Friday, May 28, 2010

Flunkies Unite!

Political Flunkies?

This is a mailer for Public Regulation Commission candidate Hank Hughes.

Just let me make the following points.

1) I do not, nor have I ever worked for the PRC.
2) I am not a flunkie.
3) I can't speak for Nash.
4) I'm sure Hank didn't mean it that way. He probably was referring to this story.

(Thanks for giving me this, Mona.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More on the SurveyUSA Poll

The recent SurveyUSA/KOB poll that shows Republican Susana Martinez beating Diane Denish also has match-ups between Denish and the other Republican gubernatorial candidates.

Turns out Martinez is the only one who would beat Denish at this juncture.

One big factor: Hispanics. Martinez gets 40 percent of the Hispanic vote. The other Republicans would get between 20 and 33 percent of the Hispanic vote against Denish.

Here's the results.

Martinez 49%, Denish 43%.
Denish 46%, Domenici 40%
Denish 47%, Weh 42%
Denish 49%, Arnold-Jones 35%
Denish 50%, Turner 36%

But note, the pollster concludes, "Much can and should be expected to change between now and 11/02/10."

Indeed. This could be a roller coast ride.

Read all the crosstabs HERE.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Roundhouse Roundup: Just the Factcheck, Ma'am

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
May 27, 2010

The increasingly bitter Republican gubernatorial primary and the attack ads of Susana Martinez and Allen Weh have caught the attention of, a nonprofit website that “aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.”

“We can’t recall a time when a candidate’s ad was denounced as misleading and dishonest by the head of his own party,” said an article by FactCheck staffers Eugene Kiely and Viveca Novak. “But that’s what has happened in New Mexico.”

That’s a reference to state GOP chairman Harvey Yates, who on Sunday scolded Weh for his recent attack ad against Martinez — the one that alleged Martinez was “caught red-handed” not paying taxes and spent taxpayer dollars on iPods and meals at Hooters.

In the same news release, Yates also said Martinez’s ad attacking Weh for supporting “amnesty” for illegal immigrants was not untruthful and “reasonably supported.”

“All this got our attention, so we conducted our own review,” Kiely and Novak wrote. “Our conclusion: Yates is right. The Weh ad is indeed a gross distortion of the truth.”

However, concerning Yates’ favorable verdict on Martinez’s “amnesty” ad, FactCheck disagreed.

“It’s true that Weh supported the same approach that was backed by President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain, the party’s 2008 nominee for president, in an immigration bill in 2006,” the article said. “And many Republicans still characterize that bill as providing ‘amnesty’ for illegal immigrants. But as we have long pointed out, ‘amnesty’ is an emotion-laden word that does not accurately describe what the bill would have provided, or what Weh was supporting.”

“We think there’s plenty of evidence to find guilt on both sides,” Kiely and Novak conclude. is a creature of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

Enchanted Land no stranger to FactCheck: It’s been a while since New Mexico politicians showed up on I believe the most recent time before Wednesday was two years ago, when the site criticized attacks by Steve Pearce and an anti-abortion group supporting his Senate bid against Heather Wilson in the Republican U.S. Senate primary.

Back when he was running for president, the current governor made frequent appearances in articles. “New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson added to his string of inflated, false or dubious claims,” the website said following a presidential debate in December 2007. “Democrat Bill Richardson also mangled the facts repeatedly,” FactCheck said in a ‘year-in-review” piece later that month.

State chairmen as referees: While it indeed is unusual for a state party chairman to get involved in a negative ad mudfest during a primary, Yates isn’t the first to do so.

Back in 2002, when Diane Denish and Jerry Sandel were duking it out for Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor with tough television ads, then state Democratic chairman Jamie Koch stepped in.

The big difference between Koch’s intervention and Yates’ is that Koch didn’t take sides. Everyone assumed that he favored Denish because he was a business partner with her father, the late Jack Daniels. But the letter Koch sent to both campaigns revealed no bias.

“Our candidates are strong enough to run on their own records without having to attack another good Democrat,” Koch said. “I’m not going to get into who started what first and who’s to blame for these negative ads. I’m just going to ask that it cease.”

He couldn’t resist a partisan jab, writing, “We don’t want to descend to the level of Republicans, some of whom don’t seem to mind lying about each other’s record to get elected.” (At the time eventual GOP gubernatorial nominee John Sanchez was running ads linking Republican opponent Walter Bradley to state Senate powerhouse Manny Aragon, a Democrat -- and one who currently is in federal prison for corruption charges.)

But neither Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor heeded Koch’s words. Denish went on to become Richardson’s running mate, and now she’s running for governor.

Kokesh Tells Yates to Play Fair

Adam Kokesh, running in the Republican primary for the 3rd Congressional District, wrote a letter to state GOP chairman Harvey Yates today. Kokesh asked Yates asking why the state party isn't criticizing his primary opponent Tom Mullins for "false statements" and "slander."
Adam Kokesh
The letter was spurred by Yates' recent public condemnation of gubernatorial candidate Allen Weh for his attack ad against rival Susana Martinez.

Here's the letter:

Chairman Yates,

Recently, you took a stand against conduct by one of our gubernatorial candidates that you determined to be dishonest. In a statement regarding the issue you said, "Republicans expect honesty in government. How likely is that result, if dishonesty in campaigning is tolerated in those we elect to run government?" While this is true, your conduct hardly reflects a commitment to honesty.

At the state party convention, you took no action against supporters of my primary opponent, Tom Mullins, when they circulated smear cards against against me which violated party rules, and as they lacked attribution, constituted a fourth degree felony under NM law. You then failed to follow state law in regards to the rounding of the vote total. Among those who knew what happened, your integrity failed.

Long before he resigned as San Juan County GOP Chair to more openly support my primary opponent and slander me publicly, Rod Montoya had been openly supporting my opponent. When we asked to meet with a representative of the Mullins campaign after he announced, he sent Montoya to speak on his behalf. When this was brought to your attention, you made the lame excuse that if a party official is supporting a candidate on "personal time" it does not violate the party rules of neutrality.

My opponent has also made deliberately false statements about me personally, and you have remained silent. According to the Albuquerque Journal, he even falsely claimed that I have never voted in New Mexico. He has publicly stated that I have "never held a real job." When Mullins made a statement to that effect on his blog, many veterans were deeply offended, and he was forced to constantly delete comments calling him out for this shameless attack. I can assure you that serving in combat with the United States Marine Corps in Fallujah was a real job!

It is time to speak out if you want to show that you are not just playing favorites and salvage your own integrity. If you believe that it is your role to police the conduct of candidates, please lead by example and join me in condemning Mullin's negative campaigning with false statements that threaten our ability to unseat Ben Ray Lujan. For the sake of the party, let us focus on how we can better meet the concerns of voters regarding jobs and the economy so that we can take back our state in November.


Adam Kokesh
Proud Republican candidate to represent New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District

UPDATE: This letter was sent only to Yates and Republican county chairs.

Denish Responds to KOB Poll

The Diane Denish campaign released a response to the KOB/SurveyUSA poll that showed her six points behind Republican Susana Martinez.
NM Legislature 2010
“Susana Martinez has been airing TV ads for weeks, so we take this with a grain of salt. When New Mexicans hear from both candidates, the choice will be clear. Diane Denish will be a different kind of Governor -- someone who stands up for regular families, while Susana Martinez is a failed prosecutor best-known for plea-bargaining drunk drivers and cutting deals with violent felons."

Yikes! The general election campaign is going to get nasty and the nasty primary isn't even over yet. (Republican Allen Weh also has attacked Martinez for DWI plea bargains, an issue first brought forward by Santa Fe Sheriff Greg Solano and other Dem sheriffs.)

One little irony here. While Martinez is, understandably embracing this poll, a few months ago Martinez wasn't so enthusiastic about automated polls. As The New Mexico Independent reported, Martinez in February blasted a poll performed by the PPP organization for using "questionable methodology by employing auto-dialers rather than live interviewers."

(Back then when I talked to the Martinez camp about that PPP poll, they had another argument against it -- the fact that all the Republican candidates, even the lesser known ones, all had high negative image ratings at that early point in the campaign.)

Martinez Leading Big in Two Polls

Susana Martinez has big leads in the Republican gubernatorial primary according to a pair of statewide polls released Wednesday.

KOB TV just released a poll showing Martinez leading Allen Weh by 10 percent. The other three candidates were all in single digits.

The poll was by SurveyUSA, which does automated phone call interviews. The firm interviewed 464 likely Republican voters.

This poll basically confirms the poll commissioned by Albuquerque blogger Joe Monahan, which was published early Wednesday. Monahan's poll showed Martinez ahead of Weh by 11 points.

Monahan wrote:

Martinez out polls Allen Weh 41 percent to 30. Doug Turner places third with 9 followed by Pete Domenici Jr. at 8 percent and Janice Arnold-Jones with 4. Undecided is at 8 percent. ...

We surveyed 771 likely primary voters by automatic phone calls with Dialing Services LLC of Roswell, making for a low margin of error of 3.53%. The results were scaled to reflect the demographic and geographic make-up of the state.

UPDATE: KOB later reported that their poll shows Martinez pulling ahead of Democrat Diane Denish.

The results show Martinez ahead of Denish by 6 points, 49% to 43%. Denish beats each of the other Republican candidates in this portion of the poll, which has a margin of error of 2.7%.

The polling interviews were conducted from Sunday, May 23 to Wednesday, May 25.

Survey USA interviewed 1,405 likely to vote Democrats, Republicans, and Independents across the state in a potential match up of Martinez and Denish, who is running unopposed in her party's primary.

The poll has a margin of error of 4.6 percent

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Senate Approves Bill to Name Interior Building for Udall

This just in from our Congressional delegation:

U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman today reported that the Senate gave final passage to legislation to honor the late Stewart Udall. The measure had already cleared the House of Representatives with the support of Representatives Martin Heinrich, Ben Ray Luján, and Harry Teague.

The bill, which is headed to the White House for President Obama’s signature, names the U.S. Department of Interior building in Washington, D.C. the “Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building.”

Stewart Udall, the father of U.S. Senator Tom Udall, was the Interior Secretary from 1961 to 1969, serving in the cabinets of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Stewart Udall died earlier this year.

“Stewart Udall was among our nation’s the most effective interior secretaries. He was an outstanding public servant and a lifelong advocate for our country’s public lands and waters. His legacy will live on in the landmark environmental laws he helped develop. So I am pleased that the building where he once proudly worked will bear his name,” said Bingaman, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“Though quiet and humble, Secretary Udall’s impact was that of a giant, and his defense of our nation’s environment will remain immeasurable,” said Heinrich. “Thanks to Secretary Udall’s work, our national parks and public lands belong to every American and will remain a treasured part of our nation’s spirit for generations to come. Naming the Department of Interior building in Secretary Udall’s honor is a small, but significant way to acknowledge his legacy.”

“Naming the Department of Interior building after Secretary Stewart Udall’s is a fitting tribute to his work and his lasting contributions to our country,” said Luján. “It is an honor to join this effort to recognize Secretary Udall and his legacy.”

“Secretary Udall was one of the great champions of our environment and a great public servant. In New Mexico, his accomplishments live on as we continue to treasure and protect our public lands, wilderness and National Parks. I am pleased to be able to honor the legacy of one of the great champions of the environment in this way. The Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building will serve as a timeless reminder of his many achievements,” Teague said.

Monday, May 24, 2010

More on the Colón Smear Robo-Call

I got a copy of the notorious Brian Colón robo-call. (Thanks to my source for sending it and to New Mexican Web editor Henry Lopez for getting it on the Internet for me.)

Some of it's garbled. And there seems to be some weird electronic hum in the recording that sounds like it's straight out of the Eraserhead soundtrack. But the viciousness is pristine.

The unidentified female caller actually does imply that Colón stole money from the Moving America Forward Foundation. But as I explain in my story in Tuesday's New Mexican, though the contributors to this non-profit have been kept secret, the expenditures are reported to the IRS and are public record. In fact I wrote about MAFF's final report in my column a few weeks ago.

I spoke with Colón's campaign manager about the call this afternoon. He verified that the candidate was born in New York, as the robo-call said (though his family moved to this state when Brian was an infant). But contrary to what the call said, he never was a Young Republican -- and in fact worked with a union during his college years.

Listen to the recording yourself below.

UPDATE 5-25-10: I just had a nice chat with Lawrence Rael, who also is running for lieutenant governor. He wanted me to know that he was the first candidate to call Brian Colón to disavow the robo-call.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

GOP Chair Calls Weh Ad "Dishonest"

When I interviewed Allen Weh a couple of weeks ago, the GOP gubernatorial hopeful reminded me that while he was state Republican Party chairman he sometimes had to call out members of his his own party

Today, his successor, current GOP Chairman Harvey Yates basically called out Weh for his recent attack ad on primary rival Susana Martinez. Yates also said Martinez's ad attacking Weh for his immigration position wasn't untruthful.

Here's a press release from the party that went out this morning.

After receiving complaints from several Republicans regarding ads being run by two leading Republican gubernatorial candidates, Republican State Party Chairman, Harvey E. Yates, Jr., assembled a committee to examine the ads. Documents supporting their ads were requested from both Susana Martinez and Allen Weh. The documents were examined to determine whether the ads were truthful.

It was found that the documents furnished by the Susana Martinez reasonably supported her ad regarding Allen Weh’s earlier position on amnesty. However, it was found that the documents to which the committee was directed by Allen Weh did not reasonably support either his radio or TV ad.

In Mr. Weh’s ad he suggests that Ms. Martinez has not paid her taxes. No support for that was found in the documents. Mr. Weh’s ads imply that Ms. Martinez has misused public funds in a variety of ways. Yet, an examination of the documents not only did not substantiate that claim, the examination results suggest that Ms. Martinez has handled public funds properly. In short, the effort undertaken revealed that Mr. Weh’s recent radio and TV ads are misleading.

In regard to the above Chairman Yates stated the following: "Dishonesty in political advertising should not be tolerated in either party. I believe it to be quite unfortunate that one of the Republican gubernatorial candidates has issued ads which are so misleading. I note that when Mr. Weh accuses Ms. Martinez of failure to pay her taxes, this can be taken as suggesting possible felonious conduct on the part of Ms. Martinez. This suggestion by Mr. Weh, without clear evidence, is inappropriate."

Mr. Yates continued, "Republicans expect honesty in government. How likely is that result, if dishonesty in campaigning is tolerated in those we elect to run government?"

UPDATE: Weh's campaign just sent me this response from campaign manager Whitney Cheshire.

Instead of letting rank and file Republicans think and speak for themselves, which thankfully will occur on election day, a group of self-appointed party insiders has wrongly and inexplicably decided to give Susana Martinez a free pass when it comes to keeping her word about running a negative campaign.

The Chairman’s biased interference in a primary contest is harmful to the Republican Party and wrong for our state.

Sadly, they even deny the indisputable fact reported by the Albuquerque Journal and Las Cruces Sun-News today that Susana Martinez launched the first negative salvo in this race. They also directly contradict President George W. Bush’s White House position on immigration reform. Regretfully, they would not even meet with our campaign to hear our arguments.

Fortunately, rank and file Republicans – not party bosses and the media – will decide who wins this nomination, and we further believe their choice will be a successful businessman who has created jobs, not a career politician whose only real professional experience is as a government lawyer.

We stand by our ad’s accuracy. Mrs. Martinez’s multiple ads falsely accusing Allen Weh of supporting amnesty are fundamentally dishonest and misleading.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Anti-Colón Robo-Calls

I've been contacted today by two Santa Fe Democrats who received robo-calls bashing Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Brian Colón.
One of the two said the call claimed to be from a group called "Democrats for Better Government."

When I Googled that name, I found that the Democracy for New Mexico blog was all over the story. Barb Wold wrote that the call said:

... Brian was "bad for Democrats and bad for New Mexico," the female voice went on to provide exaggerated, distorted and incorrect information about Colón. It touched on his tenure as DPNM Chair, the presidential caucus and other aspects of Colón's career. It was very nasty.

At one point it strongly suggested that Brian may have stolen money from Moving America Forward, the foundation that was set up to register minority voters for which Colón served as Treasurer. The voice rambled on using charged language, trying to paint Colón as a bumbler, a crook and a crony -- all of this most likely coming from the campaign of one of the other Democratic candidates for lt. governor.

Then, horror of horrors, it accused Colón of supporting marriage equality. In fact, Brian Colón has been on the record for some time as being supportive of marriage equality. Shocker.

Barb found an Indiana group with the name "Democrats for Better Government." But that name's pretty generic and at this point there's no evidence the calls had anything to do with anyone in Indiana.

Anyone have any clues?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bill Richardson Was Right

He's not going to become the next head of the Motion Picture Association of America.

According to some reports from movie-trade publications, that position is going to another Democratic politician, former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerry.

So is it only coincidence that the governor's office chose the day this news came out to make this announcement? Could this be Richardson's revenge for not getting the job?:

(from the Governor's Office:)

Gov. Bill Richardson today announced his decision to suspend operations of the New Mexico Film Museum effective June 30, 2010 as a budget saving measure. The Museum was created by SB 701, the New Mexico Film Museum Act, during the 2003 Legislative Session.

“In this tight budget environment we have decided to suspend operations at the New Mexico Film Museum effective at the end of this fiscal year,” said Governor Bill Richardson. “While the Museum has hosted a number of screenings and educational events it is imperative that we concentrate our resources on the core mission of developing our film production industry, including supporting the local independent filmmaking community.”

Since its inception, the Film Museum has hosted a number of screenings of local filmmakers’ works, the annual African American Film Showcase, the Native American Film Showcase, screenings during the Santa Fe Film Festival, workshops, lectures and numerous other events,

While the Museum itself will suspend operations, the mission to serve New Mexico filmmakers will continue through the New Mexico State Film Office. Museum programming will continue in other Department of Cultural Affairs museum venues as funds become available

Martinez Confronts Weh

Stuart Dyson's interview with GOP gubernatorial contender Allen Weh got a lot more interesting when his closest rival Susana Martinez showed up to confront him about his recent attack ad.

Martinez said she'll release all her tax returns from the past 10 years and challenged Weh to do the same. The colonel didn't commit.

Weh's ad says Martinez was "caught red handed" not paying her taxes. But it wasn't her taxes. The ad actually referred to a 2009 audit in which Martinez's office was criticized for employing 24 temporary workers as "independent contractors" to destroy old closed-case files. (Martinez is district attorney in Las Cruces.)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

AG Wants to Bounce Sloan from PRC

Attorney General Gary King has petitioned the state Supreme Court to remove Public Regulation Commissioner Carol Sloan, who was sentenced today for her aggravated burglary and aggravated battery convictions.

Sloan was sentenced to five 5 years, suspended with the condition of supervised probation; a $2,500 fine plus $1,000 court costs.

Here's the petition.

Sloan Writ

Roundhouse Roundup: The GOP Demolition Derby

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
May 20, 2010

Vicious political attack ads. Big juicy steaks. iPods. Hooters.

This Republican gubernatorial race quickly is shaping up to be my kind of show.

I'm referring to the latest round of attacks between GOP candidates Susana Martinez and Allen Weh. What had been a relatively congenial race suddenly turned into a demolition derby following Sunday's release of the Albuquerque Journal poll showing Weh, who has put $1 million of his own money in the campaign, just 1 percentage point ahead of Martinez.

The very next day, Martinez was out with an ad calling Weh a "divisive party chairman" and accusing him of supporting "amnesty" for illegal immigrants — because back in 2007 Weh had backed the immigration reform plan being touted by those bleeding-heart liberals George W. Bush and John McCain.

But that ad might have been the equivalent of bringing a knife to a bazooka fight. By Wednesday, Weh was on television accusing "career politician" Martinez of "failing to pay taxes." In a cool little special effect, one of Martinez's hands in a black-and-white photo turn red when the announcer says "... auditors caught her red-handed."

The ad goes on to tell how Martinez, the longtime district attorney in Las Cruces, spent taxpayers' money on "extravagant dinners, luxury hotels, dinner at Hooters, even iPods."

And there's even one scene in which Martinez is shown standing in front of Gov. Bill Richardson and Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, which in New Mexico GOP primary ads has the same desired effect as showing Darth Vader and Dr. Doom.

Both sides are wailing.

Weh vehemently denies he supports "amnesty" and said "Martinez broke Ronald Reagan's so-called 11th commandment (by attacking) a fellow Republican when she initiated the first false, negative and desperate attack." Martinez's campaign manager Adam Deguire said Weh "has stepped across the line and his attack is both slanderous, false and unbecoming of someone who claims to conduct himself honorably."

Don't worry. Eleventh commandments were made to be broken.

First the tax issue. No, Martinez wasn't caught cheating on her personal income taxes.

Weh's charge refers to a 2009 audit in which Martinez's office was criticized for employing 24 workers as "independent contractors" to destroy old closed-case files. The District Attorney's Office was liable for paying federal taxes for those workers, the auditor said. The auditor recommended the workers be hired as employees or contracted from a private agency, which would be responsible for the taxes. That's what happened as a result of the audit, the campaign said.

As for the extravagant dinners and luxury hotels, there are travel-expense records from Martinez's office showing one of her employees spent almost $599 for three nights at the Gaylord Opryland resort in Nashville in 2008. There are several meal receipts indicating Martinez and various staffers were reimbursed for meals, including several at a steak house in Phoenix in March 2008. (As per state policy, nobody asked to be reimbursed for alcoholic drinks listed on these receipts.)
And yes, Hooters appears not once, but twice in Martinez's expense accounts. One of her female employees ate at the Hooters in Miami (where the total bill, not including a vodka martini, was $17.86). Then, a few months later, another staff member enjoyed some hot wings and iced tea at a Hooters in Minneapolis. (Total bill, $14.91.) All expense account reimbursements have to be approved by the Department of Finance and Administration, the Martinez campaign pointed out.

This is the second time Hooters has come up in this campaign. As I reported in this column last year, Denish, the Democratic nominee for governor, received a $1,000 contribution from Albuquerque Hooters.

Then there's the iPods. Martinez's records include invoices for three iPod Nanos, which cost about $200 each plus postage and handling. For one of those, the state paid an extra $30 for overnight delivery.

No, these digital music players aren't being used for Martinez and her attorneys to rock out to Ted Nugent. Instead, the campaign said, Martinez and her staff use them to listen to witness and defendant statements and jail-phone calls.

Stay tuned. This is only going to get more interesting.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Two Santa Fe Legislative Races

You can tell it's an unusual election year. There are not one, but two contested legislative races in the Santa Fe vicinity this year with newcomers hoping to upset longtime incumbents.

Up in District 46, House Speaker Ben Lujan faces his first opponent in a decade, and his forst primary race since 1996. His challenger is Carl Trujillo. Read my story about that HERE.

Then, up in Los Alamos two Democrats -- Stephanie Richard and Pete Sheehey, both political novices, hope to unseat longtime Republican state Rep. Jeanette Wallace. You can read about that race HERE. Wallace hasn't faced an opponent for the past five cycles.

In both races the incumbents have a big money lead over the challengers. But like I said, it's an unusual year with lots of anti-incumbent undercurrents. Both Lujan and Wallace are taking this election seriously.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How Green Are the Candidates?

Conservation Voters New Mexico has just launched a new Web site "summarizing the conservation records of all the candidates in the race for New Mexico’s next Governor and Lt. Governor."

The group each year analyzes the votes of legislators and gives each lawmaker a rating. The most recent is HERE.

Unfortunately, because only one of the gubernatorial candidates has been in the Legislature, Republican Janice Arnold-Jones, she's the only one with a CVNM rating. She has a 37 percent rating.

There are more lawmakers, past and present, in the lieutenant governor race.

There, the highest ranked is Democrat Rep. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, who scored 92 percent. The lowest ranked is Republican Sen. Kent Cravens, who scored 24 percent. (Although Republican lieutenant governor candidate John Sanchez served a term in the House, that was before CVNM was founded, so they didn't analyze his votes.)

In addition to the scores, the site features quotes from all the candidates on environmental issues.

Here's one from Republican Doug Turner:

“… We need a governor who understands that money doesn’t grow on trees.”

I'm not sure why that's included, except perhaps to show that Turner, while not a tree-hugger, does has some understanding of the nature of trees.

It's On!

It didn't take long after Sunday's Albuquerque Journal poll showing Allen Weh and Susana Martinez at a virtual tie for the fur to start flying.

At first it was just nanny nanny boo boo stuff, with Weh in a Sunday press release calling Martinez a "government lawyer" (compared to Weh himself, a "job creator").

Then Monday morning an unnamed "Martinez operative" was quoted in Joe Monahan's blog calling Weh a "party boss and government contractor."

And now this television ad from Martinez, calling Weh a "divisive party chairman" and blasting him for supporting the 2007 immigration bill (backed by other limp-wristed liberals like George W. Bush and John McCain.)

Weh's campaign manager, Whitney Cheshire, responded in a news release last night: “True to form as a career politician, Susana Martinez thinks she can say one thing and do another – just like they do in Santa Fe. ... Let the record now clearly show that Susana Martinez has decided to take a negative turn in this race, and we will defend ourselves in an appropriate fashion.”

Oh boy ...

A couple of weeks ago when I interviewed Weh, he told me he would keep his own ads positive -- as long as his opponents didn't attack him.

I wonder whether his inevitable response ad will be up before I get a chance to post this. Perhaps another cooking video, a nice Susana stew?

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's Dennis Hopper Day!

"Don't f#@#*&^ look at me!"

From the Governor's Office

WHEREAS, Dennis Hopper is a world-renowned and legendary actor, director, writer, and filmmaker who has appeared in nearly 200 films and television shows for six decades; and

Whereas, Dennis Hopper has shared the screen with fellow Hollywood acting legends including Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean; and

WHEREAS, Dennis Hopper received critical recognition and won prestigious awards for his work in Easy Rider, Hoosiers, and Blue Velvet, and was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay for Easy Rider in 1970, and for Best Supporting Actor in 1987 for his performance in Hoosiers; and

WHEREAS, Dennis Hopper is known best by many for his highly successful independent film, Easy Rider, in which he starred, wrote and directed. His success in this endeavor helped pave the way for independent filmmaking; and

WHEREAS, Easy Rider was filmed in New Mexico in 1968; and since that time, Dennis Hopper has been at the helm of several film productions in New Mexico, including the recent Starz Network hit-series, Crash; and

WHEREAS, Dennis Hopper is also a prolific photographer, painter, and sculptor in fine arts, pop arts, and abstract expressionism, with his works being exhibited worldwide, including the recent showing at the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos; and

WHEREAS, for four decades, Dennis Hopper has been a resident of New Mexico and has made many artistic contributions to the State. Through his promotion of the arts in New Mexico, he has inspired and enticed other artists, actors, writers, and musicians to visit, work, or live in the Land of Enchantment; and

WHEREAS, Dennis Hopper is a friend, supporter and advocate of Native Peoples in New Mexico and supports the State’s rich cultural diversity; and

WHEREAS, it is fitting and an honor that the State of New Mexico extends appropriate recognition and deep appreciation to Dennis Hopper, a cultural icon and friend to many, for his artistic and cultural contributions to our State and to the entire world;

NOW, THEREFORE I, Bill Richardson, Governor of the State of New Mexico, do hereby proclaim May 17, 2010 as:

“Dennis Hopper Day”

throughout the State of New Mexico.

Attest: Done at the Executive Office this

17th day of February, 2010.

Mary Herrera Witness my hand and the Great Seal

Secretary of State of the Great State of New Mexico

Bill Richardson


The GOP in CD3

My story in The New Mexican on the Republican primary race in the 3rd Congressional District -- Adam Kokesh vs. Tom Mullins -- can be found HERE.

Recently The Politico did a poll of Tea Party participants indicating that there two major factions -- a social-conservative contingent that identifies with Sarah Palin and a libertarian wing that identifies with Ron Paul.

That dynamic seems to be at play here with these candidates in CD3.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

New Mexico One of the Nation's LEAST CORRUPT States!

If you're waiting for a punchline, there isn't one.

According to a feature in The Daily Beast, New Mexico ranks 45th in the list of most corrupt states.

We are behind such corrupt cesspools as Minnesota, North Dakota. Kansas and Vermont.

Here's what they said about us:

Recent Scandal: New Mexico has a long history of public corruption (see: New Mexico state treasurers), and one of the more interesting characters to arise from its history is Manny Aragon. Aragon was a senator for the state for 29 years, but his legacy was marred in 2008 when he pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy and mail fraud related to a plan to steal $4.4 million from the state during the construction of the Albuquerque metro courthouse. He was sentenced to more than five years in prison and ordered to pay a $750,000 fine and $649,000 in restitution.

The Beast looked at a decade's worth of FBI statistics for all 50 states plus Washington, D.C, in the areas of public corruption, racketeering and extortion, forgery and counterfeiting, fraud and embezzlement.

Here's how New Mexico ranked in those categories:

Public Corruption: 41
Racketeering & Extortion: 41
Fraud Rank: 47
Forgery & Counterfeiting: 40
Embezzlement: 10

At least we're in the top 10 for embezzlement.

Thanks to my friend Bob for tipping me to this. And congratulations to my former colleague Laura Husar whose photo of Manny in action was used to represent our state.

Sarah Coming For Susana

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be in Albuquerque Sunday to endorse Susana Martinez for Governor, the Martinez campaign announced.

Palin is scheduled to appear 9:00 AM at the Albuquerque Marriott Grand Ballroom, located at 2101 Louisiana Blvd. NE.

The former GOP vice presidential nominee is one of the most colorful, controversial figures in the Republican Party today.

Until now the Republican gubernatorial field has been cautious about Palin. When she appeared in Roswell for a book signing event in December, none of the hopefuls showed up. In fact at the time a spokesman for the Martinez campaign told me the campaign would not be seeking Palin's support.

Palin should help Martinez with the most conservative part of the already very conservative base of GOP primary voters. It won't help with moderate Republicans who have been considering supporting Martinez. Of course, that begs the question of how many moderate Republicans actually are left in the party. Democrats should be expected to make hay out of the Martinez connection in the general election, though it's questionable how much average voters pay attention to such associations.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Richardson Goes to White House

But only as a guest. According to a press release, Gov. Bill Richardson will attend a state dinner next week in honor of Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

He'll fly to Washington Tuesday and return to New Mexico on Thursday.

This will be the second state dinner for Richardson during this administration. He also went to President Obama's first state dinner last November, which was in honor of India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Titles, But No Names

Back in January when I interviewed Gov. Bill Richardson up in his office, I asked him if he was unwilling to release the names of the exempt state employees who were terminated to help balance the budget, if he would at least give us the titles of those let go and the agencies they worked for.

He said he'd think about it.
BILL RICHARDSONFour months later, I guess he thought it through. He released such a list today.

Of course, the decision to release this list might have more to do with the attorney general's opinion that Richardson may have violated open records laws by refusing to release the names.

Courtesy Green Chile Chatter, here's the list of positions of those who were terminaed.

Eliminations 5-14-10

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Let's Watch Some Ads

Here's a bunch of recent ads from several gubernatorial candidates

The above have come out in the past few days. Here's some older ads by the other candidates

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Roundhouse Roundup: Dancing With the Candidates

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
May 13, 2010

Susana Martinez once won a ballroom dancing competition. Doug Turner enjoys ’70s cinema. Pete Domenici Jr., a lawyer for more than 20 years, has been quietly taking graduate classes in community and regional planning. Janice Arnold-Jones likes the UNM Lobos better than any professional sports team.

These are just some of the fun facts gleaned from a recent questionnaire I sent to Republican candidates for governor. I included several “personality questions” along with the serious issues questions that were part of my candidate profiles that were published in this newspaper on Sunday. (All the answers to those issue questions can be found online HERE)

The fifth GOP candidate, Allen Weh, chose not to participate in the questionnaire.

Of course, this might seem frivolous and it’s doubtful anyone will chose a governor based on favorite books and movies. But some voters like to know a little about the personalities and personal lives of the people who might become chief executive.

There actually are at least two dancers among the GOP candidates. Arnold-Jones listed dancing along with gardening as her hobbies. But Martinez actually won the “Dancing with Las Cruces” ballroom dance contest last year.

Martinez listed that under the category “Talents some people might not know you had.” Answering that same question, Domenici mentioned his status as a grad student at The University of New Mexico School of Architecture. He said he has 45 hours of course work completed for a degree in planning.

Arnold-Jones, besides her talent in dancing, also mentioned that she was chief coach for the American Youth Soccer Organization in Albuquerque, where she not only coached kids, but taught other adults how to coach.

Turner’s secret talent was cooking. There he faces serious competition from Weh, whose campaign has released videos of the candidate preparing soup and curry dishes.

I asked the candidates which book they read most recently. Arnold-Jones answered Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson. Turner listed two: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and I Claudius by Robert Graves. Martinez, a district attorney, apparently likes courtroom drama. She said her most recent book was The Summons by John Grisham.

Domenici said his most recent was The Mouse and The Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. He clarified that he read this with his 10-year-old daughter.

Asked about their favorite movies, Domenici went with a Western, 3:10 to Yuma. (I’m not sure if he meant the 1957 original with Glenn Ford or the 2007 remake with Russell Crowe.)

Two of Arnold-Jones’ film picks were sports films — Field of Dreams and The Replacements. She also listed In Harm’s Way, a World War II movie starring John Wayne.

Turner listed three movies from the ’70s. Two dramas — Three Days of the Condor and Serpico — and a Peter Sellers comedy, Being There.

As for professional sports teams, Martinez likes the Dallas Cowboys, while Domenici is a fan of the Phoenix Suns basketball team. Arnold-Jones said, “the Lobos! (OK so it’s collegiate! Still love ’em.)”

Turner didn’t answer the favorite professional sports. But unsolicited, he named his favorite modern philosopher — libertarian heroine and Atlas Shrugged author Ayn Rand.

I also asked the candidates to name their favorite figure in American history. Martinez and Turner chose a safe bet as far as Republican primary voters go: Ronald Reagan. (Turner also listed Thomas Payne and Teddy Roosevelt.)

Arnold-Jones went with another Republican president, one Abraham Lincoln. She liked Honest Abe's "Team of Rivals" aspect. "He governed by consensus, and surrounded himself with people who would enrich his decisions. That’s what I have done as a state representative and it’s what I will do as governor," Arnold-Jones wrote.

Domenici went with one outside the realm of politics: Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

R.I.P. Jetter Johnson: A local civil-rights pioneer and longtime state worker died Tuesday at Christus/St. Vincent Regional Medical Center. With her late husband, Jetter Johnson, 89, started the Santa Fe chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in the early ’70s.

Johnson worked for many years at the county welfare office, first as a Food Stamp worker, then a Food Stamp supervisor, retiring in 1984. I first got to know her because she worked with my mom in the ’70s and ’80s.

She was a sweet and wonderful lady.

Johnson is preceded in death by her husband, Tom Johnson Sr., who died 10 years ago this month. She’s survived by her children, Tom Johnson Jr. and Bea Johnson. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Republican Gubernatorial Race

The New Mexican published my profiles of the GOP governor contenders this morning.

The main story is HERE

A story about the candidates' stances on various issues questions I asked , which appeared in the print edition, is HERE

The complete answers to those questions are HERE

Janice Arnold-Jones' profile is HERE

Pete Domenici, Jr.'s profile is HERE

Susana Martinez's profile is HERE

Doug Turner's profile is HERE

Allen Weh's profile is HERE

Saturday, May 8, 2010

GOP Official Resigns, Bashing Kokesh, Praising Susana

Adam KokeshIt's a weekend and I'm on vacation, so I really have no business blogging here. But this letter of resignation from Rod Montoya, 2nd vice chairman of the state Republican Party, caught my eye.
He says he's resigning because he doesn't like Congressional candidate Adam Kokesh's positions. That seems odd, given the fact that Kokesh got less than 20 percent at the GOP pre-primary convention compared with the 80 percent showing by his only rival for the 3rd CD nomination -- which would seem to make Kokesh a longshot for the nomination. Does Montoya think Kokesh has a good chance of defeating Tom Mullins in the primary? Is he saying that candidates who go against the grain of party orthodoxy shouldn't even be allowed to run?

Montoya said he's also frustrated by too many candidates in the Republican governor's race.

Here's the letter. I'm going back on vacation.

To Chairman Yates and the New Mexico Republican Party,
I regret to inform you that I am stepping down from my position in party leadership. I am unable to stand by any longer as Adam Kokesh, candidate for Congress in the third congressional district, continues to mislead Republican voters.

Mr. Kokesh has spent the last year re-making himself as a mainstream Republican with conservative values. Anyone who was paying attention to Mr. Kokesh’s rhetoric from the beginning, or has bothered to ‘Google’ him on the internet, knows that this is not the case.

Adam has made much political hay about his military service. To be honest; it is probably his only real qualification to run for Congress. Since returning from his second voluntary deployment to the Middle East, he has become a professional war protestor. He has even gone so far as to encourage soldiers to “consider the constitutionality of their deployment orders”, in other words, if you think your orders to go to Iraq or Afghanistan are unconstitutional they should not be followed. He told soldiers in Germany getting ready to deploy that if they wanted to desert, they would be assisted by his organization. - - Isn’t sedition still against the law?

This action, as well as dozens of others were documented and proudly promoted on ‘YouTube’ by Mr. Kokesh himself. However, many of his most outrageous acts have been removed from the internet once they became a negative in his race for Congress. Interestingly enough, the video of Adam disrupting the 2008 GOP acceptance speech of John McCain is still available for your viewing.

I went to Santa Fe last year to meet personally with Mr. Kokesh when his decision to run for office was made public. At that meeting he described to me his “libertarian belief” of self-ownership. He said that “since I own this body, no one can tell me what I can ingest, intake, inhale, imbibe, or inject into it”. This included heroin, cocaine, and meth.

His support of abortion, gay marriage, and legal prostitution were also covered by this belief. Mr. Kokesh is now saying whatever it takes to win the Republican primary. It’s not hard to guess where he will stand on the issues, when the election is over.

I have also been very frustrated, along with most of the other County Chairmen, by the unwillingness of several candidates running for governor to honestly assess their chances of winning. Unfortunately they seem to be driven more by personal ambition than what is good for the state and for their party. There have been far too many politicians, in recent history, who have taken this road and look were it has led us all - to the brink of socialism and bankruptcy!

In Republican primaries everywhere the argument between campaign supporters revolves around 2 issues, a candidates electability and their conservative values. It just so happens that in this year’s governor’s race, Susana Martinez is both the most electable and the most conservative. She has proven this in four previous elections for District Attorney, in a heavily Democrat county.

She brings Dona Ana County into play; no other Republican candidate does this. Last year’s municipal elections in Las Cruces were a clean sweep for Democrats. We must acknowledge that the Democrat Party believes Susana to be the biggest threat to their power.

Susana is exactly what our party and our state need at this time, I believe this and most of the county parties’ leadership believes this, just look back to the state pre-primary convention results.

It is now my understanding that one of our gubernatorial candidates is planning on submitting legislation that would do away with pre-primary conventions in the future. As you know, this process attracts hundreds of Republican volunteers and motivates people to get involved in the process. I guess if you don’t like the volunteer barometer, you just get rid of it and further remove the grassroots from the party.

As you know, I have worked to grow the role of grass-roots and county party leadership within state party politics. I have also worked to develop relationships between county party chairmen, and I have made it my personal goal to increase Hispanic participation in the Republican Party in general.

Because of this, I do not take my actions lightly or without careful consideration, but I am unwilling to just sit back and hope that the voters (in my sphere of influence) see through the smoke screen of misrepresentation and slick advertising.

However, I want to make it clear that I am not going to work for any one candidate, but I plan on informing the voters of specific candidate misrepresentations, I am going to personally support several candidates that I believe in, and continue my efforts to expand the participation of Hispanics in the party.

So, it is with much sadness that I respectfully submit my resignation at this time.

Rod Montoya - Party Activist, Reagan Conservative, and Concerned Citizen

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Gary Johnson in Salon

There's no Roundhouse Roundup column this week because I'm on vacation. Be back next week.

In the meantime, here's a profile of former Gov. Gary and his candidacy/non-candidacy in

There's one line I hadn't heard since the last time a New Mexico governor was running for president:

What about the idea of increasing security by means of a border wall?

"I have never been supportive of the wall," he replied. "A 10-foot wall [just] requires an 11-foot ladder."