Wednesday, May 28, 2014

More on the Dem Gubernatorial Primary

Gary King
In my story in today's New Mexican, I interviewed Brian Sanderoff, who conducted the Albuquerque Journal's poll on the governor's race last week that showed Attorney General Gary King leading the Democratic primary (but with a huge percentage of undecided voters.)

Basically, Sanderoff's contention is the race is King's to lose. Despite King's anemic fundraising and other problems, Sanderoff said, “I’d much rather be the guy who is six points ahead.”

Some of the Democrats responded to the poll over the weekend. Here's what they had to say:

Alan Webber's campaign manager Neri Holguin, in an email to potential supporters, said the poll "shows what we’ve been experiencing on the ground for weeks: the excitement and enthusiasm for Alan’s candidacy is growing by leaps and bounds.

"After starting as an outsider running against four established political insiders, Alan has made this a very tight race. Despite Gary King’s overwhelming advantage in name identification, “he only has about one-fifth of the vote,” according to Brian Sanderoff, the pollster.  Alan is very close behind him (along with Lawrence Rael).

"Most importantly, all of the momentum is with Alan.  He is closing the campaign as the strongest candidate: we’ve ramped up television ads in the closing two weeks, and we’re launching a brand new spot this week (more on that to come!)"

Howie Morales' campaign manager, in an email, stressed the big undecided number -- 29 percent, which is seven percentage points higher than King's total (and 13 points higher than Morales') :

"In addition to the extremely high number of voters who have yet to make up their mind, we learned a few other things from the poll -- our campaign is earning 37% of the vote from southern New Mexico counties, we are doing well with Hispanic voters, and those with college degrees. 

"In the Journal’s words, “The race is not over by any means.” Our campaign is in a position to earn votes from the large segment of the voting population who haven’t yet made up their minds.

"But what else do we know that the Journal doesn’t capture?

"We know our campaign is driven by grassroots outreach – everyday volunteers who are knocking on doors, calling undecided voters and talking to their friends and families.

"We also know it’s often a personal touch from our campaign which wins people over to Team Morales.  ..."

But most interestingly, Lawrence Rael, in an email response to the poll went beyond the "Rah! Rah! Team!" rhetoric and tipped his hand on what his closing strategy will be:

"Today’s poll results from the Albuquerque Journal reveal just how this race will be won:

* 30% of likely Democratic voters remain undecided – a group that is less likely to support Gary King, whose momentum has slowed. 
* My campaign is leading among other candidates in northern New Mexico (a region Susana won in 2010) and in Albuquerque, where the most votes will be cast.
* The largest group of undecided voters is Hispanic.

Meanwhile, Republican Susana Martinez's re-election responded to the poll by emailing a "Voter's Guide" featuring several quotes from news stories critical of frontrunner King. "As the Democratic Primary approaches, voters deserve to know that Gary King's tenure as attorney general has been marked by incompetence and failure, the result of bungling corruption case after corruption case," the news release said.

(I'm sure Democrats appreciate the governor thinking of them and creating a "Voter's Guide. True bipartisan spirit!)