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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Gov. Richardson Releases Statement on NM Dem Prez Caucus

In response to various problems being reported about yesterday's New Mexico Democratic Presidential Preference Caucus, Gov. Bill Richardson released the following statement today:

SANTA FE, NM- New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson today issued the following statement regarding the state's Democratic Presidential caucus.

"I am proud that so many New Mexico Democrats turned out to vote in yesterday's caucus.  The unprecedented interest and activism in the primary process shows that New Mexicans take seriously their important role in choosing the next President.  Make no mistake, New Mexico's 26 delegates matter greatly."

"All things considered, I am profoundly aggravated by the reports that issues and postponements at surveying areas may have shielded individuals from voting. As this nearby race demonstrates each vote is vital, and each vote must tally. Anything less is unsuitable. Likewise the deferral in comes about was to a great degree disillusioning. I host communicated my disappointment to Democratic Get-together Chairman Brian Colon and I revealed to him that I stand prepared to help the gathering in any capacity that I can."

"At the same time, I believe that New Mexico voters- Democrats and Republicans alike- must decide whether they want to preserve their early voice in the process in the future, and what form it should take.  Whatever the decision, we must pledge to voters that future caucuses and primaries are professionally run, inclusive, and provide accurate, timely results."

The Caucus was brought about by the Governor in 2003 to give New Mexico voters a genuine voice in the determination of the gathering candidates - as the state essential decisions are in June- - long after candidates generally have been picked. It has been fiercely fruitful as more than 100,000 Democrats turned out in the primary assembly and 150,000 turned out yesterday. New Mexico Democrats-and Republicans in the event that they pick now have a genuine voice in the designation procedure.

This is a Democratic Party process--not done at taxpayer expense--run by volunteers and funded by the Democratic Party and its supporters.  Democratic voters must recognize that with their new privilege of voting early comes responsibility.  If they want a voice in the process-they need to support the Caucus with their time and financial contributions.

In 2004 Governor Richardson- - through his own endeavors and those of his association - guaranteed a fruitful first assembly - efficient, all around financed, professional. This year, his political association was dedicated to his Presidential run and his own time is presently committed to the Legislature. The New Mexico Democratic Party and New Mexico Democrats were completely in charge of this council without the Governor's chance and his association. In spite of their earnest attempts, the tremendous turnout overpowered Party authorities in a few spots.

February 6, 2008 at 05:55 PM in 2008 Presidential Primary, Democratic Party, Local Politics | Permalink


NEWSFLASH: Bill you should have sent this letter out when you dropped your Presidential bid.

UPDATE: The rank and file has always been willing to help. You only had to ask.

ADDENDUM: Convince Colon to resign for the good of the Party. He clearly isn't up to the job. Heads have to roll or no one will take you serious Bill.

Posted by: | Feb 6, 2008 7:14:59 PM

I must take issue with some of the statements the Governor made in this piece. He casts blame but takes no responsibility. In the first place, there is absolutely no way in the world that 100,000 voters turned out in 2004, because there were only ~30,000 votes cast in Bernalillo County. We planned for a 50% increase, yet we ran out of ballots all over the place.

In the second place, we had far more volunteer support this year than in 2004, and the process was much smoother, at least here in Bernalillo County. 2004 was a complete clusterf*ck, but fewer people were affected. They didn't even try to count the provisional ballots, so of course they had quick results! With over 2000 votes cast in my ward, we almost doubled our turnout. Sure there were very long lines, but that was also true 4 years ago with far fewer voters. This year's caucus was far more efficient, and it was better run by all accounts than caucuses in many other states. We have nothing to be ashamed of.

The problem with the caucus is that the party has no business running an election. Period. It's far too expensive, it burns out the volunteer base, and we only do it once in four years. Heck, we only did it this year because the Governor insisted on it! Casting blame on DPNM Chair Brian Colon is completely unfair. He just did what the Governor wanted. If you want to blame somebody (and I don't), blame the guy whose idea it was and who insisted on it to bolster his Presidential ambitions. One might also blame the weather and the Sandoval County Chair. One voting site for Rio Rancho could easily have been predicted to be a disaster.

All in all, though, IMHO the Democratic Party and its volunteers did a fantastic job in the face of a nearly impossible task. Nobody expected double the turnout, and nobody expected the vote to be so close. The long and short of it is that the party has no business running an election. Let's leave it to the professionals, with the party looking over its shoulders.

I would support moving the primary up to early April, but no sooner. It's too hard on candidates for other offices to run the whole primary process so early.

Posted by: Minor party Official | Feb 6, 2008 7:21:49 PM

One thing that happened in the last 4 years is that since many other states now have earlier Presidential primaries, they notice New Mexico less. That makes less reason for us to have ours so early, so we probably won't do this again.

Do other states with early primaries have their whole primaries then (not just for President)?

Posted by: Michelle Meaders | Feb 6, 2008 11:33:07 PM

Did Colon beat the "Grand Panjandrum" for Student Council President back in high school and now he's trying to get his revenge or something? Where are your personal attacks coming from? You're all over the blogs trying to get Colon fired.

I'd like to know what you did on Caucus Day to help out? Were you volunteering at the polls? Were you trying to improve the situation? Or were just sitting on the side attacking those trying to get the caucus completed? This process requires full participation...from everyone.

Literally thousands of volunteers made the Caucus happen and these people deserve to be praised for taking their own time off of work and volunteering in intense, thankless positions.

At what point do we get to start celebrating the huge Democratic turnout and to ensuring NM puts a Democrat in the White House in 2008?????

Posted by: | Feb 7, 2008 7:55:44 AM

The Grand Panjandrum is not active in the Democratic Party here, obviously doesn't understand what produced the problems and should be ignored.

Brian Colon was stuck with running what was essentially a statewide election with not enough funding, not enough volunteers, little help from the governor or anyone connected to him and only one paid staffer in charge of the process. There are other paid Party staff but, believe it or not, they are busy running the other day to day functions of the Party on a shoestring.

State governments often have problems running elections with high turnout and they have many paid and well trained staff who work all year on the process and have years of experience doing it.

Brian Colon made some mistakes but he did so while trying to undertake the job with not enough funding or help from the Richardson and other bigshots in the Party. Now Richardson puts out a statement taking no responsibility and blaming others. He doesn't even thank the hundreds and hundreds of volunteers who worked to conduct the caucus under bad circumstances. He's just looking our for his own hide as usual.

Posted by: < | Feb 7, 2008 7:58:31 AM

Could Richardson's statement be more self-serving? All he wants to do is cover his ass while he's trying to get a job in Washington. Richardson could care less about the Democratic Party here. He only cares about his political career.

Posted by: coyote | Feb 7, 2008 8:07:31 AM

I too would like to thank the poll volunteers and the 142,000 plus voters who took their jobs seriously, showed up and participated in democracy under trying circumstances.

It is really unfortunate that the Democratic Party was forced to undertake this thankless work by the Governor who insisted on holding an early "Demcratic Caucus" instead of what should have been a billed and run as a State-run Primary in June. The advantage is really that we have some say in the outcome, because by June, the rest of the country has had its say, and the candidates are selected. If the date is to be pushed forward like this, then it should be done with both parties, statewide.

The Democratic Party is not an election-running organization. Anyone who complains about this should be calling their party office or county officials now and offering to help with making the Party better. This armchair quarterbacking is useless for everyone. And pointing fingers at party officials, who are ALL volunteers and have personally donated hundreds of hours just for this one day of blame, I say, thanks! I know everyone did their best.

The blog post has it right, thank you very much.

Posted by: bg | Feb 7, 2008 8:28:12 AM

Bill richardson demonstrated once again his selfish nature. He asked for this caucus and convinced central committee members to vote on it and all of us Cent Com members (including those of us who voted against it) were aware at the time that this was his baby. But the minute it goes bad he puts the blame on someone else. Did the Gov even contribute to the party for the caucus? Did the Gov even show up or contribute to the Party's legislative fund raising dinner?

But this was a perfect storm of sorts and the party dropped the ball too and they shouldn't escape blame. Now we all look foolish on the national stage.

The party needs better administration and hopefully this is a lesson learned.

Posted by: jb | Feb 7, 2008 8:28:52 AM

I'm trying to figure out what I think about all this. I know that ST was embarrassing for New Mexico, but I also knows that Richardson's letter pisses me off. Input welcome: "The More I Learn, The More My Head Aches". Thanks!

Posted by: | Feb 7, 2008 10:02:51 AM

Typical Democrats.
Blame each other.
Stay home in a snit in November..!

Posted by: jed | Feb 7, 2008 2:06:48 PM

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