Wednesday, November 17, 2010

11/21: Ray Powell Thank You Celebration at Ezra's Place in Albuquerque

From Ray Powell:
As we prepare to move forward and face the challenges and opportunities that await us at the State Land Office, it is important that we pause to reflect upon and enjoy the victory we have just shared and say 'Thank You' for all of your hard work.

I know I could not have done it without you, so I hope you will join me Sunday, November 21st, from 3 PM-5 PM at Ezra's Place, 6132 4th Street NW (behind the Lucky 66 Bowling Alley) in Albuquerque to celebrate what we've accomplished and to give me a chance to thank you personally for your commitment and your effort.

So that we can plan ahead and make sure we have enough food for everyone to enjoy, please take a second and RSVP to Matt Ross at or (505) 263-4879. Again, thank you so much for your help and support. I look forward to working with you to return responsible land management and ethical and open government to the Land Office.

November 17, 2010 at 06:19 PM in 2010 NM Land Commissioner Race, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tonight at Old Town Farm: Last Big Event Supporting Ray Powell for Land Commissioner

Reminder: Tonight is the last big fundraiser for Ray Powell for Land Commissioner and it's a doozy. Folks are gathering at 5:30 PM at the lovely Old Town Farm at 949 Montoya St NW in Albuquerque (map) and there'll be live music from Felix Y Los Gatos. Check out this flyer form more information. The GOP is running hard to take this election and Ray needs all the help we can muster!

October 19, 2010 at 10:51 AM in 2010 NM Land Commissioner Race, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10/19 at Old Town Farm: Last Big Fundraiser for Ray Powell for Land Commissioner, Music From Felix Y Los Gatos


Please Join
Lanny Tonning & Linda Thorne
Along with Co-Hosts
State Senator Tim Keller, David Duhigg & Toni Martorelli, Richard Romero & Margie Lockwood,
Christine Trujillo & Dale Petty
With Music From Felix Y Los Gatos
in support of
Ray Powell
Democratic Candidate for Commissioner of Public Lands
Tuesday, October 19th, 5:30 PM
The Old Town Farm
949 Montoya St NW, Albuquerque, NM
Hosts - $ 100, Sponsors - $50, Supporters - $25
Click for Flyer (pdf) with reservation form

RSVP: Matt Ross, (505) 263-4879,

As Land Commissioner, we know Ray Powell will protect and manage our public lands, create good jobs through renewable energy ventures on state lands, generate more money for our school employees and children and return ethical, honest government to the State Land Office. Voters are tired of the scandal that has surrounded the Land Office for the last 8 years -- and Ray Powell is just the guy to take a virtual fire hose and clean the place up. A whole slew of organizations and newspapers agree, and have endorsed him.

I've written plenty about Powell's Republican opponent -- and his dishonesty and right-wing extremism -- so you know how essential it is that we support Ray in the final days of the campaign. His opponent is getting big bucks from special interests, and we have to make sure Ray has what he needs to win. Let's step up to the plate and help Ray to the finish line.

If you can't attend the fundraiser but want to support Ray's campaign, you can go to his website to make an online contribution.

October 13, 2010 at 02:45 PM in 2010 NM Land Commissioner Race, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Video: GOP Land Commissioner Candidate Matt Rush Running to 'Restore Christian Nation'

Matt Rush extols creation of "Christian nation"

We are Matt Rush's enemies.

Rush, a right-wing Republican who is running for New Mexico land commissioner against highly respected and Democrat Ray Powell, appeared in the political video above as part of an apparent online reach out to fellow Christians, or at least his particular brand of Christians. His spiel -- no doubt reminiscent of the "motivational speeches" he gives for a fee -- includes a call to battle against "the enemy." At least according to what's contained in the video, it appears that Rush thinks "the enemy" is any American who isn't dedicated to creating a "Christian nation" out of a nation founded on freedom of religion (and freedom from religion) and the separation of church and state.

Why is Matt Rush running for land commissioner? You really need to watch the entire video to get the full flavor and extent of his remarks (not to mention the treacly background music), but here are a few nuggets:

If we want to be a Christian nation again, Christian people have to start standing up, runnning for office again ... if we ever want to become a Christian nation again. That's the reason I got involved in politics.

... For those of us who are Christians and we are proud to say we are Christians, we need to start standing up being proud of it again and we need to take the fight to the enemy. So I encourage each and every one of you to get involved.

We've got to start standing up because we are one nation under god and we need to make sure we take that back to our legislative process.

Notice that Rush doesn't discuss any issues pertinent to the job of land commissioner. I guess he thinks it's enough that people know he will battle to put his brand of Christianity in the drivers seat, and to hell with all those other Christians who don't agree with his Christian nation schtick, as well as all the Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, non-believers and humanists out there. Anybody who doesn't hold the same extreme religious views Matt does are "the enemy" and must be vanquished from government and the civic scene. Right?

Matt Rush, Christian Liar
Besides being absurd, dangerous and perhaps even anti-American, Rush's claim of moral and religious superiority is undermined by his own public dishonesty. He can't even tell the truth about his alleged educational achievement. Rush was caught in the act of lying, telling the Albuquerque Journal he has an associate degree in agriculture from Lubbock Christian University when the paper was getting info from him for a candidate profile. He doesn't have an associate degree (or any other degree). And yet he's reportedly been touting that achievement for years.

Matt Rush is also known for getting most of his campaign cash from moneyed oil and gas interests. The Journal's profile of him includes this info:

Businessmen from eastern New Mexico drafted him, according to Rush, and his campaign is being fueled in part by hefty contributions from oil and gas producers.

So, Mr. Christian Nation is having his political campaign funded by some of the very people who have a strong interest in how the state's vast land holdings will be managed and leased by the land commissioner. Doesn't sound very moral to me, especially for a guy who wants to remake America to match his extremist, right-wing religious ideology.

October 7, 2010 at 12:26 PM in 2010 NM Land Commissioner Race, Political Ads, Religion, Republican Party, Right Wing | Permalink | Comments (6)

Friday, September 24, 2010

GOP Land Commissioner Candidate Matt Rush Caught Lying About Earning a Degree

Rush120 If a candidate lies about something as simple and straightforward as whether or not he or she has a particular degree, what else will that candidate lie about? What does such behavior portend for the candidate's future conduct in office, if elected? Those are pertinent questions to ask about Matt Rush, the Republican candidate for the powerful position of New Mexico land commissioner, who has been caught lying about having earned an associate degree.

According to a story in today's Albuquerque Journal, Rush provided the paper, as well as others, with what certainly appears to be deliberately inaccurate information about his educational achievements:

About that degree: Matt Rush, the Republican candidate for state land commissioner, has told the Journal and others that he has an associate's degree in agribusiness from Lubbock Christian University. It turns out that's premature, at best.

According to the school, Rush is only one required course away from a bachelor's degree, but he never actually got an associate's degree. Rush said he assumed he had the associate's degree — although he didn't have the paper to prove it — because of all the coursework he had completed.

He said an inquiry from the Journal prompted him to check with the school, and he discovered he had not been awarded the associate's degree.

"I was absolutely confident, 100 percent, that's what I had. That is inaccurate," an embarrassed Rush said Thursday.

One slight problem -- turns out Rush never checked with the school about the associate degree, despite his claim to have done so:

Lubbock Christian University Registrar Janice Stone said school officials had never determined Rush's eligibility for an associate's degree because he hadn't asked them to.

Sure sounds to me that Rush reneged on his original claim only when he was confronted by the Journal about his record. Since he never contacted the university to check on whether or not he had legitimately earned an associate degree, he had to have known already that he hadn't done so. That makes two lies about this matter, doesn't it?

Rush finally admitted the truth to KNME's Lorene Mills on September 17 during a half-hour PBS TV interview, saying that he had no degree from Lubbock Christian University.*

According to the Journal, Rush was enrolled at Lubbock Christian University during the period 1992 to 1996 and also worked there for several years. You'd think he would have remembered what he, in fact, accomplished there, and what he didn't. Apparently, it was easier for Rush to "forget" the facts than to admit he had no college degree. What else is he "forgetting"?

Honesty and Integrity?
By the way, the Journal's original profile on this race (which included the candidate-provided info on education) reports that, "Businessmen from eastern New Mexico drafted him, according to Rush, and his campaign is being fueled in part by hefty contributions from oil and gas producers."

Ironically, Rush touted his "honesty and integrity" to the Journal in that report:

The GOP candidate says continuing that budget restraint, and operating with honesty and integrity, are his major campaign themes.


Rush is running against Democrat Ray Powell in the public land commissioner race this year.

*You can see the entire interchange tonight on Report from Santa Fe at 10:30 PM on PBS Channel 5, repeated at 7:30 AM Sunday. For Las Cruces viewers it's 7:30 AM Sunday, PBS Channel 22. For the east side of New Mexico, it will air at 6:00 PM Saturday on PBS Channel 3.

September 24, 2010 at 02:27 PM in 2010 NM Land Commissioner Race, Ethics & Campaign Reform | Permalink | Comments (7)

Friday, August 20, 2010

8/21: Reception for Ray Powell for Land Commissioner at El Comedor in Moriarty

Please Join

Former Democratic Chairman Mike Anaya, Don King, Commissioner Mike Anaya, Sam King, Councilor Steve Anaya, Bill King, Mayor Ted Hart, School Board Member Phil Anaya, Sam L. King, Commissioner-Elect Robert Anaya, Commissioner Vanessa Chavez, JT Turner, Commissioner Jim Frost, Commissioner-Elect Lonnie Freyburger 

In Welcoming
Ray Powell
Democratic Candidate for Land Commissioner

At a Reception for Ray Powell
At the El Comedor Restaurant in Moriarty
Saturday, August 21, 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Suggested Contributions: $100, $50, $25
Click for Flyer

For more information or to RSVP, call Matt at (505) 263‐4879.

August 20, 2010 at 09:48 AM in 2010 NM Land Commissioner Race, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 16, 2010

8/17: Fundraiser for Ray Powell for Land Commissioner in Albuquerque

One not to miss, to benefit a race we must win:

Please join
Richard Romero and Margie Lockwood
at their home with host committee:
Sen. Tim Keller • Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino • Sen. Eric Griego Sen. Cisco McSorley • Sen. Dede Feldman • Sen. Linda Lopez Rep. Eleanor Chavez • City Councilor Ike Benton • City Councilor Rey Garduño • CNM Board Member Blair Kaufman CNM Board Member Carmie Toulouse • APS Board Member Dolores Griego • APS Board Member Lorenzo Garcia • County Commission Candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham • Toni Martorelli • Miguel Gomez • Michael Chavez • Chris Baca • Bob Gurule • Sue Griffith • CNM Board Member Dr. John Mondragon Leo Padilla• Ruben Guajardo
for a fundraiser for
Ray Powell, Democrat
Candidate for New Mexico Land Commissioner
August 17, 2010, 5 – 7 PM
907 Silver Ave. SW, Albuquerque
Suggested contribution: $25
Click for Flyer (pdf)

August 16, 2010 at 11:51 AM in 2010 NM Land Commissioner Race, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

(Updates x 4) 2010 NM Primary Election: Early Results Have Colon 32.15, Rael 30.30 for LG, More

Liveblog now at NMI!

KOAT Results

3.2% turnout on election day at 2:00 PM per BernCo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver

8:52 PM: Rep. Eleanor Chavez declares victory vs. Matthew Archuleta! Won by about 100 votes. Congratulations Eleanor! Results:

MATTHEW E ARCHULETA Democratic 308 43.1%
ELEANOR CHAVEZ Democratic 407 56.9%

Early and absentee voting ONLY results from Bernalillo County:

BRIAN S. COLON Democrat 2,138 2,863 5,001 32.15%
LAWRENCE D. RAEL Democrat 1,842 2,872 4,714 30.30%
JOSE A. CAMPOS II Democrat 618 923 1,541 9.91%
GERALD P. ORTIZ Y PINO Democrat 677 1,549 2,226 14.31%
LINDA M. LOPEZ Democrat 836 1,238 2,074 13.33%
(15,556 Total Votes) 0 Out Of 424 Precincts Counted % calculated to +-.03%

Video: Rafael Colon commenting on his dad's campaign tonight.

RAY BENNETT POWELL Democrat 3,106 4,744 7,850 52.86%
HARRY B. MONTOYA Democrat 1,463 2,258 3,721 25.06%
SANDY R. JONES Democrat 1,318 1,962 3,280 22.09%

LINDA M. VANZI Democrat 4,050 6,354 10,404 70.76%
DENNIS W. MONTOYA Democrat 1,742 2,557 4,299 29.24%

PATRICK M DAVIS Democrat 0 1,285 1,960 3,245 22.17%
FELIX I NUNEZ Democrat 0 409 987 1,396 9.54%
MANUEL GONZALES III Democrat 0 1,773 2,329 4,102 28.03%
MARIE SISI MIRANDA Democrat 0 1,264 2,009 3,273 22.36%
GERALDINE M AMATO Democrat 0 322 640 962 6.57%
JOSHUA R TIMBERMAN Democrat 0 238 293 531 3.63%
JOE R. WILLIAMS Democrat 0 530 596 1,126 7.69%

LINDA M. VANZI Democrat 4,050 6,354 10,404 70.76%
DENNIS W. MONTOYA Democrat 1,742 2,557 4,299 29.24%

Bernalillo County results .

June 1, 2010 at 07:04 PM in 2010 Democratic Primary Results, 2010 Judicial Races, 2010 NM Land Commissioner Race, 2010 NM Lt. Governor Race, Brian Colon | Permalink | Comments (0)

Low Voter Turnout in 2010 NM Primary Favors Candidates Popular With Active Party Members

Liveblog now at NMI!

Polls are open until 7:00 PM tonight. Find your precinct polling place and a sample ballot here.

It's no surprise that voter turnout in this mid-term primary is low -- it always is. It IS surprising that it's as low as it reportedly has been today -- until one considers that election day falls on the day after the Memorial Day weekend -- a time when many folks are taking trips, recovering from Memorial Day parties or hanging out with their kids who are now out of school for the summer. Original projections that turnout would be about 28-30% are now apparently being lowered, based on very low turnout being reported at a variety of precincts around the state.

Who is helped by low primary turnout? It's a given that a majority of active party members vote early. Virtually all of them vote, either early or on election day. If turnout is low on election day itself, that generally means that less active party supporters and members aren't turning out. That, in turn, would mean that candidates popular with active party members would be casting a significant percentage of the votes. Thus, the results would favor those candidates who won strong support within the party during its pre-primary convention, along with those who gained enthusiastic and loyal supporters during their primary campaigns via grassroots efforts.

In the case of the Democrats, here's how the pre-primary convention voting turned out in major contested races:

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

Land Commissioner
Ray Powell, 44.4%
Harry Montoya, 19.3%
Sandy Jones, 18.6%
Mike Anaya, 17.6%

NM Court of Appeals
Judge Linda M. Vanzi 72.32%
Dennis W. Montoya 27.68%

We'll see how that matches the final results, but I predict the Dem winners will come close to matching this list. Of course, there's always a possibility that a certain candidate can turn out significant numbers of supporters on election day who aren't generally active in the party, but I think that's a long shot.

June 1, 2010 at 05:51 PM in 2010 Democratic Primary Results, 2010 Judicial Races, 2010 NM Land Commissioner Race, 2010 NM Lt. Governor Race, Brian Colon, Democratic Party | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ray Powell Critical of Lyons' Upcoming Oil and Gas Lease Sale Around White Peak in Northern NM

The Ray Powell for Land Commissioner campaign released the following statement late yesterday.

In an upcoming oil and gas lease sale, State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons has included the lease sale of state lands around White Peak in Mora and Colfax counties in Northern New Mexico, in direct contrast to a pledge he made earlier this year to not lease the area for energy production. Furthermore, pending before the Supreme Court is a case regarding the trading away of state lands at White Peak. It’s unclear how the oil and gas lease sale will complicate this matter.

It was just learned that Lyons plans to hold an oil and gas lease sale of 11,096 acres in Colfax County and 9,275 acres in Mora County on June 15, which is in direct contrast to previous commitments to not lease the area. On January 21, 2010, Commissioner Lyons issued a press release saying, “I am unwilling to lease these lands for oil and gas development.”

Commissioner Lyons has been at the center of controversy for his decision to trade away White Peak state lands in northern New Mexico. Sportsmen, elected officials, former State Land Commissioner Ray Powell and leaders from northern New Mexico communities have been critical of the exchange.

Mr. Lyons has been under intense scrutiny by both the New Mexico Attorney General and New Mexico State Auditor regarding the process for selling, exchanging, and leasing of trust lands. “I am very upset to learn about the impending oil and gas lease sale around White Peak. There is a pending New Mexico Supreme Court decision on this issue and this is yet another appalling example of what you should not do as State Land Commissioner." said Powell.

“From the onset, this exchange needed more oversight and scrutiny. Affected groups, local communities and the public were never consulted. The danger is that there will be more flawed trades, sales, and oil and gas leases in inappropriate locations in the remaining six months Mr. Lyons is in office,” Powell continued.

“It seems like he has gone to war with the communities up North,” Powell added. "I am committed to working to reform the policies and procedures at the State Land Office to increase transparency, accountability, collaboration, and prevent abuses like this from happening in the future."

Veterinarian Ray Powell is a Democratic candidate for the position of State Land Commissioner. Powell served as Land Commissioner from 1993-2002, and was recognized for running one of the best land management agencies in the country.

You can see our previous posts on the land commissioner race in our archive.

May 27, 2010 at 09:18 AM in 2010 NM Land Commissioner Race, Energy, Environment, Land Issues | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Conservation Organizations Denounce Land Commissioner Candidate Jones’ Energy Plan as “Outrageous” and a “Bailout for Oil Companies”

Today, two major environmental organizations strongly criticized the energy plan of State Land Commissioner candidate Sandy Jones and released the following statement:

“Sandy Jones’ proposal to expand drilling on state trust lands while sticking taxpayers with the tab for environmental protection looks like a bailout for the oil companies,” said Sandy Buffett, Executive Director of Conservation Voters New Mexico. “In the wake of this devastating Gulf oil spill, we need leaders who will develop New Mexico’s clean energy economy, not promote more ‘drill baby drill’.”

According to an April 30th article in the Las Cruces Bulletin, Jones’ energy plan calls for doubling the amount of oil and gas drilling on state lands while reducing the royalty rates currently paid by oil and gas companies.

Managing state trust lands in perpetuity to fund education is the mandate of the Commissioner of Public Lands.

“The goal should be long-term sustainability of education funding—focusing on renewable energy resources that can build and permanently fund high-quality schools,” said Susan Martin, Political Chair of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Jones seeks to pillage the Land of Enchantment, and ensure that our children and grandchildren will ultimately pay the price.”

Jones also proposes that companies be offered a 100% tax credit for complying with the new pit rule, adopted by the state to protect communities’ groundwater supplies.

“Jones wants taxpayers to foot the bill for oil and gas companies’ expenditures to prevent water contamination from their operations.” said Martin. “It’s simply outrageous for New Mexico taxpayers to be paying companies not to pollute the water our communities need to survive.”

Instead of focusing on solid, sustainable revenue generation from state lands—through leases for solar, wind and geothermal projects, or from permits for recreational access—Jones’ drilling plan could jeopardize long-term education funding in order to serve the short-term financial interests of the oil and gas industry. Increasing New Mexico’s reliance on a globally-priced commodity, such as oil, leaves NM vulnerable to market fluctuations.

“To protect predictable long-term funding for education, we need to move away from volatile peak oil and generate trust revenue from infinite energy sources such as the sun,” said Buffett.

Jones is running against Ray Powell and Harry Montoya in the Democratic primary for Commissioner of Public Lands. Both Conservation Voters New Mexico and the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club have endorsed Ray Powell for that office.

May 25, 2010 at 04:49 PM in 2010 NM Land Commissioner Race, Energy, Environment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Public Lands Commissioner Candidates Face Off in Las Cruces

Powell Jones
Ray Powell, Sandy Jones

This is a post by contributing writer, Stephen Jones, who is a progressive political activist and a resident of Las Cruces, New Mexico. He IS our Southern NM Bureau.

All five candidates for Commissioner of Public Lands appeared at a public forum held at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces on Thursday, May 20. In a generally polite event two Republicans, Bob Cornelius and Matt Rush, and three Democrats, Sandy Jones, Harry Montoya and Ray Powell, answered policy questions and introduced their policy positions and backgrounds to the voters who attended the event. The forum was sponsored by seven environmental and sportsman’s groups. Of the candidates, one Republican and one Democrat will emerge from the June 1 primary and face each other in November.

Montoya Forum1
Harry Montoya, forum stage

Questions posed to the candidates were solicited by the sponsoring organizations and posed to the candidates in a highly structured format.

All five of the candidates stressed the role of the Public Lands Commission in providing funds for education and in bringing transparency to the office. Of the three Democrats, Harry Montoya stressed his experience as Santa Fe County Commissioner and his previous two terms as a member of the Pojoaque Valley School Board. Sandy Jones outlined his background on the Public Regulation Commission and his lifelong support of sportsmen. Ray Powell talked about his background of working with Jane Goodall and other environmentalists and promised to bring ethics back to the office, which he held for two terms before being term limited.

Bob Cornelius, Matt Rush

Of the Republicans Bob Cornelius talked about his strong family history in southeastern New Mexico and his support from the National Rifle Association (NRA). Matt Rush, an eight generation farmer who presently lives in Dora, promised “good stewardship” if elected. While the three Democrats stressed greater economic diversification in land use and leases, including renewable energy, the two Republicans favored continued reliance on mining and oil and gas. Cornelius also favored more uranium enrichment and nuclear power.

All five of the candidates insisted on guaranteeing access to public lands by sportsmen, but maintained that sportsmen have an obligation to work with lessees to share the state’s resources responsibly. “If Joe lets 30 cattle out, then Joe should be responsible for 30 cattle,” Sandy Jones said.

All five candidates

In a generally restrained debate, the one contentious moment occurred when Cornelius charged that Powell had left behind a record of illegal dumping that resulted in Commissioner Patrick Lyons' “Don’t Trash the Trust” program. Ray Powell responded that he had instituted a rigorous ethics program in the office that has not been followed by Commissioner Lyons citing his dubious White Peak land trade. “We can’t afford pay to play in New Mexico” Powell said.

The event was sponsored by the Dona Ana County Sportsmen, Mesilla Valley Audubon Society, Southwest Consolidated Sportsmen, Southwest Environmental Center, New Mexico Wilderness Association, New Mexico Wildlife Association and the Wild Turkey Sportsmen’s Association.

All photos by Stephen Jones. Click on images for larger versions. To read more posts by Stephen, visit our archive. Click to check out our previous posts on the 2010 land commissioner race.

May 21, 2010 at 09:36 AM in 2010 NM Land Commissioner Race, By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer | Permalink | Comments (9)