The Bill Richardson factor?

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Joe Monahan has a report on the Dem. Attorney General race, and the impact Bill Richardson may have had on the contest:

It’s no surprise. One King operative asserted that “the Governor’s fingerprints were all over Geno’s campaign and we know it.” Geno, of course, being Geno Zamora the 36 year old Santa Fe attorney who was making his first run for office but was turned back by a King landslide.

Pointedly, King set up a campaign party Election Night separate from the Democratic Party’s at the ABQ Hilton and joined the Dems only to make the TV newscasts. Was King already showing his “independence” from the Big Bill controlled Dems. Or am I reading too much into this?

“Joe, You are getting the point. Gary is a Democrat, but he is going to emphasize his independence in this campaign,” relayed our operative who said Zamora was beat, in part, because he became known as “the Governor’s boy.”

Meanwhile, down the Rio Grande in Las Cruces, Heath Haussaman wonders if E. Shirley Baca lost her the nomination for Public Regulation Commission in part because she didn’t have the support of Richardson:

On the Democrat side, incumbent E. Shirley Baca was trounced by challenger Sandy Jones in her home county of Doña Ana. That ensured Jones the victory, even though voters in the rest of the 11-county district were split more evenly between the two candidates.

Why did this happen? Democrats in Doña Ana County know Baca well. She’s been around a long time. It appears she lost much of her hometown support after last year’s marijuana arrest (the charges were later dropped) and other controversies that captured headlines. She also lost the support of the governor.

So, how did that dynamic play out in Grant County? Let’s look at the AG race first:

Geno Zamora 1286 33.6%
Lemuel Martinez 776 20.3%
Gary King 1768 46.2%

King definitely continued his landslide effort here, but not to the degree as in other counties. Fifty-five percent of Doña Ana County voters cast ballots for King. The PRC race shows less of a connection, because Baca carried Grant County but lost Doña Ana by a 60/40 ratio.

Meanwhile, 3266 Grant County Dems voted for Richardson. The race generating the most votes, however, was the one for magistrate judge, division II. Hector Grijalva walked away from the four others seeking the seat, but, all told, some 3996 people voted in the race. That means about 18.3 percent of the Dems who voted in the magistrate race chose not to vote for Richardson.

Perhaps he was a factor after all…

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