujan Grisham and lost the state 57-43.
The two opponents of Senator Martin Heinrich never showed. He won a second term with 53 percent. Dem Deb Haaland managed 59 percent in a three way race to take the ABQ congressional seat.
All statewide results here: http://electionresults.sos.state.nm.us/default.aspx
BernCo results here: https://results.bernco.gov/
GOP state land commissioner candidate Pat Lyons was defeated by Dem Stephanie Garcia Richard 50 to 44 with 6 for a Libertarian candidate. She beat him in BernCo by over 35,000. It was the first ever defeat for Lyons, yet another sign of the Dem wave.
Republican foes of Attorney General Hector Balderas, State Auditor candidate Brian Colon and State Treasurer Tim Eichenberg were all overwhelmed as were the GOP opponents of four Democratic women seeking seats on the NM Court of Appeals. The ten member court will now have its most women members in history.
The only bright light for the GOP was an apparent close win–50-49 (as of 2 A.M. today) by southern GOP congressional candidate Yvette Herrell who closed out Democrat Xochitl Torres Small to emerge in a race that drew national interest and money.
Torres Small was not conceding as Herrell led by 2,000 votes because:
Dona Aña County had about 4,000 absentee ballots still to be counted. The absentee precinct board was to reconvene at 10 a.m. to continue the tabulation. In addition, there are another 4,000 votes that haven’t been added to the published results yet, for a total of 8,000 votes outstanding, officials said.
Looks like a wild finish. Just like the campaign. If Torres Small were to get 62.5 percent of this outstanding ballots she would take the lead in the race. The clerk’s office there has been plagued with scandal. Their decision to stop the count is going to raise suspicions among the R’s. Stay tuned.
AN EXISTENTIAL EVENT
The rout, which will see the Democrats gain as many as 7 seats in the state House, raised fundamental questions about the future of the NM GOP. Former ABQ GOP State Senator Diane Snyder, appearing on our KANW 89.1 FM election coverage, spoke for Republicans statewide as she declared;
We must simply find a way to figure out Bernalillo County.
The D landslide in BernCo was matched by ones in blue Santa and Taos counties. In Taos Lujan Grisham received a stunning 81 percent of the vote; in Santa Fe it was 79%.
It was this county troika that was deadly to the R’s and threatens to undermine them for years to come. The three counties are hardening into Democratic citadels akin to what we have seen in California and Oregon. And Dona Ana is not far behind.
Turnout soared, especially in BernCo where 57 percent of the registered voters came out–over 240,000. That is a shout away from what you get in presidential election years. The anti-Trump vote was galvanized, noted NM House Speaker Brian Egolf, as he surveyed the GOP carnage from his war room at the Hotel ABQ.
Several House seats appeared headed to recounts but the existential threat the R’s face in ABQ (and thus NM) was nowhere more evident than in the ABQ NE Heights seat of the late Republican Larry Larranaga. An 82 year old physician, Bill Pratt, was given little chance of winning but is now on his way to the Roundhouse, an affirmation that the blue creep in big BernCo is now overtaking territory once considered unassailable by Democratic assaults.
ABQ GOP State Rep. Monica Youngblood thought she had a chance. She sent out a letter to her constituents apologizing for her aggravated DWI conviction. But the tsunami showed no mercy and she was drowned in a landslide by Dem foe Karen Bash, a 72 year old retired minister.
Cries for help were heard in other once conservative bastions but they went unheeded. Rep. James Dines fell along with longtime GOP icons Brad Winter and Jimmie Hall.
All were defeated by women who may now hold 31 of the 70 state House seats, a watershed moment in state politics. And the first Muslim ever elected to the state House engineer Abbas Akhil, who unexpectedly defeated Dines, will sit with them.
When all is said and done and in some cases recounted , the state House could go from a 38 to 32 majority to as much as 45 or 46. And it may not get better for a long, long time. The new Democratic Governor will be in her chair when legislative redistricting takes place in 2021.
Michael Lujan Grisham
The Governor-elect’s first order of business was to chastise her staff on statewide TV for not having her acceptance speech placed in the teleprompter. She yelled out for assistance but none was forthcoming so she told the crowd she would “speak from her heart.” She could have read from the telephone book and pleased the crowd, so delirious they were over her smashing victory.
She leaned on familiar themes–universal pre-K, renewable energy and teacher pay–to fill the time. The undelivered speech released to the media was actually quite similar to her ad libbed remarks. No news was made.
But the Alligators have news. They always do. So hold on.
A Senior Alligator reports to us the mystery over who will hold the powerful post of chief of staff to soon-to-be Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham may have an answer. That answer could be Lawrence Rael, a bureaucrat’s bureaucrat who has served as Chief Administrative Officer to several ABQ mayors and who is currently Chief Operating Officer for ABQ Mayor Mayor Tim Keller.
Rael is a native New Mexican who ran for the Dem Guv primary in 2014. The chief of staff position would put him directly in the orbit of the office that he has long thirsted for. He also has the administrative experience to run the day to day affairs of state government, a skill set not readily available on the Democratic bench.
Insiders say the transition of the new administration is still being fleshed out. The Governor-elect could begin by nominating cabinet appointees who could then lead the transition for their departments, but that’s just one scenario. A transition announcement is set for 2 p.m. today.
Pearce, 71, said in defeat that he is not ready for retirement. Well, he can always watch over his business interests, but as an elected official he is done. However, he will have a say on the future of the GOP because of Herrell’s election to the congressional sea.t Both are foes of the Gov. Martinez/Jay McCleskey wing of the party and will try to rebuild it in their image–not theirs.
For her part, Herrell, who is now the most prominent elected GOP official in the state had this to say:
It’s a good thing for the district that I like to talk. Because I am going to be talking about New Mexico shared values for the next two years.
“Shared values” seemed to be a call for unity by the pro-Trump Herrell. Will she moderate a tad in an attempt to lead the state GOP and in preparation for 2020? After all Xochitl appears ready to try again.
BEN RAY LUJAN
The Democrats reclaimed the US House Election Night and that means the star of NM Dem US Rep Ben Ray Lujan, chair of the Dem Congressional Campaign Committee, is shining brightly. Is a House leadership position in his future? Could be. Sources on the Hill say that the job of Assistant Democratic Leader could be vacated by Rep. Jim Clyburn paving the way for Nancy Pelosi to name Lujan to the job. Pelosi appears poised to retake the Speaker’s gavel.
SENATOR TOM UDALL
Udall stamped out the “not running” in 2020 rumors once and for all in an interview with me on KANW. He referenced our Monday blog in which we quoted insiders who said he was ready to run after months of rumors that he would not. Udall, 70, said those insiders have it right. He is off and running. The Dems lost power in the US Senate last night, but NM turned even deeper blue, making another Udall run an easier task. Truly a mixed night for him.
Reporting from Albuquerque, I’m Joe Monahan”
I once again bow to Joe and say “I am not worthy, I am not worthy” when it comes to reporting on New Mexico politics in his world of “La Politica”.
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