Marty Chavez Eric Griego

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reminder: 4/28 Work Till You Die National Day of Action to Save Social Security

The NM Alliance for Retired Americans, OLE NM, NM Federation of Labor, AFGE Local 4041, NM Voices for Children, AFSCME Retirees, SEIU/CIR and Interfaith Worker Justice are proud to host Congressman Martin Heinrich (invited) and NMFL President, Christine Trujillo as part of the "Work till you die!" National Day of Action to save Social Security.

The Albuquerque rally is set for 12 Noon in front of the Social Security Office on 5th and Lead. Click for a flyer on the Albuquerque event. Click here for info on events in Santa Fe and Las Cruces. Contact the NM Alliance for Retired Americans at for more info.

April 27, 2011 at 05:46 PM in Events, Social Security | Permalink | Comments (0)

4/29: DPNM Reception With Former DNC Chair and Governor Tim Kaine

The Democratic Party of New Mexico
and Chairman Javier Gonzales
invite you to join our featured guest

Former DNC Chair and Governor Tim Kaine

at an evening with the Democratic Party of New Mexico
at the Spring State Central evening event
April 29, 2011
Hotel Andaluz, Albuquerque
VIP Reception - 6 30 PM to 7:00 PM
Hors d'oeuvres - 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Tickets: VIP and Hors d'oeuvres $250, Hors d'oeuvres $100
Please RSVP to Scott Forrester at

Photo by M.E. Broderick.

April 27, 2011 at 05:19 PM in Democratic Party, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

An Open Letter to Our Community from Creative Albuquerque: The Closure of New Mexico Symphony Orchestra

This is a guest blog by Regina Chavez, Executive Director, and Brian Morris, President, Board of Directors, of Creative Albuquerque.

Dear Friends,
With the closing of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra (NMSO), our community has suffered a great cultural loss and it is not only the well-heeled, as some would argue, who will miss them. From Shiprock to Hobbs, the NMSO performed at schools and community centers all across the state and every year tens of thousands of elementary school children heard them perform at Popejoy Hall. For many years, the NMSO performed for Mother’s Day at the Albuquerque Zoo attended by thousands of families in our community.

The loss of this great cultural treasure also means a loss of local talent, green jobs, and a source of local economic vitality. The NMSO consisted of more than one-hundred professional musicians and administrative staff who will now join the ranks of the under/unemployed. Wherever they played, NMSO performances drew concert goers to local restaurants and merchants for pre- and post-concert dining and shopping. Concert production and marketing served as reliable source of revenue for numerous vendors, including the National Hispanic Cultural Center. In addition, the loss of the NMSO will affect our economic development efforts as employers look at a community’s cultural vitality, including the existence of a professional symphony orchestra, when considering relocation or expansion to other communities.

Supporting cultural resources like the NMSO takes a village. It requires the support of individuals, businesses, foundations and government. The economic downturn has affected many and this loss should serve as a wakeup call that we must find a way to sustain our most precious cultural resources. One alternative may be to take another look at the Quality of Life Initiative, which did not pass in 2006, but would have provided a steady stream of community supported funding for arts and cultural programming and institutions. Had it been approved, the NMSO would almost certainly not be in the bankruptcy courts today.

We are grateful for the NMSO –- musicians, chorus members, craft and administrative staff-- past and present, who for 79 years filled our lives with music. We hope that we haven’t heard the last of them and that the NMSO will emerge anew to once again fill our lives with the sound of music and to serve as a beacon of economic and cultural prosperity in our community.

Thank you.

This is a guest blog by Regina Chavez and Brian Morris of Creative Albuquerque.

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. Publication of a guest blog does not necessarily imply that we agree or disagree with the points made.

April 27, 2011 at 03:53 PM in City of Albuquerque, Economy, Populism, Education, Guest Blogger, Jobs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

League of Conservation Voters and Conservation Voters New Mexico Endorse Martin Heinrich for U.S. Senate

From the LCV Facebook page this morning:

League of Conservation Voters
We're excited and proud to join Conservation Voters New Mexico in endorsing Martin Heinrich for U.S. Senate. This is the earliest in an election cycle that we've ever announced an endorsement -- and it's because Martin has been an invaluable leader in championing clean energy jobs and protecting our natural treasures.

Shortly afterwards, the LCV released this statement about the endorsements:

Today the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund, which works to elect candidates who will implement sound environmental policies, and Conservation Voters New Mexico jointly announced their endorsement of Martin Heinrich for U.S. Senate. This is the first endorsement given by the two organizations in the 2012 election cycle and the earliest endorsement ever given by the LCV Action Fund.

“Martin Heinrich has  been an invaluable leader in championing clean energy jobs and protecting our natural treasures while demonstrating that he’ll stand up to corporate polluters and fight for the interests of New Mexicans,” said LCV Action Fund President Gene Karpinski. “LCV Action Fund is proud to endorse Martin Heinrich for the U.S. Senate because he understands that the policies needed to grow New Mexico’s economy and keep America’s competitive edge are the same policies that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and curb harmful carbon pollution.”

During his tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives representing New Mexico's 1st district Rep. Heinrich has earned a perfect 100% lifetime score on LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard.* Rep. Heinrich’s role as a champion on environmental issues is further demonstrated by his participation in the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition and his steadfast defense of the EPA’s ability to protect public health and hold polluters accountable under the Clean Air Act. He also works to protect New Mexico’s abundant natural resources and public lands as an active member on the House Committee on Natural Resources.

"Martin Heinrich's superb leadership exemplifies that he lives, breathes, and leads by the wise words of the great conservationist Aldo Leopold: 'When we take care of the land, the land takes care of us,'" said Sandy Buffett, Executive Director of Conservation Voters New Mexico.

Rep. Heinrich also supported the single largest investment in clean energy in history: more than $80 billion for energy efficiency, renewable energy and public transit in the economic recovery package, with substantial investments going to job-creating clean energy and energy efficiency projects in New Mexico’s 1st district.

"It is an honor to have the support of the members of the League of Conservation Voters and Conservation Voters New Mexico. Our nation faces a tremendous challenge in our need to reverse climate change and to lead the world in clean energy technology. I share their commitment in rising to that challenge," said Martin Heinrich. "Here in New Mexico, we already know the potential for clean energy to create jobs and jumpstart our economy. Through American ingenuity and the right policies we can unleash the full potential of this growing industry and put even more Americans to work building the clean energy economy."

LCV, and its connected political committees LCV Action Fund and LCV Victory Fund, spent $5.5 million electing pro-environment candidates in the 2010 election cycle, including $118,860 in independent expenditure spending on behalf of Rep. Heinrich. Additionally, LCV Action contributed or raised more than $1.3 million for pro-environment candidates – the most ever contributed or raised by the organization in an election cycle.

*The non-partisan LCV Scorecard is a nationally accepted yardstick used to rate Members of Congress on conservation and clean energy issues. Based on key conservation votes in the House and Senate, it is often used by the media to quickly describe a Member’s position. For more information, visit

Rep. Heinrich has so far also been endorsed by the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, AFSCME national and the Teamsters/AFL-CIO.

April 27, 2011 at 11:13 AM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Energy, Environment, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | |

Ask Senators Bingaman and Udall to Support DOMA Repeal!

Please read this important message from Mary Ellen and I being distributed today by the Courage Campaign, Progress New Mexico and Democracy for New Mexico, and sign up TODAY to urge our Senators to support the repeal of DOMA. After you sign, you'll see a page that makes it easy for you to forward this message to your friends via Facebook, Twitter and email. Thanks for your support!


The reason we decided as a same-sex couple to move to Albuquerque 18 years ago was because we knew people would be fair-minded -- including our representatives in Congress. We supported the campaigns of Sens. Bingaman and Udall -- voting, volunteering, donating, and blogging -- because we knew they were supportive.

So imagine our surprise when we found out that neither Senator is a co-sponsor of legislation to repeal the “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) -- legislation that would provide critical protections for us and other families in New Mexico.

Since 2006 we have been watching New Mexico Domestic Partnership bills get defeated in our Legislature. We have been devastated each time one fails, sometimes by very close margins.

But over the past month, we’ve seen huge gains in the long march towards DOMA repeal. Just a few days ago, the Courage Campaign led the effort to get Sen. Kohl (D-Wis.) to become the tenth vote necessary to pass the bill through the Senate Judiciary Committee. Over 1,000 Courage Campaign members from Wisconsin responded to this call to action. We now have 22 Senate co-sponsors of the bill, and now it’s New Mexico’s turn.

Now's the time for Sen. Bingaman and Sen. Udall to support our future together as a committed couple in sickness and health. As we grow older we need the same securities afforded other New Mexicans. By co-sponsoring legislation that will repeal DOMA, we will be able to dream of a day off in the future when we might be married here in this Land of Enchantment state.

Repealing DOMA moves us closer to that dream. Sens. Bingaman and Udall are key to moving this bill forward. They should be on our side, but they need you to remind them to come out and publicly support repeal by co-sponsoring the bill.

We did our part. Now it’s time for them to do theirs.


Mary Ellen & Barb
Courage Campaign members

April 27, 2011 at 09:34 AM in Children and Families, Civil Liberties, GLBT Rights, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Sen. Tom Udall | |

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

5/1: Center for Progress and Justice Hosts International Workers' Day Events in Santa Fe


From the Center for Progress and Justice:
May Day! On May 1st, 2011, the Center for Progress and Justice (CPJ) is hosting a service project in honor of International Workers’ Day, as well as a yard sale fundraiser with proceeds going toward the event expenses. Local labor unions will also be raising money for the Northern Central Labor Council’s PAC fund. The CPJ is located at 1420 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505, across the street from the Santa Fe Indian School.

A free BBQ accompanied by music from The Labor’s Troubadour, Joe West, will follow at 4:00 PM in celebration of the history of the labor movement. This is the schedule of events for the day:

All Faiths Service: 9 AM – 10 AM

Service Project: 10 AM – 4 PM, Paint the Community Room in the CP&J

The History & Struggle of Working People Celebration on the Plaza: 1 PM – 3 PM. Local 1199 and other Unions will have their healthy van set up along with tables with info.

Yard Sale Fundraiser: 10 AM – 2 PM, Raise money for the NCLC’s PAC Fund

The Labor’s Troubadour, Joe West, & free BBQ: 4 PM – 6 PM, Enjoy some live & local entertainment. Join us for some tasty food

For more information, contact Briana Cristo at or 505-986-9512 (9 AM-5 PM).

April 26, 2011 at 02:46 PM in Events, Holidays, Labor | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABQ City Councilor Rey Garduño Kicks Off Re-Election Campaign

ReyGardunoA120 From City Councilor Rey Garduño:

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be seeking another term as District 6 Albuquerque City Councilor! For the second time, we’ll be running publicly financed. The Clean Elections process begins on May 1st and we need your help to ensure that we qualify for public financing.

What you can do? Come door-knocking with us to gather the $5 qualifying contributions and petitions. It’s simple and easy, just ask folks to sign the qualifying form and contribute $5 to democracy. This will qualify me to run as a clean candidate for City Council District 6 this fall, and not have to take campaign contributions from special interests. All we need is 300 $5 contributions and 600 petition signatures.

Please join us on Sunday, May 1st from 10 AM-1 PM at my home, 414 Vassar NE. If you can’t join us on Sunday, come another day! The calendar is below.

Campaign Kick-off: Sunday, May 1st from 10 AM-1 PM


Monday, May 2nd from 5:30 PM-8:30PM

Tuesday, May 3rd from 5:30 PM-8:30 PM

Wednesday, May 4th from 5:30 PM-8:30 PM

Thursday, May 5th from 5:30 PM-8:30 PM

Saturday, May 7th from 11 AM-3 PM

May 8th-15th: Sunday from 12 PM-2 PM

Monday-Thursday 5:30 PM-8:30 PM

Saturday from 11 AM-3 PM

414 Vassar NE: Central & Girard, South on Girard to Campus, West on Campus to Vassar [into UNM campus], the first house on the right is 414 Vassar.

Please email us at to confirm your attendance. Thank you in advance for your dedication to democracy, to this community and my campaign!

Visit my campaign website and Facebook page.

Photo by M.E. Broderick.

April 26, 2011 at 01:51 PM in 2011 Albuquerque Municipal Election, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

5/1: Campaign Kickoff for Bill Talman's Campaign for ABQ City Council

BillTallman120 Many of you know or have met Bill Tallman at numerous political events and activities including the DFA-DFNM Meetup, state and county Democratic Party meetings and campaign fundraisers, as well as volunteering for various candidates. Now Bill has decided to take the plunge himself and is running for the office of Albuquerque City Councilor. He needs our support!

Please join hosts Sam Bregman, Ana Canales, Senator Tim Eichenberg, Karen Giannini, Cheryl Harris, Assessor Karen Montoya and Sandra P. Richardson as they help Bill Talman kick off his 2011 campaign for the District 4 seat on the Albuquerque City Council. The event takes place on Sunday, May 1st, from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM at the home of Bill and Becky Tallman, 5909 Canyon Pointe Ct. NE in Albuquerque.

Contribution levels: Host, $100; Supporter, $50; Guest, $25. Please RSVP to: or call 710-0792.

April 26, 2011 at 11:07 AM in 2011 Albuquerque Municipal Election, Events | Permalink | Comments (2)

(Updated) Hector Balderas Announces U.S. Senate Run Via Facebook, Twitter

Update: Here's what Roll Call has to say about Auditor Balderas' announcement, and an article on The Hill.
New Mexico State Auditor Hector Balderas announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate in New Mexico this morning at about 9:30 AM with updates on both Facebook and Twitter by former lieutenant governor candidate and DPNM chair Brian Colon linking to the new Balderas campaign website and video. I didn't receive a press release from the campaign about the announcement (I did later, at about 10:15 AM), but one is included on the website:

Balderas Announces Candidacy for U.S. Senate
Pledges to bring New Mexico values of respect, accountability and opportunity to Washington

Pledging to focus on fiscal responsibility, bringing people together, and creating opportunities for all New Mexicans, state Auditor Hector Balderas today announced his candidacy for the United States Senate.

In a video message to supporters filmed in his hometown of Wagon Mound, Balderas talked about the values he learned growing up the small 310-person Northern New Mexico village. "My parents and grandparents taught me early on that you have to respect one another, you have to be accountable for your actions, and that you have to lend a hand to your neighbor in need…. That's why I wanted to come back home to announce my campaign for the United States Senate, and our effort to bring more Wagon Mound values to Washington, DC."

Balderas, who brought to the Auditor's office a laser-like focus on fiscal accountability in state and local government, said he would bring that same approach to Washington. By working with Democrats and Republicans, Balderas said he would focus on fiscal responsibility so that we can invest in job creation and other programs that would help create opportunities for the next generation.

"Accountability and fiscal responsibility are not Republican words, and I'm tired of hearing them used as excuses to shortchange our children and break promises to our seniors," Balderas said. "It's about making sure we can afford to invest in our most important priorities, so that a child growing up in Wagon Mound, Albuquerque or Deming, has the same opportunity I did to work hard, play by the rules, and reach a little higher than the generation that came before."

Balderas also launched a new campaign website at and pledged to run a true grassroots campaign for the Senate. "In this campaign, I won't have the most connections in Washington. I won't be the candidate of the lobbyists or the insiders. But I'm not running to be their Senator. I'm running to be yours," Balderas said.

Balderas, who was the first person in his family to go to college and the first person from Wagon Mound to become an attorney, and served two years as a prosecutor before being elected to the NM House of Representatives in 2004. After one term in the legislature, he was elected state Auditor in 2006, becoming the youngest Hispanic statewide elected official in the nation. As Auditor, he restored fiscal accountability to state and local government, cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse. As a result of his work, his office put an end to double-billing for expenses by a Grant County Commissioner; uncovered a $3.3 million embezzlement scheme at the Jemez Mountain Public School District, the largest such case in state history; stopped lavish travel spending by Angel Fire village officials; caught $10 million in illegal overbilling by the Las Vegas city utility company; exposed the New Mexico Housing Authority’s mismanagement of taxpayer dollars and Sandoval County's multimillion dollar broadband boondoggle; and helped uncover the misuse of funds and corruption that led to the indictment of a former New Mexico Secretary of State on embezzlement and money-laundering.

In 2010, Balderas was reelected Auditor with overwhelming bipartisan support. He currently lives in Albuquerque with his wife Denise and three children Hector Reyes, Jr, Mariola and Arianna.

April 26, 2011 at 09:47 AM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Hector Balderas | |

Monday, April 25, 2011

May 6-9: Martin Heinrich Kicks Off U.S. Senate Campaign Statewide Listening Tour

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Martin Heinrich is kicking off a statewide listening tour on Friday, May 6, in Las Vegas NM. He will also be holding similar meet and greets in Espanola, Santa Fe, Silver City, Las Cruces, Roswell, Gallup and Albuquerque from May 6 thru May 9, 2011. (See schedule and RSVP below.)

As Rep. Heinrich said in an email today to supporters:

"I will hit the road to travel across New Mexico to listen to you in your hometown. I want to know what's most important to you and your family, and engage and mobilize our communities in my campaign for the United States Senate. 

"Like many families across our state, my wife Julie and I sit at the kitchen table and talk about our children’s future and how tough the path is for too many of our neighbors and friends. The fact is, a lot of middle class families in New Mexico are struggling to get by as costs continue to rise and the deck seems stacked against them. I’m looking forward to meeting face to face with hard-working New Mexicans across our state who deserve a fair shake at providing a better future for their families.

"Please join me at these events as we set out to provide everyone in this state with a prosperous future worthy of our efforts and our values.

"I hope to see you there, and please spread the word on Facebook and by forwarding this email to your family, friends, and neighbors. Together, we will continue to build a people-powered campaign."

Friday, May 6 
Las Vegas Meet and Greet Breakfast

Charlie's Spic & Span Bakery & Cafe
715 Douglas Ave, Las Vegas
9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Friday, May 6 
Española Meet and Greet

1226 N Railroad Ave, Española
2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Friday, May 6 
Santa Fe Meet and Greet

Democratic Party of Santa Fe County
1420 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe
5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 7 
Silver City Meet & Greet Breakfast 

The Drifter Restaurant
711 Silver Heights Blvd, Silver City
9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Saturday, May 7 
Las Cruces Meet & Greet Lunch 

Andele Restaurant
1950 Calle del Norte, Mesilla
12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 7 
Roswell Meet & Greet Dinner 

Roswell Country Club
2601 North Urton Road, Roswell
6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Monday, May 9 
Gallup Meet and Greet Lunch

El Rancho Hotel
1000 E. US 66, Gallup
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. 
Monday, May 9 
Albuquerque Rally

4921 Alexander Blvd, NE, Albuquerque
5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

April 25, 2011 at 05:29 PM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Events, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | Permalink | Comments (2)

Danny Hernandez Guest Blog: A Democratic Dilemma in 2012 U.S. Senate Primary in NM

DannyHernandez This is a guest blog by Danny Hernandez, who is a member of the Albuquerque flood control board and has long been active in Democratic Party politics, as well as community organizing.

At a recent National Association of Office and Industrial Properties (NAIOP) monthly luncheon, where attendance was at its highest because Albuquerque Mayor RJ Berry was giving his state of the City presentation, the first VIP (usually reserved for elected officials) to be announced was Jon Barela. During his presentation, Mayor Berry brought up Barela’s name at least a dozen times.

Some time into the presentation, Bernalillo County Assessor Karen Montoya turned to me and whispered, “His name was mentioned fifteen times. He’s running for something!”

How right she was. The prominent announcement and the repetitive shout outs by NAIOP’s biggest draw were all orchestrated to send a message: This is our guy! Pay attention to and support our guy!!

We Democrats don’t do well with orchestrated messages -- or orchestrated or coordinated anything. We argue all day on the color of the tablecloth for a national conference (meaning: an insignificant detail) and, after the decision has been made, we want to continue to argue. 

So it is and will be with the campaign for the Senate seat soon to be vacated by Jeff Bingaman. Nineteen months out and we have two prominent candidates: First Congressional District Representative Martin Heinrich and New Mexico State Auditor Hector Balderas

I know both these men, respect them both, consider both friends and I strongly believe either will represent New Mexico, and Democratic values, well in whatever office they hold -– which epitomizes the dilemma we Democrats face between now and June 5, 2012. 

We have two great leaders here. For the intent of this column, there is no issue with the positions they take on issues important to me and most New Mexican Democrats. Let’s not quibble about who would be better for the environment, LGBT, abortion, immigration and other so-called wedge issues. In my mind, they are about equal when all these important issues are weighed -– and either would be better than his Republican opponent on any of these issues. 

This is key because I believe that where we need to be focusing on right now is who can win on November 8. 

Strengths and Weaknesses
Martin Heinrich comes into the primary contest with the closest thing to incumbency. He’ll have three and a half years of D.C. experience and all that goes with it. This means he’ll understand the issues from the inside out, something that is hard to learn from outside the Beltway. From his position as U.S. Congressman, he’ll also have the power to raise lots of money. In addition, as we’re seeing already, he’s drawing from a supporter base that sees him as practically anointed. 

On the down side for the Heinrich camp is his Anglo roots. Yes, this works in Albuquerque, but it was a struggle to get it to work in the South Valley (his ’10 campaign was a case-study on how to do it right!) and it will be a greater struggle in El Norte. I don’t think “Heinrich” will play well up north. Heinrich also has no statewide campaigning experience. (Running Cisco McSorley’s Land Commission primary campaign doesn’t count at this level.) 

Hector Balderas, on the other hand, will have El Norte all sewn up. Not only is he a native Hispanic Nuevo Mexicano, but he hails from Wagon Mound. He’s also run two state-wide races for himself. The Brian Colón factor will open primary election supporter doors (not to mention bring along preprimary convention voters). 

Balderas won’t be able to raise as much as Heinrich. But, with master fundraiser Colón in his corner, he may surprise us with his first quarter contributions tally.  

On the down side for Balderas is that his two state-wide campaigns were down ballot -– which is not the same as running for the very top of the ballot. Perhaps some of what Colón learned about being at the top of the ticket will transfer to Balderas. 

He’s a smart guy (both are) who understands local politics and is well educated on how Washington is supposed to work. That’s very different than having been there. Heinrich can speak authoritatively about many issues Hector will only understand academically. This is not a slight on Balderas and does not take away from his ability to lead once in DC. This is to point out that Heinrich will come off as better understanding certain issues. This would be particularly important if Wilson, who is a brilliant policy wonk, gets the GOP nod. 

Sometimes It’s Paper / Rock / Scissors
This was the situation in 2008. Nobody would argue that Tom Udall’s camp breathed a little easier when they heard he drew Steve Pearce, over more centrist Heather Wilson, as his opponent. A couple of weeks after the primary, Wilson quipped with me that the only person more relieved than Jay (her husband) about her loss was Tom. 

But the Republican Party bounced back in 2010. Presumably learning from its 2010 mistake, it nominated Hispanic Susana Martinez over extreme-right, former Party Chair, Anglo Allen Weh. 

I know we Democrats dislike thinking about the race card, but in a state where we Hispanics make up nearly 50 percent of the population, race is a real factor. Martinez beat Diane Denish, in part, because her Hispanic roots captured enough normally (or is that “nominally”) Democratic Hispanic voters. 

From the race card perspective, a Heinrich / Wilson or Balderas / John Sanchez contest would play very differently than a Heinrich / Sanchez or a Balderas / Wilson contest, especially in El Norte. From a Democratic perspective, a Balderas / Wilson race would be preferable to a Heinrich / Sanchez race because Sanchez will take some of that 80-some-odd percentage Democratic-performing El Norte from Heinrich. 

National Support
There is no doubt that, all things being equal, a Congressman will get all sorts national support over his or her opponent in a Senate race –- and Heinrich already is getting some of that support, but not all of it. 

Where all things are not equal brings us back to the race card. With New Jersey’s Bob Menendez not seeking reelection, Balderas is likely to be the only credible Democratic Hispanic running for the U.S. Senate in 2012. Hispanic organizations nationwide will pull out all the stops to support him. 

Let’s decide
This leaves us Democrats with a hard decision to make. 

Both Balderas and Heinrich are good on the issues; they’re both smart, charismatic campaigners and they’ll both serve us well in D.C. Balderas has an edge over winning El Norte votes, but Heinrich is in a position to raise more money. Many Democrats already perceive Heinrich as the heir apparent. Both will attract national support, but Balderas will attract more national attention. 

So the question we need to ask ourselves is: “Which candidate is most likely to win the November 8 general election?”

Then support him to the best of our ability. 

This is a guest blog by Danny Hernandez.

Guest blogs are designed to provide readers with an opportunity to express their views on relevant progressive issues, candidates and campaigns. The Democracy for New Mexico blog does not necessarily agree or disagree with the guest blogs we publish. 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.

April 25, 2011 at 01:46 PM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Guest Blogger, Hector Balderas, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | |

(Updated) No 2012 U.S. Senate Run for Rep. Ben Ray Luján


Update: A spokesman for Rep. Lujan made the following statement to David Catanese about his decision not to enter the U.S. Senate race:

"I appreciate the outpouring of support I have received while traveling around New Mexico these past few months, and my focus will continue to remain on serving the hard-working men and women of New Mexico — fighting to turn our economy around, put people back to work, and move our state forward. After careful consideration, I have decided that I will not seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate race. I look forward to building on my work as Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ BOLD PAC and as a member of the DCCC’s recruiting committee to recruit strong candidates who reflect the growing diversity of our country and who will be a part of our effort to take back the House. With BOLD PAC’s historic first quarter fundraising numbers and Census numbers showing the growth in the Hispanic community across the country, I am excited about the favorable position we will be in to energize Hispanic voters and help elect strong Democratic candidates."
According to a Politico story today by David Catanese, Congressman Ben Ray Luján (NM-03) has decided not to toss his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2012:

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján has told party leaders in New Mexico he will not run for U.S. Senate, POLITICO has learned.

Luján, currently in his second term, had been seriously considering running for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, but Rep. Martin Heinrich's ability to quickly coalesce the support of national Democrats likely weighed heavily on his decision.

Instead, Rep. Luján will reportedly run for re-election for his U.S. House seat in NM-03, a heavily Democratic district in Northern New Mexico.

Quoting anonymous Dem sources, Catanese also wrote:

Heinrich, also in his second term, became the first Democrat to enter the contest on April 2, just after the conclusion of the first fundraising quarter. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chair Patty Murray heaped praise on Heinrich during a briefing with reporters and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees endorsed him just last week.

"There was a pretty big message being sent," said one Democrat familiar with Luján's calculation.

In addition, Luján would be risking more than Heinrich if he pursued a run. While the 3rd Congressional District is a safe Democratic seat, Heinrich's Albuquerque seat is competitive. At just 38 years old, Lujan might be thinking he'll have another shot at a Senate seat one day.

"He could sit in his seat until he's chair of a committee or maybe even in House leadership," noted a Luján ally.

Rep. Luján currently serves as a Second Vice Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He's also a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Natural Gas Caucus, the Native American Caucus and the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. Rep. Luján sits on the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the Committee on Natural Resources.

Catanese also noted that Rep. Luján's decision won't necessarily prevent a Dem primary contest for the Senate seat:

State Auditor Hector Balderas has already filed paperwork for a campaign and is expected to formally announce his bid this week.

While Balderas will go into the primary the underdog, his ties within the Hispanic community provides him with a natural base to build from. In addition, he's proven to be an effective vote-getter. In 2010, Balderas outperformed Heinrich in his district by five points and Luján in his district by two points.

Rep. Martin Heinrich was the top fundraiser among New Mexico's incumbent House members in the first quarter this year, raising a total of $343,500. He has $349,800 cash on hand in his congressional campaign account and all of it can be transferred to his Senate account now that he's decided to enter that race. He declared his candidacy on April 2.

Photo by M.E. Broderick.

To read earlier posts about the 2012 U.S. Senate race in New Mexico, visit our archive.

April 25, 2011 at 01:00 PM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Hector Balderas, NM-03 Congressional Race 2012, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | |

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