Candidates Galore! pt. 2

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I attended the Silver City town council meeting tonight, and learned that Municipal Judge Edith Gutierrez will face Benny Montes in the upcoming election. Gutierrez defeated Montes in a special election last year (though the race had a third candidate). By narrowing the field to two, Montes might have a chance.

Incumbent that she is, Gutierrez might find some opposition in her appeal to the council for a higher salary. We’ll see what kind of feedback the councilors get during the next 30 days as we await a vote on the pertinent ordinance: will residents reward Gutierrez for good work done during the last year, or will they recoil at the thought of a higher salary for the position?

Also, contrary to what I wrote this morning, it appears as though both Steve May and Tom Nupp will be unopposed in the election. While WNMU student Serena Murillo indicated to several people (including myself) last night she would run for May’s council seat, she decided to stay out of the race.

We’ll have more in the morning!

Candidates Galore!

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Today is the day to file for candidacy in munipalities in Grant County, and some races are starting to look like they’ll be interesting.

Town Councilor Gary Clauss will face off against Grant County Emergency Manager James Marshall in the contest for Silver City mayor. With Mayor Terry Fortenberry stepping down, for a while it looked like Clauss might have an easy road to City Hall.

But Marshall, while a newcomer to the “elected” political scene, is no lightweight. He knows how to speak with the big boys and girls in Santa Fe, and he’ll likely draw support from the town’s emergency responders and police.

Clauss has his experience on the council going for him, and he’ll find quite a few supporters in the blooming sustainable development community in town. Following a year of high gas prices and harsh criticism when the city and the Southwest Solid Waste Authority stopped recycling glass and plastic, Clauss may have found a message.

In Hurley, mayor David Diaz is stepping down, and so far two residents with considerable experience on that town’s council are vying for the seat. Ray Baca and Manuel Martinez are going after the mayor position. Look for the recent water cutoff situtation to play a role in this one.

I received word last night that Silver City Town Councilor Steve May will not be unopposed in his reelection bid. WNMU senior Serena Murillo has announced her candidacy for May’s seat. Murillo has an uphill battle against May, who has plenty of experience in city government (as one-time mayor and frequent city councilor). If she can turn out the other WNMU students living in that district, and get those discontents to vote against May, she’s got a shot. Turnout will likely be the deciding factor in this race.

Finally, as several people have pointed out, Steve Pearce does have oppostion heading into November. For more on his opponent, Al Kissling, of Las Cruces, check the NM-02 District Blog.

We’ll know more tomorrow and in the coming days, as city clerks give us the goods on who filed for candidacy in their municipalities.

Sittin’ Pretty

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New Mexico Matters gets it right:

SO WHILE DEMS DROOL OVER HEATHER, PEARCE SITS PRETTY. RIGHT?

That’s the gist of it. Nobody has stepped up to go against Pearce, and after the beating he gave King in 2004, I’m not sure why I’m surprised. I guess I have to question the Dems’ motives in not running a candidate, any candidate, against the Congressman from Hobbs. He’s basically being mentored by Richard Pombo, the brains behind the (almost) Great American Land Giveaway of 2005.

So, while the state Dem party is gearing up for the Heather Wilson/Patricia Madrid battle, Pearce is getting a free walk.

Regarding the Cook report linked over at NM Matters: the first reactions I saw over the report (like this one over at Daily Kos) seemed solid. Democrats across the country have an opportunity to pick up House and Senate seats, and maybe even some governor’s mansions. But a sweeping landslide to put Republicans into the minority-side of things in Congress? I doubt it.

Matt over at MyDD, on the other hand, sees some cracks in Cook’s analysis:

I’m not saying that Cook’s current outlook is wrong, because I have no idea. (He did predict Clinton would resign, btw…) What is clear is that on the three hard pieces of data that we have – polling, recruitment, and base level intensity – the Democrats have strong advantages. The map is against us, and that’s what the Republicans are hanging their hats on. The thing about a tidal wave though is that you win in districts that you wouldn’t ordinarily consider competitive – Arizona and Nevada are no longer looking like absolute safe seats for the R’s, transitioning into races in which D’s have a slight outside shot. And 2005 saw Republicans walking into a buzzsaw all over the country.

The electorate is just angry and sullen, so be careful about writing off our chances in taking a chamber back.

Wishful thinking, perhaps, but it might be more plausible if the Democrats were contesting every seat. And that’s certainly yet to happen in New Mexico.

Back Again

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Well, I’ve said it often enough (see the archives), but with the coming elections I think I ought to start blogging again. So much is going on right now that I feel I have to get involved. Since I was called a ‘political junkie‘ by Joe Monahan, I figured I should get with it already. Also, I don’t know how well our part of the state is served as far as blogging is concerned.

I’m not sure how to bring this up with the boss, so I’m going along with the premise that I have been doing this since before I started the job. Actually, that isn’t so much a premise as it is the truth. Still, I worry about what our publisher will say; especially since I don’t think I’m going to be restricting my opinion all that much. However, it seems to me that any Daily Press readers who find their way here will likely appreciate knowing my personal leanings on things, since I plan on staying as objective as possible while writing for the paper. If my publisher has any problems, well, I’ll deal with them later.

So, anyhoo, what is going on? For starters, the folk over at Daily Kos have started a drive to get Sen. Bingaman’s amendment for habeas corpus at Guantanamo Bay. So, do as they say: call your senator.

In other news, two challengers to the Silver City native (Bingaman, that is) recently made campaign stops in Silver City. I’ll get some linkage for my profiles of their visits as soon as I get a chance (I might have to post the stories here). They are definitely different brands of Republicanism. The one, Allen McCulloch, is an engineer-turned-doctor from the Farmington area.

McCulloch’s primary focus seemed to be on education — at least that’s what I gathered from his 30-minute discussion with area Republican supporters. He shocked me by saying he’d agree that “we’re spending billions educating the uneducable.” But, he’s a smart and capable guy, so I think we’ll overlook the rookie moves for now.

His presentation was tailored to rural, southwest New Mexico, and he touched on quite a few things that are important to voters down here: health care, mining, education. He was quick on his feet, providing thoughtful yet concise answers to questions from the audience, and very rarely did he stray from a safe, general message of improved economic, social, and educational opportunity.

David Pfeffer, on the other hand, came off as a more passionate kind of Republican — passionate at least about securing the U.S.-Mexico border, prosecuting the War on Terror, and returning to what he calls “civil discourse.” What struck me as completely strange was how willing he was to disregard that type of discourse. He said Democrats are in “full revolution mode” and wondered when “Christian” became a bad word.

Now, the funniest thing occurred during the Pfeffer meeting. The area Republicans were discussing their young star, Abe Villarael, who is currently editor of The Mustang. The talk turned to the Mustang’s previous editor, his lack of grammar-skills, and in general the poor shape of the newspaper before Villarael took the job.

Of course, that was me they were talking about.

I stuck around for a few more minutes, but I had met with Pfeffer earlier in the day and therefore figured I had enough to write a complete report. After politely excusing myself I headed home.

Regardless of my own personal feelings about the meeting (did they know they were bashing me?), Pfeffer is going to appeal to a different type of person than McCulloch. For somebody who was a Democrat until a year or two ago (note to self: check on that) he seems like a fire-branding neo-conservative.

“The war in Iraq is absolutely the right thing to do,” he said. “Like President Bush said after 9-11: you’re either with us or against us.”

Long story short (you still reading?) I don’t think either of these guys has a shot against Bingaman — he’s untouchable in this state. His approval is up over 60%, and, like Domenici, he’ll probably win until he stops running for office.

Alrighty, plenty late, so I’m outta here. I’ll be back soon — I promise.

Election Results?

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One of my duties as News Director for my radio station is to broadcast election results from the County Clerk’s office as they come in from precints. Tonight I was broadcasting results from the 2005 School Board Election.

It’s been a long night. We only have five “districts” in the entire school distric, and only three school board seats were being contested. However, people in the district with the closest race were told that they couldn’t vote in that district, and instead had to go to another district. The race was decided by a mere 19 votes. The loser was, obviously, quite upset, and will most likely appeal the election.

In another district, one of the candidates filed for candidacy in the wrong district. He didn’t get many votes, but even if he had won he would have been unable to hold the school board seat.

So, out of three school board races, only one went off without a hitch. Wow.

I’m out.