Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Thrill of Victory, the Agony of Defeat

Morales speaks to the convention
No, yesterday's pre-primary convention for state Democrats at the Route 66 Casino didn't decide who would be running against Republican incumbent Gov. Susana Martinez this year. That, of course, won't be settled until the June primary.

But it had the effect of establishing real momentum for state Sen. Howie Morales of Silver City, who got the most delegate votes, and, to a lesser extent, political newcomer Alan Webber, who came in a distant second, despite being virtually unknown among state Dems just a few short months ago.

And it was a crushing defeat for Attorney General Gary King, who has been running for the office for nearly two years. King, son of the late former Gov. Bruce King, had been considered the frontrunner for the nomination, due mostly to his name-recognition. He's a two-term AG and former state legislator who has run unsuccessfully for governor twice before (1998 and 2002) and for Congress in 2004.

King, who got a little over 10 percent of the delegate vote yesterday, has enough petition signatures to get on the ballot ... if he wants to. That's the big "if" here. To be blunt, yesterday's vote puts the stench of doom on his campaign. I've pointed out many times that nobody who got less than 20 percent of the vote at a pre-primary has come back to win the nomination for governor.
Counting the ballots

State Sen. Linda Lopez, who received less than 19 percent of the vote, also will a rough time in the primary if she files enough petition signatures to stay on the ballot. She told me yesterday that she intends to do that.

Meanwhile, longtime government administrator Lawrence Rael, who barely made the 20 percent cut, still is alive in the race. He's expected to run a tough campaign and I suspect he'll be taking off the gloves.

My story in today's New Mexican about the pre-primary is HERE.

Update: 3-10-14 10:13 An earlier version of this said Alan Webber was "virtually known." I changed it to "virtually unknown." Thanks to a Twitter friend for alerting me.

Personal note: I'm taking a little break from politics this week to go cover the South by Southwest music festival in Austin. Anyone interested in that should check out my MUSIC BLOG. I'll start posting dispatches from the festival in a few days.