There are 6 Democrats running for the First Congressional District being vacated by Mitchelle Lujan Grisham and they are:
Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis
Former Democratic Party Chair Debra Haaland
Former UNM Law School Associate Dean Antonette Sedillo Lopez
Immigration and tax attorney Damian Lara
Former United State Attorney for the District of New Mexico Damon Martinez
Albuquerque businessman Paul Moya
New Mexico’s largest LGBT advocacy group Equality New Mexico has endorsed Debra Haaland for the Democratic nomination in the First Congressional District over openly gay Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis.
A few within the Albuquerque’s Gay Community are downright angry that Equality New Mexico did not endorse Pat Davis in the congressional race.
Davis supporters within the gay community have expressed the opinion that his long record of advocating for LGBT rights makes him more deserving of the endorsement.
One Davis supporter even went as far as to say “If our state’s largest LGBT organization can’t even stand with prominent and highly qualified gay elected officials, they shouldn’t expect other elected officials or LGBT citizens in the community to trust or support them.”
Adrian N. Carver, the executive director of Equality New Mexico, in defending the Haaland endorsement, said:
“[It was] a hard call [for Equality New Mexico’s Board] … We endorsed Deb because she has been a long and passionate advocate not only for Equality New Mexico for years, but she has demonstrated she can win the campaign and that her campaign is viable. … The importance of the First Congressional District is huge and we’re not in the business of electing somebody just because they are gay … We’re in the business of getting the best person who is best situated for our… issues.”
DIALING FOR DOLLARS
It is typical for “non-incumbent” congressional candidates, like all those running to replace Michelle Lujan Grisham, to allocate 4 to 6 hours a day making phone calls to raise as much money as they can.
They call donors off of lists curried from other successful campaigns, lists of reliable contributors, lists of party activists, lists of national associations and corporations that may have the same philosophy, and lists of friends and associates, and any lists they can get their hands on.
It’s called “dialing for dollars”.
Frankly, raising money to have enough money to run an effective campaign sucks, especially when you have to turn the donations over to professional campaign consultants who then bleed you dry.
Candidate’s remaining time after “dialing for dollars” is allocated to attend public and social functions, fundraisers, house parties and work with political campaign advisors.
What a candidate for congress can raise is a true indicator if they are viable candidates, especially when it comes to federal races like US Senate and US House of Representatives.
From review of Federal Election campaign finance forms, Pat Davis ranks #5 out of six candidates running for congress.
Federal Election Commission reporting forms reflect that at the end of March, each candidate has raised and has on hand the following:
1. Former State Democratic Candidate Debra Haaland’s reported raising over $684,030 and has $347,394 on hand.
2. Former UNM Law School Associate Dean Antonette Sedillo Lopez reported raising $706,954 and has $456,799 on hand.
3. Former United State Attorney for the District of New Mexico Damon Martinez raised $541,503 and has $276,532 on hand.
4. Immigration and tax attorney Damian Lara reported raising $324,068 and has $139,285 on hand.
5. Pat Davis reported raising $293,970 and has $61,113 on hand.
6. Albuquerque Businessman Paul Moya reported raising $191,539 and has $161,721 on hand.
HIGH NAME ID MINUS HIGH NEGATIVES EQUALS NO DONATIONS
According to campaign polling, Pat Davis has the highest name identification (ID) than all the other candidates.
His high name ID is likely attributable to the media coverage he gets as an Albuquerque City Councilor and for that reason he should be doing better, but he is not.
The problem is that Pat Davis has high negatives according to a few polls.
Pat Davis commissioned an “auto-phone” opinion poll with Public Policy Poll (PPP).
The poll was conducted the weekend of Friday, April 13, 2018 to Sunday, April 15, 2018 and consisted of contacting 508 registered democrats with the poll having a margin of error of 4.4%.
According to the poll, Debra Haaland and Antoinette Sedillo Lopez are tied with 15%.
Pat Davis polled at 11% and Damon Martinez polled at 7%.
The remaining candidates polled in single digits or not listed at all.
A whopping 43% of those polled were undecided.
With a field of 6 candidates, 43% of undecided taken approximately six weeks before the primary is very high.
With so many undecided, campaign funding for a media over the next few weeks before the June 5 primary will be critical and likely be the determining factor in winning the primary.
Pat Davis has not been able to raise the kind of money needed to run for congress because he is not as well liked within the gay community nor among progressive Democrats as he and his supporters think he is, something he has now found out from his fund raising, his poll numbers and now his failure to get the Equality New Mexico endorsement.
Davis is viewed by many as more of an opportunist that has used the organization he helped create, Progress Now, to curry favor and further his own personal ambitions from the start, first by running for Bernalillo County Sherriff, then to get elected to City Council just 2 years ago and now to run for US Congress.
DAVIS CAN RUN FOR CONGRESS BUT CAN NOT HIDE FROM HIS RECORD
One of the biggest reasons why Pat Davis is not being supported by many progressives is his actions and voting record on the Albuquerque City Council.
Pat Davis agreed with the former Republican Berry Administration and voted with the Republican City Councilors on so many resolutions and ordinances you would think Pat Davis was in fact a Republican.
Just 7 of the many egregious specifics regarding Pat Davis’s action and voting record on the Albuquerque City Council that go against the core of Democratic principles include:
1. Davis has voted repeatedly for and supported Republican Mayor Berry’s ART Bus project and funding. Davis refused to advocate to put ART on the ballot for public approval, telling his constituents at a forum that there was nothing he could do and it was the Mayor’s project. Davis voted to spend federal grant money that had yet to be appropriated by congress. The ART Bus project has been a total disaster resulting the destruction of the character of Route 66 and having a negative impact and resulting in several businesses going out of business. A few Nob Hill businesses, including many progressives, at one time advocated a recall of his election because of his support for ART.
2. The Albuquerque City Council plays a crucial oversight role of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) including controlling its budget. Davis has done nothing when it comes to Albuquerque Police Department (APD) reforms and has never challenged the APD command staff in any meaningful way demanding compliance with the Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree reforms. Each time the Federal Monitor has presented his critical reports of APD to the City Council, Davis has been silent and has declined to demand accountability from the Mayor and hold the APD command staff responsible for dragging their feet on the reforms. Davis has failed to attend any of the federal court hearings on the consent decree.
3. Davis voted for the city ordinance amendments requiring equal pay for woman but failed to demand more. The amendments to the equal pay for woman ordinance sounded good and look good on paper but accomplished very little. The truth is that the equal pay for woman ordinance only applies to city contracts and those who do business with the city. The ordinance is voluntary and gives preferential treatment on city contracts to those who voluntarily comply. The equal pay for woman ordinance should apply to all businesses licensed to do business in Albuquerque, it should be mandatory for all businesses and enforced by city planning that issues business licenses and could be made so by the city council.
4. Davis voted for the final adoption of the ABC-Z comprehensive plan which will have long term impact on our neighborhoods and favors developers. The enactment of the comprehensive plan was a major priority of Republican Mayor Berry and the development community pushed hard for its enactment before Berry left office. The ABC-Z project rewrite was nothing more than making “gentrification” an official city policy and the “gutting” of long standing sector development plans by the development community to repeal those sector development plans designed to protect neighborhoods and their character.
5. When he served on a task force to overhaul Albuquerque’s public fiancé law, Pat Davis declined to advocate meaningful changes to our public finance laws making it easier for candidates to qualify for public finance. The only change he agreed to was increasing the amount of money candidates get and not the process of collecting the donations to qualify and not expanding the time to collect qualifying donations. The lack of changes to the public finance laws favors incumbents like Pat Davis.
6. Davis advocated for enactment of the Healthy Workforce ordinance by voters which would have mandate the pay of sick leave by employers and was always there for a photo op with those organizations who pushed to get it on the ballot. However, Davis has never demanded the City Attorney’s office enforce the existing Albuquerque minimum wage ordinance, even when workers were forced to sue their employers. Davis claims to be in favor of increasing the minimum wage, but he has never demanded the Mayor nor the City Attorney to enforce the current city ordinance enacted by voters with a 2 to 1 margin.
7. Davis attempted to privatize certain APD law enforcement functions with the hiring of a private security company that would employ 25 retired law enforcement personnel who would do field service work and reports for APD. Davis withdrew the bill after it was reported that the no bid contract for $1 million dollars would go to co-sponsor Republican City Councilor Brad Winter’s former campaign manager.
What I am sick of are Democrats acting and talking like Republicans especially after they get elected to positions like Mayor and City Council and arguing that they are being “nonpartisan”.
No doubt City Councilor Pat Davis will say that the City Council is “non-partisan” and he needed to cooperate with the Republican Mayor and Republican City Councilors.
However, there is a significant difference between cooperating and working with other elected officials from the opposite party and then being hypocritical and going against your own basic political philosophy of what you believe to be true and then turning around and acting and voting against that what you claim to believe in.
During his tenure on the City Council, Pat Davis has talked like a Democrat but voted like a Republican.
As it stood at the end of March, Pat Davis has a little over $61, 000 for the last few weeks of the primary campaign compared to Antoinette Sedillo-Lopez, $456,799, Debra Haaland, $347,394, Damon Martinez, $276,532, Paul Moya, $161,721 and Damian Lara, $139,285.
Whatever city wide “door to door” campaign Davis can salvage from his Progress Now contacts, it is not likely to be successful enough to overcome his negatives and pull off an upset against all the other better financed candidates.
As City Councilor Pat Davis campaigns for the US Congress as a progressive Democrat and talks like a progressive Democrat, he needs to be asked by Democratic Party voters if once elected to the US Congress will he vote and act like a Republican as he has done so many times during his very short tenure on the Albuquerque City Council.
Until the June 5 primary, all Democrats may want to avoid answering their phones until the primary is over unless you want to be solicited for campaign donations from Pat Davis or for that matter from any one of the other 5 candidates running for congress.
FOR MORE ON PAT DAVIS SEE: