Political blogger Joe Monahan did one of his better blog articles today that really exposes what a farce our “nonpartisan” mayoral elections really are.
I did an Albuquerque Journal guest editorial on the very subject that can be read here:
I have known Joe for over forty years, and although we have had our differences, we are indeed good friends and understand how New Mexico politics works.
Our city and are state are still a small enough population wise that it is very common for political junkies such as us to know on a first name basis our congressional delegation, governors and mayors.
What political consultants who have come here recently just do not understand is that politicians in New Mexico over the years do indeed cross paths and sometimes really get along and other times fight like cat and dogs just to make up and get along again, but friendships do endure because in New Mexico politics todays enemy may be someone you need tomorrow.
The viciousness of the political party consultants who are more interested in making a dollar than getting their candidate elected is what is playing out in the Mayor’s race today, both for the Democrats and Republicans.
With that said, below is Joe’s September 18, 2017 blog report you can read in full at his blog “New Mexico politics with Joe Monahan” at http://joemonahansnewmexico.blogspot.com/ :
Lewis Pleads For Party Unity As City Teeters On Edge Of Dem Mayoral Run-Off, Deep GOP Split Examined, Plus: Sick Leave Foes Sick Over Poll And The Ethics Complaint Tangle
Johnson and Gardner
Dan Lewis is making a late in the game, longshot plea for Republican Party unity as the ABQ mayoral race teeters on the edge of sending two Democrats into a run-off election following the October 3 balloting.
The dire straits that City Councilor Lewis finds himself in is nothing new. Earlier this year there was a high level Republican meeting with Lewis and BernCo Commissioner Wayne Johnson in attendance. But that meeting failed to convince either of them to withdraw from the mayoral derby.
Now, in the aftermath of an ABQ Journal poll that makes more distinct the possibility that no GOP candidate will finish in the top two, Lewis is pleading in an email for Republicans to abandon Johnson and come to his side:
[Monahan quoting Dan Lewis email to Republicans] “This poll shows that we are the only Republican candidate who can get into the runoff – and win. But the Democratic establishment will do everything in their power to take me down and have two liberal candidates in the runoff. We can’t let them win. Now is the time for Republicans to unite to ensure an extreme leftist does not serve as Mayor. They know I can win – but I can only do so if Republicans unite. Albuquerque can’t afford an extreme leftist as Mayor and that’s exactly what my main opponents are.”
We have examples of the deep split in the party. That picture posted at the top of the blog is of Wayne Johnson at the State Fair with Keith Gardner, the chief of staff to Governor Martinez. It shows how the Martinez wing of the party is firmly in the camp of Johnson.
Pearce & Lewis
Lewis is firmly in the anti-Martinez camp led by Rep. Steve Pearce and former NM GOP Chairman Harvey Yates, Jr. Lewis was campaigning with Pearce over the weekend and this photo of them further illustrates the party’s split.
This split is deep and personal with hurt feelings on both sides. Asking for unity among them is like asking the Israelis to turn over Jerusalem to the Palestinians. But desperate times call for desperate measures. The Lewis plea for unity is the only option he has.
Why is “liberal” Tim Keller doing so well with independents who normally lean right? He is getting 25 percent of them in the Journal survey, far more than any other hopeful. Well, look no further than his record as state auditor.
Keller has probably been the most active auditor in state history, constantly releasing reports and findings that are attention grabbers and mostly substantial. For example, this week, he is focused on a $475,000 embezzlement scheme at La Promesa, a state charter school in ABQ. Would the public ever know about this if Keller hadn’t launched an investigation?
This independent support is important for Keller who will need to broaden his base if, as expected, he gets in a run-off election following the October 3 vote. It could make the difference in his winning or losing.
SICK OVER SICK LEAVE
Meanwhile, the R’s are nearly apoplectic over the Journal pollshowing that the controversial sick leave ordinance isn’t so controversial after all.
Support for the ordinance is at 53 percent with only 31 percent opposed. That’s over the critical 50 percent mark. In reaction the state GOP put out this screaming headline:
Vote Against This Deceiving Ordinance And Its Supporters, Tim Keller and Brian Colon!
Foes of the mandatory sick leave bill call it a “job killer” but in a city that leads center-left on social and economic issues it is they who are facing the political firing squad.
We posted a mail piece from the sick leave opponents, a piece that apparently isn’t changing many minds. And who produced that piece? Well. . .
Look who has surfaced in Campaign ’17. It’s Jay McCleskey, the veteran consultant who is tied to the hip to Gov. Martinez. His McCleskey Media Strategies (MMS) is listed as having printed that anti-sick leave piece. It was put out by Forward ABQ, a political committee for the ABQ Chamber of Commerce. That committee reported only raising $18,000 in the last reporting period so it won’t offer the big paydays Jay has been accustomed to while handling Martinez’s multi-million dollar pots of cash. But, hey, a guy’s gotta work.
We’re on the tangled ethics beat of this city election. Let’s see. An ethics complaint is filed against Tim Keller over his campaign consultant Alan Packman for soliciting cash donations for Keller’s publicly financed committee and calling them “in kind donations” for goods and services.
The complaint by the state GOP goes to Attorney General Hector Balderas. But Balderas can’t investigate because he has publicly endorsed mayoral candidate Brian Colón. So Hector’s office has sent the matter to the City Clerk and the ABQ Board of Ethics to handle. By the time it’s resolved the election will be in the history books.
Then there is the complaint against GOP mayoral hopeful and BernCo Commissioner Wayne Johnson. It alleges, as the ABQ Free Press reported, that “Johnson has received nearly $40,000 in improper campaign donations. The complaint was filed with the Bernalillo County Code of Conduct Review Board by Terry Brunner, who was the state director for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the Obama administration.”
So who sits in judgment and is chairman of the Bernalillo County Code of Conduct Review Board? Why it’s none other than Alan Packman, consultant for Tim Keller. And who sits at Packman’s side on that board? Why it’s Sarita Nair, the government accountability officer for Dem state auditor and Packman mayoral client Tim Keller.
That stacked deck against Johnson will have to be deconstructed before the complaint against him can be heard and that will be well after the election.
And that, dear reader, was another of our occasional visits to the ethics beat. Excuse us while we untangle ourselves.
MORE JOHNSON VS. LEWIS
Let’s give Johnson some more ink so Dan Lewis can needle us. . .
Crime has been the big issue for the mayoral candidates but there are also plans floating around from them about improving the stagnant economy here. One of them is from conservative Johnson:
The cornerstone of my Economic Development Strategy is the market itself. My philosophy is to provide a secure environment and a light touch on regulation that encourages businesses to invest in Albuquerque. If we, as a community, want a prosperous Albuquerque then we must encourage innovation and creativity by empowering the dreamers and the doers.
On second thought, we don’t want to be needled by Lewis. He may have Rev. Smotherman post a weird picture of us on Instagram. Here’s Dan’s econ plan.