On June 3 AND June 4, political commentator Joe Monahan on his political blog “New Mexico Politics With Joe Monahan”, posted two excellent article summarizing the final outcome of the 2020New Mexico midterms and the resulting long term political repercussions. 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 are excerpts from Mr. Monahan’s June 3 and 4 blog articles. The Postscript to this article contains final vote results of the federal races and Bernalillo County races.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3 NEW MEXICO POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN
HEADLINE: Dr. No Bites The Dust As The Conservative Senate Coalition Crumbles; Papen Also Ousted; Herrell Trounces Chase For Congress Nod, Ronchetti Takes GOP Senate Primary; Leger Fernandez Wins; Appears Headed To Congress
We had one prediction right about Primary Election 2020–that most of the excitement would be near the bottom of the ballot not the top. It wasn’t only exciting, it was jaw dropping news that we delivered (exclusively) to the state via our KANW-89.1 FM broadcast in the late night hours Tuesday. . .
They drove a Mack truck through the conservative coalition that commands the state Senate, toppling the most powerful legislator of them all—Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith as well as Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen, Clemente Sanchez of Grants, and Senator Gabe Ramos of Silver City. There are still some votes to be counted but our expert panel called the races knowing where the remaining votes are and how many.
The losses left state politics watchers breathless as the status quo was thrown into disarray and the full impact to be gauged in the days ahead. The coalition that has thwarted Dem liberals for years was put on life support. Of the five Senators targeted by progressive groups only Gallup’s George Munoz survived.
The loss of Smith alone is enough to change the fiscal direction of the state. His power as finance chair had grown immensely in recent years. He brushed off Governors as if they were a fly on his shoulder.
But progressives banded together and spent well over a million dollars targeting the coalition, exposing its weaknesses and thumping it to the ground. Those involved in the historic takedown relished the moment with one of them declaring:
The hubris of old school Democrats was their downfall. They were out of touch with voters and unwilling to listen and adapt to changes in the electorate and society. They got plenty of warning when Rio Arriba State Rep. Debbie Rodella was ousted and then Rep. Carl Trujillo but they didn’t heed the warning and they paid the price.
Smith is 78 and Papen 88, hardly ages at which you make major changes.
The Smith loss absolutely stunned the business community that had fallen hard for him for his support of tax cuts. But now, according to one of our Roundhouse wall-leaners:
New Mexico has been following the Reagan philosophy for decades that informed Smith and his ilk that tax cuts and rolling back public spending were a panacea regardless of the outcome. It was their religion. That is over now. Data can be used to solve problems instead of following the trickle down Gods that failed to improve the lives of New Mexicans. Also, where does this leave David Abbey, Smith’s powerful counterpart who is the director of the Legislative Finance Committee?
The coalition killers were all women. Neomi Martinez-Parra felled the giant Smith; Siah Correa Hemphill knocked out Ramos; Dem activist Pam Cordova ejected Sanchez and Carrie Hamblen took out Papen. They still have to beat Republicans in November but given the trend primary night they all look like good bets. They benefited from a higher than normal turnout and will again in the high voting presidential election.
OLD NORTH GONE
Dem Sen. Richard Martinez, who sometimes joined with the conservative Dems–like on abortion–was put out of office by Rio Arriba County Commission Leo Jaramillo. It turned out that the brutal and embarrassing video of Martinez’s DWI arrest ended his career the day it was released. We just didn’t know it–until last night. The old North is gone. It no longer finds charming the wayward ways of senior politicos.
The stunning state senate returns made the other contests appear like wall flowers and they came in as expected.
Former TV weatherman Mark Ronchetti easily win the GOP US Senate nomination, garnering 55 percent in a three way race. Ronchetti will challenge Dem Rep. Ben Ray Lujan for the open Senate seat. Yvette Herrell easily handled Claire Chase to win the southern GOP congressional nomination, dominating Chase 45 to 32. She will face Rep. Torres Small in November. Teresa Leger Fernandez put away Valerie Plame and five others by scoring 42 percent of the vote to Plame’s 23. She will face Republican Alexis Johnson but the district is solid Dem. Michelle Garcia Holmes is the Republican who will have the difficult task of trying to oust popular ABQ Dem Congresswoman Deb Haaland. Garcia beat two foes to win the GOP nod.
Some of the progressives basking in their victory are going a bit overboard on our Alligators who did not predict the Senate sweep but instead forecast a more modest gain of perhaps two progressive senators not four. Is that so awful?
All we can say to the critics is: Did any among them predict on the public record what happened Tuesday night? The answer is no. And did any of them predict Trump would win the presidency in 2016? No. Predictions are fun and entertaining but not to be taken to the bank. The Alligators are not “toothless” as one of the critics blasted. They just get their teeth knocked in once in a while because they are willing to show them.
There was much more action but we were on the air well past midnight and now it’s much later (or earlier) so for now we’ll let you catch up with the rest of the results at the Secretary of State and the Bernalillo County Clerk sites:
THURSDAY JUNE 4 NEW MEXICO POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN
Who will take over the chairmanship of the powerful Senate Finance Committee now that John Arthur Smith has been defeated?
Sen. George Munoz, the only one of five Senators targeted by progressives who survived Tuesday, is vice-chairman and will work to be named chairman. But Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, a budget maven from Santa Fe and a 25 year Senate veteran, is emerging as a favorite in progressive circles. She doesn’t have the Munoz baggage and would give the committee a fresh start and a more liberal lean. Also, she would be a Hispanic female face in a Senate leadership that currently lacks them.
Who will be the next President Pro Tem?
The crucial position that determines the committee assignments of senators? Sen. Mary Kay Papen has long held the post, voted in with the help of Republicans, but now it appears with her defeat and the death of the conservative Senate coalition that it will be an all Democratic decision. The race to replace her is already underway.
The names of ABQ Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto and Pete Campos of Las Vegas are high on the list. Ivey-Soto was denied the chairmanship of Senate Judiciary by Papen who gave the prize to Sen. Cervantes, an old family friend, so Ivey-Soto is looking to advance. Campos once challenged Papen for the post and lost. But his vote against repealing an outdated abortion statute became a key issue in the campaign against the four conservative Dem Senators defeated Tuesday. Progressives fielded an opponent against Campos because of that vote but he won re-election, garnering 70 percent. Another player: Linda Lopez. Pro Tem? Majority Leader?
Will legalized marijuana now make a comeback?
It could. The new likely Senators are for it. The 2021 session could be the year the pot backers finally win the day after failing to advance their cause this year.
Will the proposed constitutional amendment to tap the Land Grant Permanent Fund for very early childhood education be another measure that finally sees life now that the coalition is passing into history?
Backers say they see it passing in the 2021 session, having a special election after the session for voter approval and taking effect before July 1, 2021 in time for the start of the budget year.
Don’t expect much infighting at the June 18 special legislative session to address the budget crisis.
The fight is out of Smith and his allies. They will approve moving some of the state’s $1.9 billion in reserve to the general fund as well as available federal monies. The Governor will have a few other items to address, including a small business loan relief package.
Taxes could be the fly in the ointment for MLG.
Progressives could starting demanding tax hikes to avoid budget cuts, an uncomfortable position for a Governor who adheres mainly to the middle of the road.
Will Democrats make inroads into GOP held state Senate seats in the ABQ area?
They are more confident about taking out GOP Senators Candace Gould and Senator Sander Rue after Tuesday’s primary results. They believe they also have a shot at taking the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Bill Payne in the ABQ NE Heights. R’s will be playing defense as they try to avoid a repeat of the ’18 disaster when they lost all their Bernalillo County House seats except one.
Topics that could rise to the top under the new policy order
Gun control, a roll back of the Martinez-Richardson tax cuts, an increase in the minimum wage, more resources to combat child abuse and a focus on the Navajo Reservation where the coronavirus has raged. And, of course, a repeal of that outdated abortion law that coalition Democrats defeated and which was partly responsible for their defeats. Do you think that measure may now pass?
You can E-mail your news and comments to Joe Monahan at email@example.com.
The link to New Mexico Politics With Joe Monahan is here:
FINAL ELECTION VOTE RESULTS
Following are the election vote results in Federal Offices. (**** denotes party nominee)
UNITED STATES SENATOR
BEN R LUJAN (DEM), 196,460 100% ****
ELISA MARIA MARTINEZ (REP), 39,443 26.20%
MARK V RONCHETTI (REP), 84,645 56.23% ****
GAVIN S CLARKSON (REP) 26,453 17.57%
UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE – DISTRICT 1
DEB HAALAND (DEM) 74,316 100% ****
MICHELLE GARCIA HOLMES (REP) 22,057 48% ****
JARED R VANDER DUSSEN (REP) 18,542 40.35%
BRETT KOKINADIS (REP) 5,353 11.65
UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT 2
XOCHITL TORRES SMALL (DEM) 47,056 100% ****
YVETTE HERRELL (REP) 26,650 47.74% ****
CLAIRE CHASE (REP) 18,786 31.54%
CHRIS MATHYS (REP) 14,132 23.72%
UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT – DISTRICT 3
TERESA LEGER FERNANDEZ (DEM) 34,356 41.15% ****
LAURA M MONTOYA (DEM) 5,652 6.77%
MARCO PETER SERNA (DEM) 6,970 8.35%
JOSEPH L SANCHEZ (DEM) 10,810 12.95%
VALERIE E PLAME (DEM) 20,526 24.59%
JOHN BLAIR (DEM) 3,651 4.37%
KYLE J TISDEL (DEM) 1,524 1.83%
HARRY B MONTOYA (REP) 14,658 34.84%
KAREN EVETTE BEDONIE (REP) 11,837 28.13%
ALEXIS M JOHNSON (REP) 15,580 37.03% ****
ANGELA GALE MORALES (write in) (REP) 0%
FOLLOWING ARE THE ELECTION VOTE RESULTS IN BERNALILLO COUNTY OFFICES (**** denotes primary winner.)
BERNALILLO COUNTY TREASURER
DONNY ALBERT DANIELS (DEM) 3,357
NANCY MARIE BEARCE (DEM) 28,624 ****
PATRICK J PADILLA (DEM) 15,098
BERNADETTE M SANCHEZ (DEM) 25,520
BERNALILLO COUNTY COMMISSIONER DISTRICT 2
STEVEN MICHAEL QUEZADA (DEM) 5,979 ****
FRANK A BACA (DEM) 4,592
BERNALILLO COUNTY COMMISSIONER DISTRICT 3
ADRIAN NEAL CARVER (DEM) 4,611
MARCOS A GONZALES (DEM) 4,201
ADRIANN BARBOA (DEM) 6,250 ****
Bernalillo County Commissioner DISTRICT 4
Democratic (candidate unopposed and party nominee for general election)
E TIM CUMMINS (REP) 3,642
SEAN N KESANI (REP) 1,353
GEORGE WALTON BENSON (REP) 6,202 ****
TINA M TOMLIN (REP) 1,799
SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT JUDGE, DIVISION 6
DANIEL E RAMCZYK (DEM) 35,928 ****
EDWARD L BENAVIDEZ (DEM) 33,629