Saturday, June 16, 2012

NM AG King Asked To Investigate PED’S Larry Behren's Email to Political Director Jay McCleskey

Using our tax dollars Governor Susana Martinez uses her senior administrative staff in the Public Education Dept. as her own private work force for political gain in the state. Or she is using her political office and our public workers to push her political agenda of busting unions, and blaming teachers and dividing teachers, or worse things like blackmailing the teachers for their own job protection. Anything can be fair game for our Governor Martinez, after all we saw her go after her own Repub. Legislators who did not agree with her fully. So one could expect the same kind of strong arming will go on with the already battered down teachers across the state.

Bear in mind this all comes from a Governor who ran on no corruption and restoring trust in the state government. Attorney General King should pick this matter up and dig into it, there is no automatic entitlement for any elected officials at any level.

ISPAC has broke and researched much of this story, Steve Terrell of the Santa Fe New Mexican was the first to pick it up, read Steve's article here.

Press release below from the Senate Democrats.

Senate Rules Committee Chairman Linda M. Lopez and House Education Committee Chairman Rick Miera have asked Attorney General Gary King to open an investigation into possible violations of the New Mexico Government Conduct Act by high government officials, including the Governor and her top political advisor. The request is in response to an email sent from Public Education Department (PED) spokesman Larry Behren’s private e-mail account to Governor Susana Martinez’ Political Director Jay McCleskey. The e-mail was also sent to the Governor’s Chief of Staff Keith Gardner and her spokesman Scott Darnell, using their private email accounts at the Governor’s Political Action Committee, and copied to PED Secretary designate Hanna Skandera and her Chief of Staff, also on their private e-mail accounts. According to the e-mail, and reports in the Santa Fe New Mexican and Albuquerque Journal, PED’s Information Technology Division and budget staff compiled a list of all New Mexico teachers that contained their e-mail accounts, a list of which school districts have union contracts, and another list of nonunion teachers' emails.

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Email above from Behren to McCleskey

“It is very clear from this e-mail that government employees were ordered to spend their time and state tax dollars on behalf of the Governor’s private political consultant,” said Senate Rules Committee Chairman Linda M. Lopez. “Use of government resources for political purposes is strictly forbidden under the Government Conduct Act.”

“Today we are asking the Attorney General to investigate violations of state law by what can only be described as a Who’s Who of New Mexico’s most powerful government officials,” said House Education Committee Chairman Rick Miera. “The Governor’s creation of a list of union teachers versus non-union teachers, using state resources, is a divisive act that will create discord among our state educators at a time when we should all be working together to improve our educational system.”

“There is no doubt in my mind,” said Senator Lopez, “that these data bases developed by PED employees is intended for the Republican Super PACs, who will use them to anonymously inundate our hardworking educators’ school e-mail accounts with mountains of ugly political spam. We are further asking that Governor Martinez direct her Political Manager to immediately put a halt to this activity.”

Attached is the letter that was sent to Attorney General King.

June 16, 2012 at 06:53 AM in Linda Lopez, Susana Martinez, Transparency, Unions | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, July 08, 2011

7/16: Dem Women of New Mexico Host Redistricting Workshop with Sen. Linda Lopez

6a00d834519ed469e20120a51ec046970b-115wi On Saturday, July 16, from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, the Democratic Women of New Mexico in CD1 will host a Redistricting Workshop in Room 2401 at the UNM Law School located at 1117 Stanford NE in Albuquerque. The workshop presenter will be State Senator Linda Lopez, who is the Co-Chair of the Legislative Redistricting Committee. Free. All are welcome to attend.

July 8, 2011 at 12:15 PM in Democratic Party, Events, Linda Lopez, Redistricting | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Secretive Climate Change Denier Harrison Schmitt Forced to Withdraw as NM Energy Sec. Nominee

HarrisonSchmitt
Harrison Schmitt (c) at 2/3 Senate Finance Committee hearing

What a fiasco. Early this evening, Republican Governor Susana Martinez was forced to give up one of her key cabinet nominations after he refused to submit to a background check required of all cabinet nominees by the New Mexico Senate.

LindaLopezCr Controversial climate change denier, former astronaut and congressman, Harrison Schmitt -- who has equated environmentalists with "communists" -- had been tapped to serve as Martinez's Secretary of New Mexico's Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD). He withdrew his name from consideration after Senate Rules Committee Chair Linda Lopez (right) announced her opposition to his confirmation earlier today saying, "At this time, Mr. Schmitt’s refusal to comply with the background check process has left me with no choice but to oppose his confirmation."

Martinez issued the following statement in response to the snafu:

“Senator Schmitt is a former NASA astronaut who underwent a complete background check by the Department of Public Safety as part of his nomination process.

“Senator Schmitt was willing to allow a private investigator access to his personal information, but he was not willing to waive that investigator’s liability for any improper actions or use of that information. While one can understand Senator Schmitt’s concerns, complying with the Legislature’s request is necessary to restore public confidence in state government. That’s why I am requiring all of my cabinet secretary designees to comply with that request and this has led to Senator Schmitt withdrawing his nomination. 

“I wish Senator Schmitt the best in his future endeavors and I will work swiftly to find a qualified replacement to lead New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.”

SMartinezCr According to reporter Steve Terrell, Gov. Martinez responded to a question about this afternoon's revelation that Schmitt had requested a meeting with Sen. Linda Lopez and informed her he wouldn't comply with the required background check by saying she'd just found out about it a few minutes beforehand. The meeting between Schmitt and Lopez had taken place three days earlier, but Schmitt evidently had never mentioned his refusal to comply to the governor. Or else Martinez knew about it but figured he could get away with it, Schmitt being a famous former moonwalker and all. No dice.

You'd think Gov. Martinez and Schmitt would have worked all this out weeks ago, when Schmitt was first named as the EMNRD Secretary-designee. Very telling as to the inexperience and disorganization of Susana and her staffers in the new administration. This will definitely be considered as a public pratfall marking a less than professional start in Martinez's first statewide office.

Sen. Lopez described the background check as an "extensive review that includes a search for any prior criminal convictions and of the Federal Civil Court Records; verification of appointees’ assertions related to financial circumstances or improprieties such as bankruptcies, tax liens, and outstanding loans; and a review of disclosure statements related to potential conflicts of interest and ownership in business entities." Who knows what Schmitt is so intent on hiding.

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Schmitt at SFC

Schmitt had already attended one legislative hearing as EMNRD Secretary-designee -- a preliminary budget discussion before the Senate Finance Committee on February 3rd. Oddly enough given Gov. Martinez's insistence on making further cuts to state government rather than raising revenues, Schmitt expressed concerns at the hearing that his department appeared to be understaffed. No kidding.

DPNM Chair Javier Gonzales had this to say about Martinez's latest misstep: “From Harrison Schmitt refusing to submit to a basic background check and withdrawing his nomination to the increasing criticism of her handling of a gas crisis that left thousands of people in the cold, New Mexicans are starting to wonder just what kind of leadership they’re getting with this new governor."

You might say.

LindaLopezBoots
Sen. Linda Lopez wears boots:
These boots are made for walkin' and one of these days ...

All photos by M.E. Broderick.

February 10, 2011 at 08:22 PM in Democratic Party, Energy, Linda Lopez, NM Legislature 2011, Science, Susana Martinez, Transparency | Permalink | Comments (7)

NM Senate Rules Chair Linda Lopez Announces Her Opposition to Appointment of Harrison Schmitt as EMNRD Secretary

SLOPEBravo! What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Rules are rules and requirements are requirements. State Senator Linda Lopez, who chairs the New Mexico Senate Rules Committee, released a statement today explaining that the refusal of Gov. Susana Martinez's Secretary Designate of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD), Harrison Schmitt, to submit to a required background check has left her no choice but to oppose his confirmation:

"Three days ago, at his request, I met with the Secretary Designate of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, Harrison Schmitt. Mr. Schmitt’s reason for requesting the meeting was to inform me of his refusal to allow a Senate conferee background check, which is a check all designated cabinet secretaries and high level appointed officials undergo as part of the Senate’s confirmation process.

"First, I sympathize with Mr. Schmitt’s and all conferees’ discomfort when it comes to the background check process. It is an extensive review that includes a search for any prior criminal convictions and of the Federal Civil Court Records; verification of appointees’ assertions related to financial circumstances or improprieties such as bankruptcies, tax liens, and outstanding loans; and a review of disclosure statements related to potential conflicts of interest and ownership in business entities.

"However, the New Mexico State Senate is constitutionally charged with confirming top state government officials because of the tremendous influence and authority and power provided to those individuals in their official government capacity. The forty or so individuals we confirm to these top positions are responsible for expenditures in the billions of dollars, investing the state’s multi-billion dollar pension funds, and promulgating regulations that impact citizens across the entire state of New Mexico.

"The New Mexico Senate adopted background checks in 2007. They are part of a procedure that all high-level appointees must undergo as they put themselves forward into positions of public service and public trust. The review process is in place to protect the public and to provide the citizens of our state with an increased sense of confidence in their government. As such, there can be no exceptions to the background review process.

"At the Senate Rules Committee hearing on Monday, February 14, we will discuss Mr. Schmitt’s refusal to adhere to the confirmation process. This will not be a hearing of Mr. Schmitt’s qualifications for service, nor to receive public input related to his appointment.

"At this time, Mr. Schmitt’s refusal to comply with the background check process has left me with no choice but to oppose his confirmation."

One has to wonder what kind of personal financial data Schmitt has decided must be kept hidden from the committee and New Mexicans. There is certainly room for the existence of numerous potential financial and other conflicts of interest in the areas that come under the purview of the EMNRD, as well as state government generally, for someone who has been involved with the for-profit sector in similar areas, as Schmitt has been.

Just one example we know something about:

NASA will launch the next lunar robotic mission to the moon from the eastern shore of Virginia at the commercial space launch pad of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island or 'Space Island' the NewSpacers are becoming prone to say. The LADEE spacecraft will be placed in orbit around the moon to explore the faint atmosphere aboard rocket built by Orbital Sciences Corporation - which Schmitt serves on the governing board of directors. Standby for lunar launch in 2012 - a first in Virginia! [emphasis added]

Take Action: You might want to contact Sen. Lopez to thank her for standing up for required transparency rules in the appointment process and urge other members of Senate Rules Committee to do the same.

February 10, 2011 at 02:40 PM in Energy, Linda Lopez, NM Legislature 2011, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

House and Senate Dems Respond to Susana Martinez NM State of State Address

Not long after Republican Governor Susana Martinez finished her first State of the State address to a joint session of the New Mexico legislature this afternoon, House and Senate Democrats called a press conference at the Roundhouse to make a statement in response to the speech. Several Dem lawmakers also took questions. I wasn't there, but a Tweet by @Cocolaboca noted that, "Senator Linda Lopez questioned about the Gov's appointments: "We're going to have a fun day in Senate Rules." I like it.

The Majority lawmakers also released the following written statement containing their prepared remarks:

Senate and House Majority
Response to State of State Address
Sen. Linda Lopez (D-Albuquerque)
Rep. Rhonda S. King (D-Stanley)

We appreciate the issues that Governor Martinez highlighted in her first State of the State address. Many of these issues are near and dear to us and our constituents as well. The new challenge before the governor and the legislature is finding a way to meet the needs of our state that is fair to all its citizens.

Legislators from 112 distinct districts around the state join together representing the many views and concerns that together make us one. Every year, the Legislature convenes to carry out the will of the people of New Mexico. We set priorities, pass laws and seek to represent our constituents to the best of our ability.

It’s our duty. And it is the governor’s duty. It’s the duty of both the legislature and the executive to not put the special interests ahead of the common good.

We agree with Governor Martinez’s call for action on government efficiency, transparency, and creating jobs. We also agree that more must be done to ensure that every child leaves the third-grade able to read.

And we hope the governor acknowledges all of the hard work we have done in the past few years. We have provided a solid foundation with significant improvements to the educational system and with legislation that fosters economic growth. We hope she will work with us to build on this foundation so that we can continue to move New Mexico forward.

In the past few years we’ve made sure that our most vulnerable citizens are taken care of during these challenging financial times while increasing teacher pay and maintaining classroom budgets so New Mexico’s children do not falter. Times remain challenging and people still need help.

And programs that work need to be considered for preservation because they help people.

We will continue to support small businesses and job growth. We passed the Small Business Regulatory Reform Act in 2005. We recognize that small businesses are the economic engine of many of our communities across New Mexico.

We will continue to promote the value of a child’s education. We believe public education is not only a right; it’s a promise to our children and grandchildren. We must make sure all our children have the opportunity to succeed.

We must not forget the value of our community colleges and branch campuses. We understand how important these institutions are to New Mexico. They provide high-wage jobs in our communities and they also provide the opportunity for our citizens to receive training to increase job skills that they might not otherwise have access to.

Finally, we will continue to support the responsible development of our state’s natural resources. Job creation and the protection of the natural resources can work hand and hand.

There are -- and will be -- legitimate differences. And when those differences emerge, we will not be afraid to stand up for our constituents. And we know, that we too, have to find a common ground in order to keep New Mexico moving forward.

We pledge to work with the new governor to get things done, achieve these goals and keep our state growing.

We pledge this because the people of New Mexico deserve nothing less.

We wish the new administration well. And we look forward to working with the executive branch to meet the needs of our state during these challenging times. We hope to provide New Mexicans with a balanced budget that supports education, promotes job growth, and preserves programs that serve our most vulnerable citizens.

Thank you.

January 18, 2011 at 05:27 PM in Democratic Party, Economy, Populism, Linda Lopez, NM Legislature 2011, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

(Updates x 2) Robo-Call From "Democrats for Better Government" Bashes Brian Colón

Update Early Monday morning 1:20 AM: I finally spoke with Joe Campos earlier tonight, after we returned from a day in the mountains. He flatly denied that he was behind the robo-call, and said he had never done negative campaigning and never would. We spoke for about an hour about a variety of topics. There is, of course, no way to know who is telling the truth and who isn't in the current situation. In my post, I relayed what I knew and tried to reason who might gain from conducting such a robo-call, and who wouldn't. I believe that was a valid approach. I also think that every politician is capable of negative campaigning depending on the circumstance, especially in a hotly contest race. Politicos aren't saints.

I am still very angry and hurt about the use of my civil rights as a wedge issue in the LG race. As most Democrats are aware, there is a segment of our party that believes LGBT people don't deserve equal rights under civil law, so there is always an opportunity for candidates to pander to that segment to try and gain votes. This must stop. Wherever and whenever I come across evidence of the use of that tactic, I will do the same thing I did in this instance -- try to discover and logically consider who might be doing it. I stand by how I went about it this time, and I will do it again.

One more thing. Joe Campos told me that he is not for full marriage rights for same-sex couples. He said he supports civil unions for all and believes only hetero couples should be "married" because that is a church sacrament. I asked him what it says on the license or certificate when a couple gets married at a drive-thru quickie marriage place in Las Vegas, or before a justice of the peace, for example, and he said he didn't know. I know: it says marriage license or marriage certificate, and no church sacrament is required.
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Update 10:24 AM Sunday: FYI, still no response to our message left on the personal cell phone of Joe Campos yesterday afternoon. No other communication has been received from his campaign about this matter.
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About 2:15 PM today, Mary Ellen and I got a robo-call from an outfit identifying itself as "Democrats for Better Government." We have since heard that many other Dems are getting the same call, all over the state.

The call was clearly aimed at destroying the reputation of Brian Colón, a Democratic primary candidate for lieutenant governor in New Mexico. Saying Brian was "bad for Democrats and bad for New Mexico," the female voice went on to provide exaggerated, distorted and incorrect information about Colón. It touched on his tenure as DPNM Chair, the presidential caucus and other aspects of Colón's career. It was very nasty.

At one point it strongly suggested that Brian may have stolen money from Moving America Forward, the foundation that was set up to register minority voters for which Colón served as Treasurer. The voice rambled on using charged language, trying to paint Colón as a bumbler, a crook and a crony -- all of this most likely coming from the campaign of one of the other Democratic candidates for lt. governor.

Then, horror of horrors, it accused Colón of supporting marriage equality. In fact, Brian Colón has been on the record for some time as being supportive of marriage equality. Shocker.

Candidate Contact
I want everyone to know that I received a personal phone call this afternoon from Lawrence Rael, who had heard about the call. Mr. Rael convincingly explained that he would never conduct such a call or allow such a call to be conducted on his behalf as part of his campaign. He said he considered what was said in the call as being "clearly out of bounds." He also said he had talked to Brian Colón via phone and told him the same thing. I believe Mr. Rael. From observing Lawrence and his campaign for many months now, I don't believe it's his style, and I don't believe he needs to stoop that low to get significant support from Democrats. He took the initiative to call both Colón and I when he heard about the call. 

I have also left a message on the cell phone of Joe Campos explaining the situation and requesting a call back because I wanted to get his reaction before I posted on this. So far, no response. It's been a couple hours.

I left a message at Jerry Ortiz y Pino's campaign office too, but have gotten no reply yet. I find it hard to believe that Sen. Ortiz y Pino would use the marriage equality issue to attack Brian Colón because Jerry has long supported marriage equality. Of course you never know, and it would be helpful to hear from Jerry. I didn't call Sen. Linda Lopez because she has long been a champion for LGBT rights and I don't think her campaign has the money to do this anyway. She is so far behind in the race that it wouldn't help, regardless.

Using LGBT Rights as a Wedge
Despite the fact that marriage equality is supported by an official, approved resolution of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, some Dems still like to use the issue as a wedge -- a political football -- as bait to attract the votes of conservatives of both parties. You know, give a nudge and wink and use language that suggests that you, too, think that LGBT New Mexicans, like Mary Ellen and I, should SFU, accept second class citizenship and abide by the rules of the Catholic Bishops. You know, because civil law should match the dictums of the Church. Oh, hardee har har, those sicko gays!

That there's a strong possibility that a Dem LG candidate used a robo-call to stir up more bigotry against LGBT folks and those who support us makes my stomach turn -- especially since we know all the candidates on a personal basis, at least to some extent. At the very least, we know what they all tell us about LGBT rights when we ask about them. However, given the robo-call contents, we have some idea what at least one of them is saying behind our backs, for expedient political gains.

The Target Demographic
Clearly, the message was crafted to try and define Colón as a puppet under the control of Governor Bill Richardson and to emphasize the point on LGBT equality. Who do you think is the main target audience for these talking points in a Dem primary? I hate to say it, but it's obviously a certain segment of conservative Democrats, many of whom just happen to be Hispanic and/or rural. 

We don't know definitively who is behind today's robo-calls, but I think we need to consider which candidate is most heavily targeting the demographic within the Democratic Party that is most displeased with Governor Richardson and most against any sort of equal rights at all for LGBT New Mexicans. I think there are strong hints in the tenor and content of press releases that emerged this week, including those announcing personal endorsements.

Coincidences?
I'll also note that we received another robo-call about 15 minutes after the call from "Democrats for Good Government." This one featured the voice of former Mayor Martin Chavez praising Jose (not Joe) Campos and urging people to vote for him. Coincidence or a pattern? You decide. Also remember that Mark Fleisher, who was Mayor Chavez's right-hand man, has been running the campaign of Joe Campos for some months. 

The Campos campaign was initially run by Carlos Trujillo, assisted by Santiago Juarez and Michelle Mares. When they left the Campos campaign, Juarez and Mares went to work for the campaign of Dennis W. Montoya, who is challenging Judge Linda Vanzi for New Mexico Court of Appeals. Dennis W. Montoya has been running scandalous public and whisper campaigns against Judge Vanzi using code language that appeals to bigots. All of this doesn't prove anything, of course, but I think it definitely raises suspicions, don't you?

Finally, some are saying the call bashing Colón may have come from Republican interests. This makes no sense to me. Wouldn't they want Colon in the general election so they could use this kind of distorted information against him when it matters most? 

Democrats for Better Government
In the meantime, Tom Solomon, an active Albuquerque Democrat, was so disgusted by the robo-call that he sought to find out who the "Democrats for Good Government" might be. He Googled and found an Indiana organization with that name and sent an email to the designated contact person, named Krista Lockyear. I also have a call into Krista Lockyear. We don't know if the outfit that conducted the robo-calls is hers, or just shares a generic name. 

I'm sure whoever purchased the services of a robo-caller to attack Colon has managed to cover their tracks by passing money off to pay for it to someone hard to connect to the campaign or the candidate. Campaigns don't have to reveal their spending in this period until after the election anyway. The payment to a robo-caller may or may not show up on one of their reports. My guess is that it won't because some innocuous entity or person made the payment.

It pains me to have to write about this call and to contemplate that a Democratic candidate I know and respect may be behind this robo-call attack. It's no fun, but I do intend to get to the bottom of it and let everyone know what I find.

May 22, 2010 at 05:31 PM in 2010 NM Lt. Governor Race, Brian Colon, GLBT Rights, Jerry Ortiz y Pino, Joe Campos, Lawrence Rael, Linda Lopez | Permalink | Comments (63)

Monday, May 10, 2010

5/13 in ABQ: OLÉ to Host Dem Lt. Governor Candidate Forum on Early Childhood Education

Organizers in the Land of Enchantment (OLÉ) Announces:

Lt. Governor Candidates Forum
Early Childhood Education in New Mexico
Sponsored by OLÉ Working Parents Association

Thursday May 13, 2010 – 6:30 PM
Alamosa Community Center
6900 Gonzales Rd. SW (Coors / Bridge)
Albuquerque, NM 87121

New Mexico Democratic Lt. Governor Candidates
Brian Colon
Lawrence Rael
Jose Campos
Jerry Ortiz Y Pino
Linda Lopez
AND
New Mexico Community Members

Candidates will weigh in on New Mexico early childhood education and answer VOTERS' questions. For more information, call the OLÉ office at (505) 796-6544. Check out our new website at www.olenm.org/.

May 10, 2010 at 11:58 AM in 2010 NM Lt. Governor Race, Brian Colon, Children and Families, Education, Events, Jerry Ortiz y Pino, Joe Campos, Lawrence Rael, Linda Lopez | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 12, 2010

LG Candidate Linda Lopez Raises $21,040 Since October, Has $5,366 Cash On Hand

State Senator Linda Lopez, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, raised $21,040 this reporting period and spent $29,354. Her campaign's opening balance was $13,682 and her current cash on hand is $5,366. A total of $6,000 of her donations came from her State Senate Campaign Committee. Click to read her April 12, 2010 report to the Secretary of State.

April 12, 2010 at 10:51 PM in 2010 NM Lt. Governor Race, Linda Lopez | Permalink | Comments (10)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Videos: Lt. Gov. Candidate Speeches at 2010 DPNM Pre-Primary Convention

This another in a series of posts about last weekend's Democratic Pre-Primary Convention. We've only got a few more posts to go. Phew! Click to see the whole series of posts or my earlier report with a photo slide show of the Lt. Governor candidates at the Convention.

Here's a collection of videos covering the appearances of the five Democratic candidates for Lieutenant Governor during their nominations at the Democratic Party of New Mexico's 2010 Pre-Primary Convention last Saturday, March 13, at Buffalo Thunder Resort in Pojoaque. They're in the order that was followed at the event.


Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino arrival and speech


Cheering for Joe Campos and nominating speeches


Joe Campos gives acceptance speech


Brian Colon arrival and acceptance speech


Sen. Linda Lopez accepts nomination


Nominating speeches for Lawrence Rael and arrival onstage


Lawrence Rael's speech accepting nomination

All videos by M.E. Broderick. More usable video was obtained of some candidates than others due to a variety of factors beyond our control.

March 19, 2010 at 12:19 PM in 2010 DPNM Pre-Primary Convention, 2010 NM Lt. Governor Race, Brian Colon, Democratic Party, Jerry Ortiz y Pino, Joe Campos, Lawrence Rael, Linda Lopez | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Photos Part 2: Lt. Governor Contest, DPNM Pre-Primary Convention 2010

BrianColonConventionSpeechCr
Brian Colón was the top vote getter with 34.5% and gave a fiery speech accepting the nomination

This is one of a series of posts about this weekend's Democratic Pre-Primary Convention. Check back for more photos, videos and commentary on all the action as we get everything processed and organized. Click to see the whole series of posts.

This year, Democrats fielded five primary candidates for Lieutenant Governor and the competition for delegates was spirited. Rep. Joe Campos, Brian Colón, Sen. Linda Lopez, Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino and Lawrence Rael participated in a number of candidate forums and debates and worked hard to attract supporters, get them elected as delegates and convince State Central Committee members to get on board.

With two large video screens bracketing the stage and animated, sign-wielding campaigners leaping in the aisles or hopping up onto the platform, there were numerous colorful and noisy tableaux of the political kind for delegates to savor. We had family members, former teachers, energetic supporters dressed in all kinds of get-ups, fellow politicos and more joining in the nominating spectacles.

Lawrence Rael's supporters marched onstage blowing train whistles. Jerry Ortiz y Pino had almost all of his supporters dance up the aisles and try to get on stage with him, all at once. Joe Campos filled the stage with friends and followers with his family front and center. Brian Colón provided a contrast by commanding the stage on his own, with hundreds of cheering supporters all over the hall. Linda Lopez concentrated on speech, emphasizing her "passion and hunger for politics." You can get a taste of what went on in the photo slideshow below:


Click for larger version or photo album

When all was said and done, only two candidates got the 20% needed to get on the primary ballot without having to get more petition signatures according to the machine count and a later review. The latest results are the product of a ballot review (or preliminary recount) performed because some of the candidates were so close to getting the 20% needed to get on the primary ballot, although the review didn't seem to change things much on that score:

Lt. Governor
Total votes: 1711
Gerald Ortiz y Pino: 323 votes, 18.87%
Jose Campos: 337 votes, 19.69%
Brian Colón: 591 votes, 34.54%
Linda Lopez: 81 votes, 4.73%
Lawrence Rael: 379 votes, 22.15%

We understand that a formal recount for certification will start tomorrow morning at the DPNM office, so we'll see how that goes.

It was a heartbreaker for Joe Campos, his family and all his supporters. In the machine tally, he was two tenths of a percent away from 20% -- at least given how the figures were rounded. If you looked at it another way, he had the exact number of votes needed -- but the official rules dictated otherwise. Ortiz y Pino was also very close to 20%. Indications are that all candidates under 20% will try to get the signatures they need by March 31 to get onto the ballot despite the Party vote.

Colón Comments
Brian Colón's campaign released a statement saying he had "solidified his place as the front runner."

"I'm honored by this nomination and humbled that so many Democrats from all corners of New Mexico are supporting our campaign because they share my belief that Government should be in the business of helping people," Colón said. "Democratic values are much more than cheap campaign rhetoric. They make a difference in people's lives. I know, because I've lived those values," Colón continued.

"Growing up I learned that we help our neighbors when they're down. We make sure every child gets a good education. And if somebody's sick, they get the best health care available. That's what the Democratic Party stands for and that's why I'm working so hard to be Diane Denish's running mate for Lieutenant Governor," Colón added.

Rael Comments
Lawrence Rael released a statement saying he had "strong support" from delegates, that "reflected a growing sentiment that Rael is the best complement for Diane Denish on the Democratic ticket."

“I’m pleased that New Mexicans are responding to the many things we have accomplished together during my 25 years of public service,” Rael said. “My experiences, coupled with Diane Denish’s leadership, are key to moving our state forward.”

“It’s really remarkable that the other four candidates in this race have all run for office before and have been working on the convention delegates for years,” said Rael campaign manager John Gerhart. “We’re pleased that people have been won over this quickly to Lawrence and his candidacy. We’re really looking forward to the primary campaign.”

Campos Comments
The Campos campaign hasn't released a formal statement, but Joe wrote these comments on his Facebook page:

"Thanks to our many friends & supporters. We fell just short of our goal of 20% of the 1776 votes - got 355, needed 355.2. This is amazing considering the time dedicated to the legis. session and special session midcampaign. I'm overwhelmed w/ your support & desire to go on with the campaign. The actual vote recount is on but regardless of the outcome WE'RE GOING FOR IT! Go Team Campos! Go Diane Denish!"

Ortiz y Pino Comments
On Monday, Jerry Ortiz y Pino sent an email message to supporters that said, in part:

"We will start gathering additional signatures on petition forms and submit them by the deadline in ten days. And on with the campaign! Now we have the toughest part of the race, but the one that we all know is the most crucial: getting our message out to the voters and then getting those voters out to the polls on June 1.

"... If we don't get a big turnout of the left wing of the Party, it will be very hard for Diane to win. None of the other candidates for the Lt. Governor nomination have a message that will excite the left wing."

Lopez Comments
I haven't seen any statement released by the campaign of Sen. Linda Lopez.

March 14, 2010 at 11:46 PM in 2010 DPNM Pre-Primary Convention, 2010 NM Lt. Governor Race, Brian Colon, Democratic Party, Jerry Ortiz y Pino, Joe Campos, Lawrence Rael, Linda Lopez | Permalink | Comments (16)

(Updated) Back from the DPNM Pre-Primary Convention: Down from the Mountains and Through the Snow

Update: The preliminary hand recount is over and here are the latest results for the Lt. Gov. race:

  • Brian Colon- 591 delegate votes, 34.54%
  • Lawrence Rael- 379, 22.15%
  • Joe Campos- 337, 19.69%
  • Jerry Ortiz y Pino 323, 18.87%
  • Linda Lopez 81, 4.73%

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VoteBlueCr We're back in Albuquerque after The-Best-New-Mexico-Democratic-Convention-Ever. Energy, enthusiasm and Democrats galore all weekend at Buffalo Thunder. We drove back late this morning through a blowing snowstorm that turned into wind and rain that turned into spectacular cloud formations all around with big sunbeams breaking through and spotlighting the snow-sprinkled mountains surrounding us. We're in a great mood and we'll be working hard to get all our photos, videos and commentary ready for publication but, at the moment, we're eating breakfast burritos and catching our breath.

If you haven't yet seen the results of the three main contested races, here they are:

Lieutenant Governor

  • Brian Colón, 34.3 percent*
  • Lawrence Rael, 21.9 percent*
  • Joe Campos, 19.9 percent
  • Jerry Ortiz y Pino, 18.6 percent
  • Linda Lopez, 5 percent

Land Commissioner

  • Ray Powell, 44.4 percent*
  • Harry Montoya, 19.3 percent
  • Sandy Jones, 18.6 percent
  • Mike Anaya, 17.6 percent

NM Court of Appeals

  • Judge Linda M. Vanzi 72.32*
  • Dennis W. Montoya 27.68*

* = qualified for primary ballot without the need to submit additional signatures. The rest will have to submit more signatures within 10 days.

NOTE: Joe Campos missed the ballot cutoff by one vote, or he made the number needed exactly -- depending on how certain percentages are handled. He and Harry Montoya and Sandy Jones each called for a recount, which reportedly is still ongoing.

I'll be back soon with more, but at this point we want to extend big thanks for a job well done and so much hard work to Chairman Javier Gonzales and all of the Party officers, as well as the staff and volunteers of the Democratic Party of New Mexico! This was one for the history books in more ways than one. Gracias and congratulations to all involved!

March 14, 2010 at 01:48 PM in 2010 DPNM Pre-Primary Convention, 2010 Judicial Races, 2010 NM Land Commissioner Race, 2010 NM Lt. Governor Race, Brian Colon, Democratic Party, Jerry Ortiz y Pino, Joe Campos, Lawrence Rael, Linda Lopez | Permalink | Comments (22)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

DFA-DFNM Dem LG Candidate Debate: Honesty and Openness in Government

Here's another follow up to my posts yesterday and Monday on Saturday's DFA-DFNM debate for Democratic lieutenant governor candidates at UNM Law School.

Below are videos of Rep. Joe Campos, Brian Colon, Sen. Linda Lopez, Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino and Lawrence Rael answering a question from the audience about restoring honesty and openness to government.


Sen. Linda Lopez (L); Rep. Joe Campos (R)


Brian Colon (L); Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino (R)


Lawrence Rael

March 10, 2010 at 04:07 PM in 2010 NM Lt. Governor Race, Brian Colon, DFA, DFNM - Albq, Ethics & Campaign Reform, Jerry Ortiz y Pino, Joe Campos, Lawrence Rael, Linda Lopez | Permalink | Comments (9)