Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I'll Be Danged! One of My Election Predictions Came True!

Before an election lots of people ask me who is going to win. Unless the race the person is talking about is real obvious, I usually shy away from answering -- because I'm so frequently wrong.

But here's a prediction I made back in 2012 that actually proved to be correct.

It was in my Nov. 18, 2012 Roundhouse Roundup column, My Nostradamus-like words were: 

Whoever the Dems put up against Martinez will not come from the state Legislature.

This isn’t a knock on the fine men and women who serve in our citizen Legislature. There are many excellent lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and many of whom, I’m sure, would make competent governors. It’s just that it’s tough to make that jump from the House or Senate to the Fourth Floor.

History will bear me out — at least the history of the last few decades. Bruce King was the last governor who had spent any time in the state Legislature. (He was speaker of the House back in the ’60s.) But when he was elected governor in 1990, King was best known for being a former governor, not a lawmaker. That also was true for his second term as governor, to which he was elected in 1978. (His first term as governor came in 1970.)

(A similar dynamic probably will apply to King’s son, Gary King in 2014. He was in the House for many years, but voters almost certainly will judge him on his performance as attorney general, not for votes he cast in the Legislature in the ’80s and ’90s.)

With the exception of King, other governors going back to the '80s — Martinez, Bill Richardson, Gary Johnson, Garrey Carruthers and Toney Anaya — were never legislators. The last governor elected directly from the Legislature was Jerry Apodaca, a former senator from Las Cruces, in 1974

I have to admit, back in March after Sen. Howie Morales won the pre-primary convention, I was afraid I would have to eat crow over that column. 

But it didn't turn out that way.

So why don't we elect governors who come out of the Legislature? As I speculated back in 2012:

Maybe it’s because most voters are fairly satisfied with their own representatives and senators, but many tend to think of the rest of the state Legislature as a bunch of clowns or worse. Kind of like the way we feel about our own congressional representatives.