New Mexico Telegram will be looking at these races (I know, it seems so early) and see what names you might expect to challenge incumbents -- and take over some empty seats.
In 2014, the statewide races will be up for grabs. Gov. Susana Martinez will face reelection, as will Secretary of State Dianna Duran. The powerful Attorney General position will be up for grab because the incumbent, Gary King, is term-limited. The position has spring-boarded some AG's to higher office; Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman both served two terms as AG. Others it didn't work so well; Patricia Madrid served two terms in the position as well.
The 2014 elections have already started -- but now that those pesky 2012 elections are out of the way, the attention can turn to these statewide races.
On to the Word:
- District judge and former prosecutor Bob Schwartz died Monday from complications related to a broken leg. Schwartz was one of the more recognizable faces and colorful personalities in Albuquerque politics for years.
He was 62.
- The Albuquerque Journal:
Flamboyant at times and impeccably dressed with a taste for fine suits, the outspoken Schwartz was often the center of attention.
“He needed the limelight, that was part of his persona,” said Joe Lally, who worked for Schwartz in the District Attorney’s Office in the 1990s. “He was not one to be quietly put out to pasture,”
- KOB wrote, "Schwartz was known for his wit, his debating skills and his robust mustache."
- The legislature underwent an election-year facelift says the Associated Press.
There will be at least 15 new senators and 20 or 21 new House members -- depending on a recount in one race-- when lawmakers meet for next year's 60-day session.
In the Senate, the election appears to have added more supporters of the license proposal that has been a centerpiece of the governor's legislative agenda.
- Yup, HD 37 heads to a recount as a dead-heat. The Las Cruces Sun-News:
- Meanwhile, the Attorney General's office says it will investigate the long lines in Rio Rancho on election day.
"We are concerned about the possibility of voter suppression in this instance. We are also very concerned about allegations of voter suppresion [sic] prior to the election. we are working to find out what happened in Rio Rancho and to make sure it doesn't happen again," King said.New Mexico, the state's 3rd-most populous city, had just five voting locations.
- Steve Terrell writes of the AG's investigation:
However, in the case of Rio Rancho, the charge of “voter suppression” has come from Republicans and conservatives.
A page on the Rio Rancho Tea Party website titled “Rio Rancho: Voter Suppression” says, “Hundreds, possibly thousands, left the polling areas because of the wait; parents having to pick up kids from school, the elderly who couldn’t endure the wait, employees with only a two-hour window to be away from work, and many more were affected by this debacle.”
- The Albuquerque Journal:
A county spokesman has said the county asked the secretary of state for more machines before the election but was told there was no funding. The Secretary of State’s Office denies receiving a request for more equipment.
Outraged voters complained of long waits, and some said they gave up and left before voting. Some Rio Rancho Republicans have alleged it was an attempt at voter suppression.
- The New Mexico VA Health Care System has no inpatient beds for veterans suffering from PTSD. Very important piece from the Albuquerque Journal.
- Republicans who make up a majority of the Albuquerque city council (and will likely have a super-majority soon) have though better of trying to overturn the minimum wage increase that passed very easily -- with north of 65 percent of the vote.
Another probable roadblock: the Mayor of Albuquerque would have to sign off on it, and Richard Berry, appearing on Sunday morning's "Eye on New Mexico" program, did not sound like a man who's ready to do that.
"I think it was well-intentioned," Mayor Berry said. "I think the voters of Albuquerque want their brothers and sisters to do well, so it passed, and once again our boss said 'yes' so we move forward."
- Jay McCleskey had the spotlight on New Mexico In Focus on Friday. Democrats get their chance this week, as Democratic Party of New Mexico chairman Javier Gonzalez will speak about the elections.
The fact that McCleskey was chosen to represent Republicans shows the way the balance of power has shifted among Republicans in the state from the party to McCleskey and his outside groups. It is much like on the federal level, where Karl Rove got more attention from running American Crossroads than Reince Preibus did for running the Republican National Committee.
- Milan Simonich looks at social promotion as a key issue for the 2013 session.
- The GOP polls weren't just wrong in New Mexico, they were wrong all over, Politico finds.
Romney pollster Neil Newhouse and other members of his firm, Public Opinion Strategies, declined or did not respond to requests for comment on the record. In addition to polls for Romney, one POS poll that drew notice late in the election showed former New Mexico Rep. Heather Wilson ahead by 1 in the state’s Senate race; she lost by 6 points.This is why you must take any internal polls with a grain of salt -- campaigns won't release anything that is bad news for their campaign.
Several Republicans pointed out that the surveys released for public consumption by GOP groups — or shared with Romney donors by Newhouse and others — may only have represented the most optimistic end of internal polling. It’s standard for campaigns to work through multiple potential turnout scenarios to make sure they’re not caught off guard on Election Day.
- Sen. Tom Udall's efforts to reform the filibuster in the Senate getting support from the New York Times -- again.
The proposal made by Mr. Udall and Mr. Merkley last year, which we strongly supported, would have preserved the filibuster but made it much harder to use. Rather than allow a single senator to raise an objection that triggered a 60-vote requirement, their plan would require 10 signatures to start a filibuster and would then force an increasingly large group of members to speak continuously on the floor to keep it going. Senators could not hide in cloakrooms but would have to face the public on camera to hold up a judge’s confirmation, a budget resolution or a bill.
- Busy day of interim legislative hearings today.
The Land Grant Committee meets in the Roundhouse today.
The Legislative Education Study Committee meets today through Friday in the Roundhouse.
The Legislative Finance Committee meets today through Friday in the Roundhouse as well.
- Want to join the Alamogordo City Commission in District 6? Friday is your last day to throw your hat in the ring.
- One reason Obama won? CNN looks at the "Blue wall" -- 18 states totaling 242 electoral votes that have went to the Democratic candidate in six straight elections. New Mexico has went for Democrats in just two-straight elections, but Obama carried New Mexico by 15 percent in 2008 and 10 percent in 2010.
- Several people appealed the U.S. Forest Service's approval of an expansion of Taos Ski Valley.
Acting forest supervisor Diana Trujillo signed a record of decision allowing Phase 1 projects under the Ski Valley’s Master Development Plan to go forward. They include replacing several lifts, adding lifts to Kachina Peak and the West Basin, thinning about 72 acres for two new gladed areas, adding a lift-served mountain bike trail, developing a snowtubing center, constructing a snowshoeing “adventure center” and reconfiguring parking lots.
- Meanwhile, ski areas are making snow, the Santa Fe New Mexican finds.
- Albuquerque's bus ridership is hitting record-highs.
City buses and vans handled 1.2 million passenger boardings that month – a 10 percent increase over October 2011. For the calendar year, Albuquerque’s transit ridership is up about 5 percent so far.
Setting records isn’t unusual at the Transit Department. The previous monthly record was set just two months ago, in August.
- Sharon Faulkner, a Portales resident, is very angry at the election results.
I must also say that as a middle class voter, I don’t recall “dreaming of millions,” just the fighting chance to restore our Judeo-Christian Democratic Republic with a party that will not trample the Constitution or pick our pockets to buy votes with.
I am proud of Mitt Romney and the Republicans. You did great guys, but in a slave dictatorship you couldn’t win.
- New Mexico residents have the lowest average amount of money in their bank accounts. For me, uh, no comment.
- The oldest survivor of the Bataan Death March passed away at 99.
Virgil Wallace was buried with full military honors Monday afternoon in Tatum, according to officials with the New Mexico Department of Veterans' Services. He died last week in Idalou, Texas.