Friday, May 31, 2013

A Night of A Thousand GOP Stars

Gov. Susana MartinezO.K., that's an exaggeration. But CNN is reporting that a bunch of big-time Republican honchos are gathering in Washington D.C. next Tuesday for a fundraiser for Gov. Susana Martinez's re-election campaign.

The invitation lists GOP luminaries including House Speaker John Boehner, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell; Sens. Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and John McCain; Rep. Paul Ryan; Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell; Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus; and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (a Taos resident).

Mindful of the state's campaign finance limits, the invite says, "Contributions to Susana Martinez for Governor are limited to $10,400 per election cycle per legal entity."

CNN asks and answers:

So why are Republicans focusing on helping Martinez, who is expected to win re-election in 2014? Simply, she is an important public figure for the GOP, who lost the Hispanic vote to President Barack Obama by an overwhelming margin in 2012. And there is an acknowledgment by Priebus and other GOP leaders that future electoral successes will depend, in part, on convincing Hispanic voters to support Republicans. Who better to help deliver that message than Martinez – the first Hispanic woman ever elected governor.

The CNN story also has a little tweak for state Dems:

As of now, it appears Martinez has a path to re-election as Democrats have failed to identify a strong challenger. "For being in such a competitive state, Martinez is in surprising good shape for second term," said Nathan Gonzales, deputy editor of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report.

Not Bragging But ...

I made the list of best state-based political reporters compiled by The Washington Post's blog The Fix.

You can see it HERE.

Thanks to everyone who recommended me for this.

I'll try to live up to it.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Keller Running for Auditor, Not Governor

State Sen. Tim Keller will run for state auditor next year, not for governor as he'd been contemplating.

"For me, I think it's the best fit to continue doing what I've started in the Legislature," Keller, D-Albuquerque, said, referring to attempts to reform government financial entities like the State Investment Council and the New Mexico Finance Authority.

Keller said he'd make the Auditor's office a "policy shop," recommending more efficient ways of operating for state government.

He said the timing wasn't right for a governor's race. He and his wife are expecting their first baby in July.

Former state auditor and current Santa county assessor Domingo Martinez, also a Democrat, already has announced he's running for the auditor's job, which currently is held by Hector Balderas, who can't seek a third term. Balderas is running for attorney general.



Here's a statement by Jamie Estrada through his lawyer Zach Ives

"While the U.S. Attorney's allegation of wrongdoing on my part is regrettable, I want to make it clear that I have not broken any laws or done anything improper. Nor was I dismissed from my job as interim campaign manager for Governor Martinez. Everyone knows that "the best defense is a good offense." Individuals in whom the public has placed its trust have come after me in an attempt to divert attention from their own improper actions, including the suspected Albuquerque Downs Racino bid rigging. I have every faith that not only will I be found innocent, but also that this attack on me will result in exposure of the true wrongdoers, once and for all."

ANd at bottom with statements from Gpv. Susana Martinez and Mike Corwin of Independent Source PAC

A federal grand jury has indicted a former campaign manager for Gov. Susana Martinez on 14 felony counts of email theft and lying to the FBI.

Jamie Estrada, 40, of Los Lunas is accused of intercepting emails sent to Martinez’s campaign account between July 2011 and June 2012.

Estrada is a longtime Republican activist and former candidate for Public Regulation Commission. He has appeared on  KNME's In Focus representing the conservative view.

Estrada didn’t immediately respond to a phone call to his home.

According to the indictment, released Thursday morning from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Estrada was Martinez’s campaign manager for about six months in late 2009.

An unnamed supporter of Martinez’s set up an Internet domain — — for the campaign in July 2009. There were several email accounts associated with the domain, including one used by the governor herself. Estrada had the user name and password for the domain.

Before Estrada left in December 2009, the Governor allegedly sent Estrada an email requesting that he return all information belonging to the campaign, including any user names and passwords to any accounts.

“After Gov. Martinez was inaugurated in Jan. 2011, the governor, members of her staff and others continued to use the email accounts associated with the domain, a news release from the U.S. Attorney said. Indeed, as The New Mexican first revealed last year, Martinez and her staff routinely used the campaign email account and other personal accounts to discuss state business.

“In July 2011, individuals who had email accounts on the domain began receiving reports that emails sent to those accounts were bouncing back to the senders and soon determined that the emails were not getting delivered because the domain had expired,” the news release said. “Their efforts to re-register the domain were unsuccessful because they could not locate or recall the domain’s user name and password.”

The indictment says that the governor’s staff asked Estrada for this information, but he refused to give it to them.

Estrada allegedly used the user name and password to renew the domain and to change its settings so that incoming emails went to an email account on a different domain that Estrada controlled. Many of these ended up in the hands of Independent Source PAC, a liberal organization that has been highly critical of the Martinez administration. The PAC provided The New Mexican and several other news organizations with certain emails.

Martinez later ordered her staff not to communicate about state business on non-official email accounts.

Indictment is below:

UPDATE: Here's the full statement from Gov. Susana Martinez

“The federal felony indictment today vindicates what I have been saying for almost a full year – that the personal and political emails of dozens of people, including my own, were hijacked, stolen, and never received by the intended recipients.

Thousands of New Mexicans are victims of identity theft and cyber crimes each year, and I hope the indictment today sends a strong message that no one deserves to have their privacy invaded.

Even in the world of politics, issues should be the subject of tough and vigorous debates, but there are clear lines that should not be crossed and committing federal felony crimes to invade the personal privacy of political opponents is one of them.

I knew the defendant to be a man of suspect character. That is why I fired him from my campaign in 2009 and why I rejected him for a position within my administration after being elected.

Unfortunately, the stolen emails were passed to Bill Richardson’s former private investigator and numerous others, in order to exact the defendant’s revenge on me through disseminating, and grossly misrepresenting, those emails.

I am grateful for the professional work done by the FBI and United States Attorney’s office and have complete confidence that justice will be done in this case.”

And here's a statement from Mike Corwin of Independent Source PAC (who Martinez refers to as "Bill Richardson’s former private investigator")

It should be noted that of the 12 emails cited in the indictment, none pertain to the public record communications between high ranking members of Governor Susana Martinez’s administration and representatives of the Downs at Albuquerque during the contract procurement period.

Further, none of the emails cited pertain to the public record communication between high ranking members of the Martinez Administration, including the Public Education Department, regarding the apparent misuse of public resources intended for Governor Martinez’s political benefit.

This indictment in no way minimizes the apparent illegal conduct by Martinez and her administration as identified in the emails on which we previously reported.

As any responsible person investigating and reporting on government misconduct, I will continue to protect my sources.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

R.I.P. Former Sen. Steve Stoddard

Steve Stoddard, a former state senator from Los Alamos, died last week. He was 88.

Stoddard, who worked 29 years as an engineer for Los Alamos National Laboratory, died in Los Alamos Friday.

According to his obituary on the DeVargas Funeral Home website, Stoddard was born in Washington state. He joined the Army after graduating from high school in 1943 and won a Purple Heart after being wounded in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

Before going to the Legislature, Stoddard won elections as justice of the peace and later municipal judge. He also served on the Loas Alamos County Commission.

Former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici urged him to run for state in 1980. Stoddard, a Republican, won his first of three terms that year. He didn't seek re-election in 1992.

Stoddard is survived by his wife Barbara Leverett Stoddard, two daughters, Dorcas Avery and Stephanie Martin; and several stepchildren, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Services for Stoddard will be held 11 am tomorrow (Thursday May 30) at Trinity-on-the-Hill Episcopal Church, 3900 Trinity Dr., Los Alamos. In lieu of flowers, his family requests contributions to: “Los Alamos Visiting Nurses Hospice House”, P.O. Box 692, Los Alamos, NM, 87544, or “Self Help Inc.” 2390 North Road, Los Alamos, NM, 87544.

Monday, May 27, 2013

ROUNDHOUSE ROUNDUP: Crunching the Poll Numbers

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
May 26, 2013

Is New Mexico suddenly getting more conservative?

You might think so based on recent polls from KOB-TV, performed by the SurveyUSA firm. But based on a conversation with one New Mexico pollster who looked at those numbers, the conservative trend looks to be a tad overstated.

Early in the week, KOB released a poll on the Albuquerque mayoral race that showed Republican incumbent Richard Berry ahead of Democratic challenger Pete Dinelli by a whopping 42 percentage points. I joked with a friend that the poll oversampled pendejos — Dinelli’s word for Democrats who vote for Republicans.

The next day, a statewide poll by SurveyUSA, also commissioned by KOB, showed Gov. Susana Martinez with a 66 percent approval rating. The poll showed that 70 percent — no, that’s not a typo — of women surveyed were positive about the governor, as were 64 percent of independents and 44 percent of Democrats.

I’m not at all surprised that the governor’s approval rating is more than 60 percent. Most polls put her around that figure. But 66 percent is the highest number I’ve seen for Martinez.

But what really stunned me was a third poll result released by KOB later in the week. According to this one, 51 percent of voters say same-sex marriage should be prohibited, while 44 percent said they support legalization of gay marriage. Previous polls have shown that a plurality of New Mexico voters favor marriage equality.

One part of this poll result that did ring true was that young people support same-sex marriage significantly more than the general population — 63 percent of young people support the idea, according to the SurveyUSA poll.

I asked Albuquerque pollster Brian Sanderoff to look at the poll numbers. The main thing that struck him was the percentage of Democrats vs. Republicans. According to SurveyUSA’s cross-tabs, 39 percent of those polled were Republicans, while 42 percent were Democrats — a 3 percent difference. But according to voter registration figures, the breakdown statewide is GOP 31 percent, Dems at 47 percent — a 16 percent difference.

Sanderoff said even though registered Republicans are better at turning up to the polls than Democrats, the percentages polled by SurveyUSA would skew the results. He said, based on turnout, a more realistic breakdown would be 45 percent Democrats, 33 percent Republicans.

Using that breakdown, Sanderoff crunched the numbers and determined that Martinez’s approval rating would have been 62 percent — still good enough to give Democrats nightmares.

On the same-sex marriage question, Sanderoff said using that 45-33 party affiliation ratio, the number of those wanting to prohibit gay marriage would be 47 percent, while those supporting it would have been 46 percent, a virtual tie.

Sanderoff said that the demographic mix in the Albuquerque poll seemed to be on target, except it’s “very light on cellphones.” Only 10 percent of the interviews in the poll were conducted on cellphones.

“Mayor Berry has a 44-point lead among people reached by landline and a 16-point lead among those reached via smartphone,” Sanderoff said. “Thus, the lead would narrow if they had the right mix of cellphones, however Mayor Berry would still have a very big lead.”

I don’t believe SurveyUSA has any ideological ax to grind. The firm’s results in the past have seemed reasonable.

According to New York Times poll guru Nate Silver, in 2012, SurveyUSA had a plus-0.5 percent bias toward Republicans in the presidential race — in other words, they tended to overestimate GOP performance by half a percentage point. But all but a few major polling companies tended to overestimate Mitt Romney’s numbers. Gallup had a Republican bias of 7.2 percent, Silver reported, while the Democratic-owned Public Policy Polling firm had a 1.6 percent GOP bias.

As far as accuracy goes, SurveyUSA had an average error of 2.2 percent in 2012, which was better than most.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bregman: What Is a "Job Creator"?

Sam Bregman promised he'd be an aggressive state chairman if elected by state Democrats. Looks like he's trying to keep that promise.

Gov. Susana Martinez is going to be the keynote speaker at a Republican dinner in Columbus, Ohio next month. In announcing that, thee Ohio state Republican Party chairman-elect Matt Borges called Martinez a "tax-cutter" and a "job creator."

That prompted Bregman to write Borges an "open letter" (which means us media types probably saw it before Borges did).

Here's what he said:

I read with interest your comment labeling Governor Martinez a job creator. In New Mexico we use a definition that actually calculates the number of jobs created by a sitting Governor since taking office-January 1, 2011.

--42,000 jobs lost; only western state not showing economic recovery -- Albuquerque metro area lost 900 jobs over the year for a negative .2 percent growth rate. The area’s construction sector shed 400 jobs for a negative 2.2 percent growth rate.

-- Worst New Mexico economy in 80 years, huge job and population losses, record commercial real estate vacancies.

If you believe the above stats deserve the term ‘job creator’ then there is even a bigger difference between the Democratic and Republican parties than was thought. Republicans in Ohio have a bizarre definition for ‘job creator.’ When you meet Gov. Martinez on June 29, ask her if she can name one, single job she has created in two and a half years in office. Other than the one for her political consultant. 
Best regards ...

I've asked the Governor's Office for response, and will add that here if and when they do.

Martinez Named to Healthcare Panel

The National Governor's Association has named Gov. Susana Martinez to a new Health Care Sustainability Task Force, which will look at ways to improve the healthcare systems in states and reduce costs.

 Govs. John Kitzhaber of Oregon and Bill Haslam of Tennessee were named co-chairmen of the task force. Besides Martinez, other governors on the panel are Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, California Gov. Jerry Brown, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin.

"Through the sharing of state experiences and best practices, the task force will work to identify areas where federal legislative or regulatory action is necessary to reduce barriers and further support state initiatives," a news release said.

Monday, May 20, 2013

ROUNDHOUSE ROUNDUP: Little Joe Knew About IRS Intimidation

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
May 19, 2013
Amiable old-line
Democratic politician

Somewhere in the Great Beyond, Little Joe is shaking his head and saying, “They’re still at it.”

Assuming they keep up with the latest Earthly news in the Great Beyond, that had to be the reaction of the late U.S. Sen. Joseph Montoya when he learned about the recent scandal over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of tea party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

You see, the Peña Blanca native, who represented New Mexico in the Senate from 1964 to 1977, had personal knowledge of political targeting by the IRS.

As James Bovard wrote in the Wall Street Journal last week, “after Sen. Joe Montoya of New Mexico announced plans in 1972 to hold hearings on IRS abuses, the agency added his name to a list of tax protesters who were capable of violence against IRS agents.”

The New York Times in 1989 went into Montoya’s experience in greater detail as part of a lengthy article, titled “Misuse of the IRS: The Abuse of Power,” by David Burnham. The piece was adapted from Burnham’s book The I.R.S.: A Law Unto Itself.

Describing Montoya as an “amiable old-line Democratic politician,” Burnham said that in December 1972 — shortly after Montoya announced he would be holding hearings on the agency’s performance — the director of the IRS office in New Mexico began searching its files for information about the senator. Montoya at the time was chairman of the appropriations subcommittee, which approved the IRS budget.

“For an agency that had largely escaped regular Congressional oversight, Montoya’s announced plan may well have sounded like an open declaration of war,” the Times article said. “The Montoya subcommittee had lined up a number of powerful witnesses who were prepared to present evidence that the agency managers were inept. In addition, the first stories about how the Nixon Administration had misused the IRS were beginning to surface.”

IRS Commissioner Donald Alexander, who reportedly initially was enthusiastic about the investigation of Montoya’s taxes, called off the dogs in the summer of 1973. This was about the time that the Senate Watergate Committee — of which Montoya was a member — were holding televised hearings. Whether or not that had anything to do with calling off the investigation isn’t known.

The news of the IRS investigation into Montoya wasn’t made public for another two years. Speaking of Watergate, Washington Post investigative reporter Bob Woodward, fresh off the success of All the President’s Men at that point, broke the news, which was leaked by IRS agents.

In that article, Montoya wasn’t treated as a victim of the IRS by being the subject of a politically motivated investigation. Instead, IRS sources accused Alexander of improperly halting the Montoya investigation. Woodward’s article quoted IRS officials saying they believed Alexander had halted the audit of Montoya because of his influence over the IRS budget.

“To this day, it is unclear whether the target was Alexander or Montoya or both,” Burnham wrote. “Alexander himself says a key motive was the hostility some IRS supervisors in the Southwest felt toward the Senator, a leading Hispanic politician.”

Woodward’s story even made People magazine in December 1975. “Montoya, protesting the charge is false, says it was leaked by ‘some bastards in New Mexico’ who were angry that he had uncovered mishandling by IRS subordinates of several tax cases involving his constituents.

As to his alleged chumminess with IRS chief Donald Alexander, the senator says: ‘I never talked to Alexander about my returns. I never asked him for a favor, and I never received one.’ Montoya says he would welcome an audit.”

Although the Woodward article noted that there was no evidence that Montoya had evaded taxes or had done anything to halt the IRS investigation, there were plenty of negative headlines and suspicions raised. Montoya lost his re-election the next year to Republican Harrison Schmitt. Montoya died in 1978.

Friday, May 17, 2013

NM Flunks on Reporting Independent Expenditures

The brown states are the ones that received Fs.
NM is actually worse than Texas here.
Yep, we're at the bottom of another list -- The Institute of Money in State Politics' recent survey of independent spending disclosure requirements.

True, 25 other states received F grades in this survey. But New Mexico was one of only six states that received "perfect" grades of zero in all categories.

What does this mean for the average voter? Basically there's no way of truly tracking how much money is being spent in elections and no way of knowing who is paying for all the attack ads and nasty campaign mailers you find in your mailbox.

"There oughtta be a law..." you might you say?  Well, that's the point.

For three legislative sessions Sen. Peter Wirth, D- Santa Fe carried a bill that would have required reporting independent expenditures -- including who had contributed to the independent groups.

The bill always passes the Senate with bipartisan support (unanimously the past two sessions) but gets bogged down in the House.

Wirth blames "very power special interests" from both sides of the political spectrum for killing the bill each year. As he told the Institute, "It’s bipartisan support in the open, and then behind the scenes it’s full-on bipartisan opposition.”

Here's the article by the Institute that quotes Wirth. And here's my story in today's New Mexican.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lucky Will Run Again

Rep. Luciano "Lucky" Varela, who has represented House District 48 in Santa Fe since 1987, just told me he'll be running again next year.

"I'm feeling strong," Varela, 78, said. "I'm feeling good about serving another term."

Towards the end of this year's legislative session, Varela was hospitalized after he collapsed and was unconscious for about 20 seconds in his office. He later said doctors thought he might have had a reaction to blood pressure and allergy medications. He returned to the Roundhouse for the end of the session.

Varela  is the chairman of the Legislative Finance Committee and vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. The chairman of that panel, Rep. Henry "Kiki" Saavedra, D-Albuquerque, announced this week that he wouldn't seek another term.

Varela said he thinks he would do a good job as chairman. "But it's all up to the Speaker," he said. The Speaker of the House appoints all committee chairs.

Daisy Kupfer: 3 Years for Tax Evasion

Elizabeth "Daisy" Kupfer, who once worked for the state Attorney General's Office, was sentenced today to three years in federal prison for tax evasion in a case involving the theft of more than $2.5 million in federal election education funds through a contract with former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron's office.

In a news release, U.S. Attorney Ken Gonzales said, “In this case, Mrs. Kupfer intentionally concealed over $750,000 of income." She was ordered to pay $288,339 in restitution to the IRS.

Earlier this year Kupfer's husband, Joe Kupfer, a former lobbyist, and political consultant Armando Gutierrez, 65, of Corpus Christi, Texas were found guilty of multiple charges including conspiracy and theft of government property.

Vigil-Giron hired Gutierrez to produce voter-education TV ads. He received more than $6 million in federal election money from 2004 to 2006. But prosecutors contended he could not account for more than $2.5 million of work under his contracts.

Gutierrez paid Kupfer's company $746,375, the government said, but never produced any documentation for hiring the company.

Vigil-Giron initially was indicted in the case, which originally was in state court. However, the charges against her eventually were dismissed.

Joe Kupfer and Gutierrez have not been sentenced yet.

Back to Work

I was gone for a little more than a week, but I'm back in the saddle again.

It appears that I didn't miss that much while I was gone.

No huge scandals broke. Nobody new announced they were running for governor.

But here's a few tidbits to ponder.

* The Nation, a national progressive publication, did a glowing piece on U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich.

Heinrich, aged 41, isn’t typical Senatorial material. In a Congress whose members have an average net worth of almost one million dollars, according to an article published in U.S. News and World Report in January, New Mexico’s junior senator, who was the first member of his family to attend college, has a net worth of a little over $50,000, making him the fifth-poorest Senator on the Hill.

The article also points out that Heinrich is the third youngest member of the Senate.

* Common Cause New Mexico is working on a report on lobbying in the state legislature. The full report is due in July, but this week the organization released figures on the total amount that lobbyists and their employers spent to "influence, entertain and feed New Mexico legislators" was $488,296.74.

Former state Sen. Dede Feldman, D-Albuquerque, who is one of the people working on the Common Cause report has more on her blog.

* The state Republican Party seems nervous about Sen. Tim Keller, who hasn't announced he's running for governor, but isn't discouraging his supporters from making noises about a possible run.

This video identifies Keller as an "extreme left-wing radical."

This could get fun. New Mexico Watchdog has more.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

ROUNDHOUSE ROUNDUP: Changing of the Guard for State Dems

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
May 5, 2013

Newly elected state Democratic Party Chairman Sam Bregman wants to beat Mayor Richard Berry in the upcoming Albuquerque city elections. He wants to beat Gov. Susana Martinez and Secretary of State Dianna Duran in next year’s general election.

Alex Bregman at bat
But late last week, Bregman was hoping the Louisiana State University Tigers would beat the Florida Gators in baseball.

Bregman, fresh off his hard-fought victory for state party chairman, took some time off to fly to Louisiana to watch his son Alex Bregman, once a high-school baseball star, now a freshman shortstop — and leading hitter — for LSU.

“You Google his name and you’re going to see more hits for him than for his father,” the elder Bregman said in a telephone interview Thursday.

Bregman was elected party chair April 27 by a 2-to-1 margin by the Democratic State Central Committee in Las Cruces. He took over from outgoing Chairman Javier Gonzales, who didn’t seek a third term.

Though he was relaxing in Louisiana, earlier in the week he appointed a “transition team” that includes director of party affairs Callan Martinez, field operations and elections director Scott Tillman, director of legislative affairs Angie Poss, general counsel Robert Lara, organized labor liaison Michelle Mares, and communications and rapid response director David Harwell.

Sam Bregman
(A word about Harwell: I called him last week, left a message and he indeed responded rapidly.)

Bregman said he will be appointing a fundraising team for the party very shortly.

He also said he had a conference call with all 33 Democratic Party county chairs early in the week to talk about his “33-county strategy” for 2014.

Bregman, a lawyer and former Albuquerque city councilor, has earned the reputation of being forceful and aggressive. This should be a contrast to the more laid-back and behind-the-scenes style of Gonzales.

But in addition to a change in style, the state Democrats might be getting a change in structure as well.

Asked when he’ll appoint an executive director for the state party, Bregman said he’s not sure he’s going to appoint one. “I’m going to focus on shoring up the party — our fundraising, our social media abilities, getting detailed analysis of all precincts — before I rush to name an executive director.”

Fact check: It looks like Bregman was right about that Google thing. I used the search engine to look for “Alex Bregman” and got 30,300 results. For “Sam Bregman,” only 9,460 results. And just to rub it in, on Twitter, Alex has more than 3,200 followers, while Sam has only 151 on his @samforchair13 account.

Speaking of Dem executive directors: Scott Forrester, who held that position for the past several years, told me weeks ago that he’d be leaving that position as soon as Gonzales’ term was up. Forrester’s new job, he said, would be heading up his own political consulting firm. Sure enough, last week I got the first press release from Bosque Strategies. It was announcement for Albuquerque City Council candidate Klarissa Pena.

I spoke with Forrester the next day and he told me he might be working in the Santa Fe city elections also.
There's also a new "Draft Javier
for Mayor" Twitter account

This was the day that Mayor David Coss announced that he won’t be seeking re-election. Only hours later, I received my second email from Forrester on his Bosque Strategies account.

This one was on behalf of his old boss, Gonzales, offering words of praise for Coss. But that was just the first paragraph. The second, slightly longer paragraph talked about Gonzales’ love for Santa Fe and how he was born and raised here.

He then spoke about the “encouragement I’ve received regarding a mayoral run” but demurred about his intentions, saying only, “Now we need to focus on our gratitude for Mayor Coss’ service.”

I think it’s pretty obvious that Gonzales might be running for the job.

NOTE: I'm on vacation this next week, so barring any major political developments in New Mexico I probably won't be posting on this blog until I get back, Tuesday, May 14.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Domingo Running for State Auditor

Domingo Martinez

County Assessor Domingo Martinez, a former state auditor, is running for that position again.

Martinez, who is finishing his second term as assessor, served two four-year terms as state auditor beginning in 1999.

Martinez has the distinction of being the first public official to find evidence suggesting corruption in former state Treasurer Robert Vigil.

During his first term as auditor, Martinez ordered an audit of Vigil's years as state auditor in the 1990s. That audit uncovered possible violations of state laws, including the filtering of money to a former assistant through an accounting company and money being given to a nonprofit group headed by Vigil’s wife.

State police forwarded the investigation to the FBI, with the state police chief saying Martinez's audit " "strong patterns of public corruption" during Vigil's tenure. But no charges were filed.

Vigil, who went on to be elected state treasurer in 2002 despite the bad publicity from Martinez's audit report, dismissed the audit was the result of a "vendetta" by Martinez. But before Vigil's first term in office was over, he was indicted on federal corruption charges (unrelated to the findings in Martinez's report) and eventually served time in prison.

Current auditor Hector Balderas is running for attorney general. He couldn't seek re-election as auditor due to term limits.

Check tomorrow's New Mexican for more    information.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Javier Won't Say If He's Running For Mayor ... But He DOES Love Santa Fe

Javier Gonzales Calling Meeting to Order
Javier Gonzales
Following Mayor David Coss' announcement this morning that he won't be seeking re-election, there has been some speculation whether Javier Gonzales -- who just last week finished his term as state Democratic chairman -- will run for the office once held by his dad, George Gonzales.

After all, just last month Gonzales told me that he'd be considering running for elected office.

Earlier this afternoon, Gonzales released a statement thanking and praising Coss for his years as mayor. His statement concluded:

I love our city. I was born and raised here and believe we have a bright future. I appreciate the encouragement I've received regarding a mayoral run but now we need to focus on our gratitude for Mayor Coss' service."
Hmmm. Doesn't sound like a guy not running for mayor.

Check out the New Mexican tomorrow for more on Coss' decision by my colleague Julie Ann Grimm