Thursday, December 01, 2011

Evelyn Madrid Erhard Announces Run for Congress in 2nd District

Evelyn madrid erhardEvelyn Madrid Erhard, a Democrat, formally announces on Wednesday, November 29,2011 her campaign for Congress in New Mexico's second district.

Erhard invites members of the media and the public to a press conference on November 30, 2011 at
MVS Studios, which is located at 535 N Main St; Las Cruces, NM 88001. Participants will begin
gathering at 5:30pm and the event will start at 6:00pm.

During this event Erhard will deliver a speech and answer questions. The media will receive copies of
an additional press release. The campaign website will also be unveiled.

December 1, 2011 at 09:32 AM in Candidates & Races, Las Cruces, NM-02 Congressional Race 2012 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Democrat Evelyn Madrid Erhard Rallies Supporters in Quest for CD 2 Seat

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Contributing writer Stephen Jones checks in with more on-the-ground coverage from Southern New Mexico.

Evelyn Madrid Erhard ramped up her campaign to recapture the 2nd Congressional District on Sunday at the home of Delia Narvaez in Las Cruces. The fundraising house party was one of several planned over the next two months. Erhard, a Democrat who announced her candidacy for Congress a few weeks ago, promises a spirited grassroots campaign to recapture the Congressional seat now held by Steve Pearce (R-CD2). In her remarks to the gathering, Erhard promised a tough issue-oriented campaign that would focus on jobs, strengthening public education, affordable health care, and protecting Social Security and Medicare.

"I am a lifelong New Mexican and have lived in this community for thirty six years. I'm sorry to say that for thirty of those years we have been represented by only two people, Steve Pearce and Joe Skeen, and neither of them has done anything for the people of southern New Mexico," Erhard said. "You know, I also have to say this, because it's true, and because it has a lot to do with why I decided to run for Congress. The Republicans have gotten all these people to be against other people; they pit people against other people, and that is just wrong. You know those Republicans, like us, who are '99%-ers' too, they really need the same things that we need. They really do. So it's sad, really sad, that they fall into the trap of being pitted against other people who are just like themselves," Erhard said.

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"I'm running for Congress because for too long we have been ignored," she said, referring to her opponent, Congressman Pearce. "I've heard people say, 'well, he's tough.' You know he's not tough. He's really just mean," she said, "and there gets to be a point in time, like in a children's story, where the kids get fed up and say 'Boo!' back. So I just want you to know, I want to tell you now, I'm not afraid of him. We've seen that play before. So when he comes around with his attacks, like he always does, I plan to say back to him, you know you've been around a long time and you've never done anything for anyone in our district. I plan to say, you backed the people who took us to the brink, then stood back while the whole economy went down the tubes. You voted for two unfunded wars, you backed the Ryan budget that would strip our seniors of their Medicare. You are responsible for the situation that we're in," Erhard said.

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"I've been to the neighborhoods and to the communities in this district and I've heard the voices of people who live and work here," she said. "People are hurting here. I want you know that I've heard what people have to say, the challenges that they're facing, and I want to say here, right now, I'm the one who is going to go back to Washington and speak for them, speak for the people of this district. I plan to be a voice for all of New Mexico, and I hope, with your support, that I will be the person who speaks out in Congress for the things that we need. First and foremost, we need good jobs!"

Erhard also promised to work hard to protect and strengthen the Affordable Care Act, and to support legislation that protects consumers against the abuses of the insurance industry. She stressed the importance of a good public education system as the foundation for growing economy for the region.

"Jobs are the number one issue," she said, "and we need to protect Social Security and Medicare. Pearce and the Republicans have signed on to the Ryan budget bill, so it's real important we elect someone with a priority to stand up for health care and to work for our seniors," Erhard said. "After that we need to be looking to protect human and civil rights. Those seem to always be under attack from the Republicans." Erhard said she supports collective bargaining rights "absolutely," and also will work to protect the landmark Voting Rights Act, which is again under attack from the right. She also supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that would protect the LGBT community nationally against employment discrimination. "It's important to speak out for human rights and civil rights more than ever, because the Tea Party and the Koch brothers have made such an effort to use people's fears to encourage hate among people, and cause great division to cover up their own political and economic failures," she said.

Erhard took aim at her opponent's cozy relationship with the oil and gas industry. "Oil and gas are important to the economy of this District," she said, "but we need to support the job-creating new energy industries in solar and wind, and in biofuels that we in this area should be the economic leaders in," she said. "Southern New Mexico is blessed with so much sun, it needs to become the engine of a strong, renewable economy in New Mexico." Erhard also hopes to enlist New Mexico State University, which she termed "a world-class institution in the field," in helping to train workers, and to develop and add research skills to the emerging renewable economy of the area.

Erhard also promised to support wilderness protection for the iconic Organ Mountains near Las Cruces. "We are blessed with such incredible natural beauty here in New Mexico," she said, "we need to do everything we can to be good stewards of our wild lands."

Evelyn Madrid Erhard is a lifelong New Mexican who grew up in Española and is a resident of Mesilla, New Mexico. She earned a Master's Degree in Communications Studies. She has worked as a technical writer, and teacher at Doña Ana County Community College and at New Mexico State University. She also owned and operated a small storefront shop for six years.

Photos by Stephen Jones. Click images for larger versions. To see more posts by Stephen, visit our archive.

October 17, 2011 at 06:15 AM in By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, Events, Las Cruces, NM-02 Congressional Race 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 09, 2011

10/16: Fundraiser for Evelyn Madrid Erhard for Congress in NM-2

From Madrid Erhard for Congress:

Evelyn Madrid Erhard for Congress Fundraiser
Democrat for New Mexico CD-2

EvelynMadridErhard

Sunday, October 16
Delia Narvaez Home
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
1435 Grover Dr., Las Cruces, NM
BBQ (and Mexican food donated by Roberto’s of Las Cruces)

EvelynMadridErhard2

Directions: West on Avenida de Mesilla to Roberts Dr.; left (south) on Roberts to Grover Dr.; right on Grover Dr. The suggested donation is $30.00 and an RSVP is appreciated by calling: Maury Castro, ph. 575-541-6099 or 575-571-1923 (cell) or email [email protected]

Photos by Stephen Jones, from Otero County Democrats Labor Day Breakfast.

October 9, 2011 at 11:05 AM in Events, NM-02 Congressional Race 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Free-Wheeling Conversation With Diane Denish: Part 2

Di-Pic- Here is Part 2 of our recent interview with former Lt. Governor and Democratic candidate for governor, Diane Denish. In this installment, Diane discusses the Susana Martinez administration, the congressional races in CD1 and CD2, Democratic messaging and the media. 

Late last month we published Part 1 of our interview, which covered Diane's views on the U.S. Senate race in New Mexico, the Darren White controversy, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, the federal debt ceiling, jobs, fracking and mining. Thanks again to Diane Denish for taking the time to discuss the issues with us in an informal setting.

SUSANA MARTINEZ ADMINISTRATION

DFNM: How is the Susana Martinez administration doing in your view?

DD: Well I think she's just a new version of Bill Richardson. She's putting her friends who helped her with money in high places within her administration.

I'm also disappointed because she really has not put out one agenda about jobs. We should all hope that she does really well because we need jobs, we need work. Her focus has been on law enforcement, and the Darren White thing gives her a chance to put more focus on that.

I read the recent Albuquerque Journal article about her first six months, even though we no longer subscribe to that paper. In their headlines, they mentioned jobs, but there was nothing in the article about any efforts on her part to create jobs. They focused on her push about the drivers' licenses; critics mentioned that she was not engaged and that she doesn't like to meet with people -- which I had heard from others.

Martinez is still in the phase of blaming Bill Richardson for everything and continuing to talk about possible pay to play from the past. I'm disgusted by it. Most of the stuff that came out in the gubernatorial campaign was a surprise to us. We used to say, what could possible be next? 

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DFNM: What about Martinez's approval numbers in the recent Public Policy Polling survey, including some support from Democrats?

DD: Well, I think Dem support in the PPP polling was at about 32% -- not bad but really not strong either. I understand that in Senate campaign polling in February Martinez was at about 62% approving -- and that she's now at 52%. In the PPP poll, she was at 49% favorable to 45% unfavorable. Martinez isn't faring that well in the first congressional district. She should be above 52% in the first six months. She's doing good compared to other new GOP governors like Scott Walker in Wisconsin or Rick Scott in Florida, but not good for a first-time, brand-new governor early on.

DFNM: Did you see the report showing that New Mexico is dead last in job creation? Do you see anything that's being done at the state level to create jobs?

DD: No, I don't see anything concrete being done. In fact, the Martinez-backed filibuster of the capital outlay bill in the legislature by Sen. John Ryan was a job killer. The way Gov. Martinez and Republican legislators have approached the film industry is a job killer. They've been killing jobs -- and they don't have a focus on how to create jobs. I don't see any plan.

Martinez and the Republicans are working to kill the SBIC, which has been the source of capital for micro loans that create jobs. I believe Martinez has mostly been on a mission to get rid of whatever the previous administration did to create a vision for the future. I really believe this should be a fight about a real vision and about jobs and how we're going to get there -- not a battle on purely partisan grounds.

Same thing at the city of Albuquerque. This Darren White thing -- that's just a big mask -- this city and state are losing jobs by the boatload. We need to focus on a combo of old and new industries, and we're not doing anything about the new industries under Republican governance, like green energy.

As far as environmental issues in the governor's race, I tried to stick as close as I could to Democratic values. I did disagree with Governor Richardson on the pit rule -- and it's not what controls drilling. If they think there's oil down there they will go get it.

Now it's all about natural gas -- they're all selling us a bill of goods. I just read about Chesapeake Energy having what's being called their "Enron moment" in a New York Times story. The claim is that national gas reserves are performing at 7-10%. Well, that remains to be seen.

What controls drilling is the market. Do a smart regulation policy. Oil and gas drilling and markets are very different -- it's not one size fits all. Environmentalists killed me on my pit rule position, but I was pro-choice, pro-labor, pro-teacher, pro-small business. I was everything else that I could be in terms of taking strong Democratic positions in my race. Remember -- I was raised in redneck country. I have come a very long way!

DDD&LujanTalk_DCJan08 AdamsDenish DenishABQ

CD 1 CONGRESSIONAL RACE

DFNM: What's your take on the Democratic primary race in CD1 to replace Rep. Martin Heinrich?

DD: I think the field has yet to play out. I think there will be more entries into that field. No predictions until I see all the candidates who will be in there. I think the district will change a bit during redistricting, but not enough to make it substantially different than it is now. I think Michelle Lujan Grisham is taking a strong look at it. I think Stuart Paisano is still on the list. Those are two names that I've heard.

I think Eric Griego is going to be in the primary race until the end. That Progressive Change endorsement really was a boost for him. We'll see.

DFNM: Can Democrats hold onto the CD1 seat in 2012?

DD: It's going to be a real battle and we're gonna have to work our tails off to do it. Everybody's going to have to work hard because the electorate is very volatile and we can't predict where we're gonna be in the economy. I think if Obama stands his ground on this budget battle and doesn't give up too much territory, that will work in our favor. There are a number of things that have to happen for us to maintain that seat, and I think it will be hard.

Even if we win, the seat will be hard to maintain going forward. I hope somebody says to the next person coming in, "if you win, we want you to be there for five terms so we can solidify this is a Democratic seat." It takes 3-4 terms to really do it, and we never ever had the seat before Martin so it's tough.

I understand Martin has the right to make the decision he made to leave the CD1 seat -- that the life of a congressman is a grind and that he has children -- but I wish we'd had those conversations with him before Jeff Bingaman retired, or last year, and let him know he had to make a commitment to hang in there for 10 years in the House. I can certainly understand why he wants to run for Senate.

However, when you talk to my friend Harry Teague, he says he always envied Martin, with a house right in ABQ in the middle of his district and near the airport. Harry had to fly into El Paso, Midland or Albuquerque, then drive around his huge CD2 district three or four days and then drive back many miles to get on a plane. So CD1 is our prime district in terms of structuring your life in a way that you don't have to be so beat up and tired out.

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DFNM: Your name was mentioned a lot for both this House seat and the U.S. Senate seat. What made you decide not to enter either race?

DD: I took a look but, as I have always said, it's not really the life I want. The Senate is very prestigious but New Mexico is where I really belong, where I want to be. As for the House seat, there's the two-year election grind, and it's also bothersome to see those congressional candidates sitting in those cubicles making those phone calls day in and day out all the time to raise money.

However, a whole lot of people encouraged me to run for the House seat. I got lots of encouragement from Emily's List and others, but my own family wasn't very supportive. I didn't think it was the right race for me. If the right opportunity came around, I think I would run again. I'd like to maybe run for office one more time -- not just to run for the sake of running, but because it would be something meaningful to me. Timing is everything.

Being in the House or Senate is a different thing than wanting to be governor. I'd look for opportunities for executive leadership in Albuquerque or the state. I think I'm more suited to that than Congress.

CD 2 CONGRESSIONAL RACE

DFNM: So how is former CD2 congressman Harry Teague, having lost to Steve Pearce?

DD: He's doing good. He thought it was the adventure of a lifetime to serve his home district in Congress and he enjoyed it.

DFNM: Who can take on Pearce and win?

DD: If one of the great, strong women representatives in that district or somebody in the Las Cruces area would decide to run, that would help. But I don't know that any of them wants to do it. This year, working with my friends on the national level on different things, I've learned that this has been one of the toughest years to recruit candidates that they've ever had. That difficulty doubles when it comes to women, because they say, who needs it? The money, the intellectually dishonest way that the media plays out,the savage 30-second ads (on both sides) all make it a hard sell. They think, why would I put myself through that?

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DEMOCRATIC MESSAGING AND THE MEDIA

DFNM: How can Democrats get their message out if many media outlets -- including the ones like TV news and local newspapers that ordinary people access -- refuse to cover the issues from any perspective other than a right-wing slant?

DD: We're terrible at that and the media doesn't help. For instance, during my campaign for governor, media wouldn't look into things we thought represented important failings on the part of Susana Martinez. The information we provided was based on significant research showing that many things she did as DA were designed to protect the sheriff's department. Nothing was ever printed about that.

The consolidation of the media across the country is a real threat to democracy because are about eight companies that own everything -- print media, radio, tv -- and that affects everything we do. Here's an anecdotal story: I went to UNM and taught a class on ethics in business, media and politics. I spoke to a student who interviewed Clear Channel execs and were told straight out that they promote the conservative agenda.

If that's fair, then who in big news media promotes the progressive agenda? The students couldn't name any major progressive news outfits except maybe NPR, which is seen as "neutral." This brings us to Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post -- and Rupert Murdock. He has had a terrible impact on news and politics, but he may finally be getting his due.

As for newspapers, the New York Times is what I read now. I need a hard-copy newspaper in the morning and that used to be the Albuquerque Journal but it's now very clear that most of what they provide is biased and slanted. They ignore or play down stories that don't fit their ideology. We now subscribe to the daily Times, not just the weekend editions, and we never manage to get through the entire paper. There are so many great stories, but there are very few of those kinds of news sources left, and many people don't have easy access. Where I come from they don't even sell the New York Times. so people don't really have access to the facts that are out there in the so-called "liberal media."

DFNM: We often have all the arguments and facts on our side, but we don't have the messaging to make the argument persuasively and widely enough to make a difference. 

DD: We don't, and I don't think either the local or the national folks are doing it that well. For example, in the 2000 in the Gore v. Bush presidential race, the Supreme Court pick won and I don't think the American people really understand that. On the local level we have all these communications trainings for candidates and all, but the party doesn't say, "we're going to hire a really professional and experienced communications officer and we're going to fund that generously." Instead, they bring in inexperienced people or people who work on it only part time.

DFNM: On the other hand, Republicans spend a lot of money on communications, supporting blogs and news outlets, developing effective short-term and long-term messaging strategies and hiring seasoned people to get the message out. Look at the local Rio Grande Foundation. They operate with relatively astounding amounts of money and other resources.

There don't seem to be any sophisticated communication strategies being implemented by Democrats that compete effectively with GOP operations. Even at the national level, Obama does his thing to work towards his reelection, but what's our bigger message as a party?

DD: I know. Consider The Independent. They take nonprofit foundation money so they can't really be seen as "partisan" in any way, even if the Rio Grande Foundation certainly is. They're not a useful business model in helping our cause. Their funding almost guarantees that they can't really be going after the stories they need to go after to show our side of things.

Click on photos for larger images. All photos by M.E. Broderick.

August 15, 2011 at 03:30 PM in Democratic Party, Diane Denish, Eric Griego, Media, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012, NM-02 Congressional Race 2012, Rep. Harry Teague (NM-02), Right Wing, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sterling Fluharty on Redistricting in NM: It Is Time To Start Taking Back Seats From Republicans

SterlingFluharty This is the second of a series of guest posts on redistricting issues by Sterling Fluharty, who lives in Albuquerque and is the owner of Southwest Political Services, which specializes in campaigns, polling, redistricting, lobbying, coalition building and publishing.

Redistricting gives us the chance to put all three of New Mexico's Congressional seats in play for Democrats. But you wouldn't know this was possible if you had attended any of the New Mexico Redistricting Committee meetings this summer. At each meeting Research and Polling has presented its seven proposed congressional maps. The focus has always been on the geographical shifts that would happen with these maps. With the release about a week ago of political performance measures for these maps, it is now apparent that every proposal keeps the southern district safe for Republicans. New Mexico Democrats deserve to take back this congressional seat and need legislative leaders who will pursue this idea.

We Have the Votes

New Mexico weathered the 2010 elections better than any other comparable state. Consider what happened in the last few election cycles. Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado all voted for Bush in 2004. These are the same states that Obama flipped in 2008. If you add up all of the votes that Republicans and Democrats received in these states during the 2010 U.S. House of Representatives elections, you will find the GOP won the overall House vote in all of these states except for New Mexico.

The Democratic share of votes for Congressional Representatives in New Mexico has increased fairly steadily over the last two decades. In 1990 New Mexico's Democratic candidates for Congress received only 41 percent of the overall vote. By 1996 the Democratic share of our state's congressional vote had increased to 51 percent. When Tom Udall ran unopposed in 2002, this statewide figure soared to 59 percent. Between 2006 and 2008, when each candidate had an opponent in the general election, the proportion of congressional votes (for candidates from major parties) that went to Democrats climbed again from 56 to 59 percent.

We Have Done This Before

Not a single Democrat in New Mexico running for Congress in 2008 received less than 56 percent of the vote. Between 2008 and 2010 every single one of New Mexico's representatives in Congress was a Democrat. Some people might tell you that the Obama phenomenon was what gave us an all-Democrat delegation in Congress. But the truth is that our state was already becoming more blue before New Mexicans ever voted for Obama.

We Need This Before 2022

It was no coincidence that New Mexico started awarding more congressional votes to Democrats than to Republicans shortly after becoming a majority-minority state. In 1990 Anglos comprised 50 percent of the population in New Mexico. Census 2020 will find that Non-Hispanic Whites make up a mere third of the state's population. If New Mexico continues to become blue at the same rate of the past two decades, I estimate the Democratic share of congressional votes in our state will be 66 percent in 2015 and 74 percent in 2020. In a few years from now, if we adopt one of the current congressional proposals, Democrats will realize it was a mistake to keep a congressional seat safe for a Republican.

We Need Better Proposals

Research and Polling estimates in its proposals that a Democrat in the northern congressional district will receive between 57 and 59 percent of the vote. Since Research and Polling's statewide political performance numbers underestimate Democratic performance by a few points, they are actually proposing maps that pack Democrats into the northern district and will initially award at least 60 percent of the vote to Democrats running for Congress. We do not need to waste Democratic votes like that, especially when these extra votes could be used to elect Democrats to Congress in other parts of the state.

We Have a Concept Map

With Dave's Redistricting App, it was relatively easy for me to draft a map of three congressional districts where Democrats could win in New Mexico. In terms of geography, one northern and eastern district would stretch from Farmington to Hobbs, another central district would occupy the space between Albuquerque and Ruidoso, and a third district would traverse western and southern New Mexico from Shiprock to Carlsbad. I have been advocating for this kind of map, both online and in print, for over a month.

The website I used to draw this map includes political performance data that demonstrates each of these proposed districts would be favorable to Democrats. If you try out this feature, take note that it uses the average of New Mexico's 2010 statewide election results, which means its political performance measures are based on a year that wasn't best for Democrats. My post next week, on legislative redistricting, will analyze political performance measures more critically and in more detail.

We Need Your Help

With the $1.5 million our legislature appropriated for redistricting, you would think someone—within the company they hired, the committee they formed, or even legislative leadership—would have realized the need to draft and distribute the kind of map described above. As I have explained, New Mexico keeps becoming more blue and Democratic votes will not be spread too thin between congressional districts if they follow the above concept map. We need you to contact our Democratic legislative leadership within the next week and ask them to instruct Research and Polling to draft a map that will accomplish the goals set out in this blog post. Make sure you tell them that we want this new congressional map presented to the public when their Redistricting Committee comes to Albuquerque and Rio Rancho in the afternoon and evening of August 15th and 16th. Please RSVP on Facebook to join me and our New Mexico State Democratic Party Chair Javier Gonzales the Saturday before, on August 13th from 10:30am to 12:30pm at Kosmos Coffee House, in a discussion of our Democratic strategy for state redistricting and how we can prepare for the 2012 elections. And get ready to hold our legislators accountable with citizen lobbying during the special session for redistricting in September.

This is the second in a series of guest blogs on redistricting by Sterling Fluharty. Click to see his first post.

If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.

July 27, 2011 at 07:40 AM in Guest Blogger, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012, NM-02 Congressional Race 2012, NM-03 Congressional Seat 2012, Redistricting | Permalink | Comments (6)