Thursday, February 09, 2012
Former Lt. Governor Diane Denish Endorses Michelle Lujan Grisham for Congress
“Today, I am proud to endorse Michelle Lujan Grisham for Congress,” said Denish in a statement. “I know firsthand of her extensive commitment to the people of our state, especially those most vulnerable, our seniors and our children. Having watched Michelle take on powerful interests when they threaten to harm our families and seen her advocate for regular people on a daily basis, I have no doubt she will take that same dedication and tenacity to Congress.”
In her statement, Denish stressed the need for the next representative of the first district to do what is best for the taxpayers of central New Mexico. Saying, “We need a tough, fearless champion for the people in Congress. We need someone who will check her ego at the door and put others first. Michelle is that person. As a County Commissioner, she is taking on politics as usual and winning—bringing jobs, accountability, transparency and ethics reform to County Government while putting the brakes on political perks.”
Denish went on to outline Lujan Grisham’s qualifications as a candidate: “What makes Michelle the best candidate in the race? Simply the facts that 1) she is the most qualified candidate on the issues facing the country today: creating jobs, health care and making government work for regular folks. 2) Michelle has the broadest experience of all of the candidates in this race – Democrats and Republicans. 3) Michelle can win in November when the Republicans come after this Congressional Seat.”
After receiving the news of the endorsement, Lujan Grisham said the following: “Diane Denish is one of New Mexico’s most respected and successful individuals, both in the public and private sector. I am honored and humbled to have earned the support of someone held in such high esteem. Today is a very exciting day for our campaign.”
About Diane Denish: Diane Denish is the first woman to be elected as New Mexico’s Lt. Governor, serving in that office from 2003 to 2011. Ms. Denish is a graduate of the University of New Mexico and a small business owner. Along with serving two terms as Lt. Governor, she also served as Chair of the Children's Cabinet, the Democratic Party of New Mexico, the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority, the Health Care for New Mexicans Council, and Co-Chair of the New Mexico Commission for Community Volunteerism.
About Michelle Lujan Grisham: Michelle Lujan Grisham is running for the open seat for New Mexico’s First Congressional District. Lujan Grisham is endorsed by thousands of New Mexico residents, EMILY’s List's "On the List", the Women’s Campaign Fund, PODER PAC, the New Mexico Pharmacists Association, the National Women's Political Caucus, OPEIU, and WAND: Women’s Action for New Directions Education Fund. She currently sits on the Board of County Commissioners for Bernalillo County.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
9/18: Join Diane Denish for Sunday Sushi & Teriyaki Fundraiser for Balderas for Senate
From Balderas for Senate:
Join former Lt. Governor Diane D. Denish for Sunday Sushi & Teriyaki in support of Hon. Hector Balderas, Candidate for the United States Senate, on Sunday, September 18. Hosted by Hyang Mi Yi and Andrew P. Ortiz, the event takes place from 5:00 to 7:00 PM at the Sumo Sushi Japanese Restaurant located at 800 Third Street NW in Albuquerque.
Minimum Contribution $250 per person, $500 per couple. For RSVP and details contact email@example.com. Checks should be made payable to "Balderas for New Mexico" and can be mailed to PO Box 27754, Albuquerque, NM 87125. Donations can also be made online.
Monday, August 15, 2011
A Free-Wheeling Conversation With Diane Denish: Part 2
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?
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!
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 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.
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?
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 20, 2011
A Free-Wheeling Conversation With Diane Denish: Part 1
This past Friday we had an opportunity to sit down in an informal setting with former Lt. Governor and 2010 Democratic gubernatorial candidate , and hear her in-depth, off-the-cuff thoughts on a wide variety of issues. It was a very satisfying -- and fun -- hour-and-a half-plus of conversation with Diane who, as usual, was all down home, direct and good at both the give and take of the discussion at hand. She spoke her mind, no holds barred.
We hope you'll enjoy sharing the high points of our interview, broken down according to topic. We think it's definitely worth a read. And thanks much, Diane. Any time.
Today, we're providing part 1 of the interview, covering 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.
Still to come in part 2, Diane discusses the Susana Martinez administration, the congressional races in CD1 and CD2, Democratic messaging and the media. Stay tuned.
U.S. SENATE RACE
DFNM: You came out relatively early to endorse Hector Balderas in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in New Mexico. Why?
DD: Because I think he can keep the seat for us. I think he can win statewide. I know that he helped me a lot in my campaign for governor, and I believe in that. I don't think there's too much difference on the issues between our Democratic candidates. I, for one, think a Democratic primary is very healthy. I'm the poster girl for that because if there's only one candidate, as there was in the Dem primary for governor, it's much easier for the Republicans and media to continually pick on that candidate.
I think Hector's gonna run a hell of a race. I think there's a craving for Democrats to elect good Hispanics, and I just feel that craving -- and feel we are losing that battle to the Republicans across the country. I think Hector can represent us well. You know, it's harder to be a pro-choice Hispanic Democrat from the north than to be a pro-choice Anglo Dem in the SE heights. It takes a lot of courage and I respect that about Hector.
As for Martin Heinrich, he has been my city councilor and he did a good job. I wish he had stayed and fought to keep the CD1 congressional seat again because I think it's gonna be hard to keep that seat.
I think both Hector and Martin are good campaigners. They're both pretty low key. However, I have to say that I think in their Senate announcement videos, Hector just blew Martin away. I found the imagery in Martin's video confusing, while I think Hector did a good job of just being in front of that camera and saying, "I want to be your US Senator."
DFNM: Does it bother you that if Martin loses the Senate primary he may well be out of politics for good? He had to give up his congressional seat to run.
DD: He's got plenty of time to come back. People lose races. Look at Tom Udall, who lost for Congress, came back as attorney general and then ran for Congress and won. There will be opportunities down the road for Martin if he should lose the primary or the general.
Politics has changed in a way that's not going to allow people to be in office for 35 years at a stretch, anyway. The pendulum is swinging too rapidly. Senators Bingaman and Domenici held their offices for decades, but I don't believe that will happen anymore.
The recent Citizens United Supreme Court ruling regarding money in politics is a real threat to democracy, and is already changing how we connect and elect people. And the Supreme Court also just ruled against some important aspects of public financing. The court is ruling against the very things that allow you to have a more level playing field in elections. Big outside money can more easily take down a candidate -- even an incumbent.
DFNM: Your endorsement of Hector has prompted some criticism as well as praise, as was evident in comment thread discussions on the DFNM blog. Your response?
I think people who didn't like the endorsement know that it has influence. Some people appreciate that and others don't. But I meant what I said. What we have to do is keep the seat in the long run and -- regardless of who wins -- we have to do that.
I think people might be surprised how much support there really is out there for Hector. Regular people often come up to me and thank me for endorsing him. We went to the Democratic Party SCC meeting, and the buzz was Hector's -- every bit of it. I also did my own anecdotal survey on candidate stickers. I asked people who were wearing Balderas stickers whether someone had just stuck them on them or if they really were supporting Hector. I found out that everyone I asked really was for him -- from Gallup, Las Cruces, everywhere. Hector has been a very active person within the Dem Party for years -- and he and his people had organized well around the SCC meeting. Remember, almost every single one of those people at the SCC meeting will be voting delegates at the pre-primary convention.
I think a Democratic Senate primary will be a healthy thing, and then let the two winners go at it. That gives us a fighting chance -- an opportunity for our candidate to get strong before the general election battles and hone the skills needed to fight it out with the Republican candidate. Our Hispanic base and our base in general are just craving somebody that is gonna stand up to the right wing on many issues.
We need to fight it out. We need to have good honest primaries but, at the end of the day, we're gonna hold onto these seats. I'll be the first person up there working for that. Let's go get 'em.
DFNM: One unfortunate thing we've seen is a backdrop of bigotry in some parts of the Democratic party on LGBT issues like repealing DOMA and marriage equality. Certain politicos, like Susana Martinez and others, have used that to gain support from so-called conservative Dems. I'm fearful that Hector and others might be tempted to use that tactic to gain additional support, but I certainly hope not. We think it's essential that all Dem candidates speak out about these issues in terms of they're being classic constitutional and civil rights -- not religious -- issues. What's your take?
DD: I don't know where Hector stands on the DOMA stuff. These are questions the candidates need to answer and then people can make up their own minds.
There's been a lot of interference by the church on this issue, and I do give credit to Bill Richardson for really fighting it out. I noticed some commenters on my op-ed piece on Heath Haussamen's blog saying that I am anti-gay. Actually, as lieutenant governor, I provided some tie-breaking votes in the Senate that laid the groundwork for the later fights on domestic partnerships -- on hate crimes and little steps along the way. I have to say that Bill never flinched and he came so close until, at the end of the day, the Archbishop betrayed us rather than staying neutral as he had promised on civil unions.
DARREN WHITE CONTROVERSY
(White had not yet resigned when this interview took place.)
DFNM: It can be hard to keep up with all the day-to-day intrigues related to Albuquerque Public Safety Director Darren White’s behavior in response to his wife’s recent one-car accident but it certainly appears to many observers that, at the very least, standard policies were not followed. What’s your take on how this is playing out? Is White right in stating that he’s being crucified by the media? What should happen next?
DD: I don't feel sorry for him. You know, none of us would be treated the way he and his wife were treated. If I'd been stopped in similar circumstances I would have been in handcuffs and on my way to the slammer. I don't mind him showing up at the scene of the accident, but they should have gone thru the procedural stuff in a proper manner.
Darren White has used the media his entire life and now to blame them for doing their job is not really appropriate and it doesn't smell right. It's like there's some real cognitive dissonance in there so I think it needs a full investigation that's truly independent. As for Mayor Richard Berry, I think the he has been absent in his leadership on this issue. He should have immediately suspended White for one thing.
I think Public Safety Director is a natural choice for budget cutting. It's not a necessary position and if you're gong to go cutting budgets that would be a good place to begin. Let the chief of police be the chief of police.
DFNM: Watching the situation play out, one has to wonder, who is runnning the city of Albuquerque?
DD: I know. I think there's a lot yet to unfold and the net will continue to reach wider. Just the fact that one of the policemen involved has hired a lawyer seems to be suspect. There's gong to be a lot of pressure for White to resign and I think he should resign as Public Safety Director, as well as from his appointment by Gov. Susana Martinez to the state's Judicial Standards Commission. Even before this incident, I thought White was too biased to serve on the Commission because he ran campaigns against judges. The appointment was a political payoff by Martinez for his help during her campaign for governor.
ALBUQUERQUE MAYOR RICHARD BERRY
DFNM: What do you think of Mayor Berry's responses during the whole film industry debate?
What response? Many of those jobs are right here in Albuquerque and Mayor Berry should have expressed his hope that they could work something out to keep those jobs growing as they have. They have a film office. But he was absent during the debate and battles.
Berry ought to be joining with the chambers of commerce and retailers on saving the Rail Runner too. After all, the people who ride that Rail Runner come down here and spend money, and many of the people who ride up there live here. The money they save on commuting can be spent in the communities if they use the train every day. I think there are some creative solutions to obtain better financing for the Rail Runner. Berry should be standing up for those, defending Albuquerque's interests instead of putting loyalties to Gov. Martinez first.
He might not want to be at odds with the governor on things like the Rail Runner and film industry tax rebates, but his job is to stand up for the city of Albuquerque and to help the city grow and prosper. He can be very diplomatic guy. He could have used those skills and worked harder to try to protect the city's interests. Unfortunately, he wouldn't speak up -- and that's his job as mayor -- to say we need those jobs.
DEBT CEILING, JOBS
DFNM: There’s a lot of anger nationally and locally about this jobless so-called recovery. Many believe too much emphasis has been placed on our debt and not enough on job creation. Do you agree?
DD: I hope the President stays tough and doesn't give in to what amounts to blackmail on the GOP side. I did hear the President this morning -- we do have to have a balanced budget, but first of all we need more revenue generation and jobs. We need to do things like close corporate loopholes. I hear lots of people with lots of money saying they wouldn't mind paying more taxes to help the nation in this downturn.
Small towns are dying. We need a strong infrastructure package, a New Deal approach that really works, and adequate revenues to carry that out. If I were President (ahem), I would call all the heads of the military and say to them, "this $800 billion budget is a dinosaur and I want you to cut it by $400 billion." Draw a line in the sign on any extension of war funding and any tax cuts at all. These are my two things. They know the military budget is a dinosaur, battleships and other outdated stuff we don't need. Post-Cold War, post-911, it's a very different fight. Let's concentrate on that.
Why don't we take some of that money and put it into veterans services? Health care for vets. Health care is an excellent job creator, yet we never seem to look at that. In studies, health care is always the number one job creator. A recent study reports that there are now more Americans -- I think it was 52% -- over 50 years old or whatever for first time in our history. We'd better be paying attention because most of those people are going to live a long time and need care.
Ironically, immigration really isn't an issue anymore because nobody's coming here. There are no jobs.
FRACKING AND MINING
DFNM: We were in Dubois, Wyoming recently and fracking was the big issue. Now, Wyoming is a pretty conservative state and yet the state was fighting against it, while the feds -- the BLM and Forest Service -- were for it. These are Obama's agencies. What's going on?
DD: I've heard that the problem is that while Obama has replaced the Bush people at the top of the agencies, Bush appointees are still very active in the bureaucratic levels below the top. Fracking is going to be a huge issue. Obama hasn't done a very good job of getting rid of the previous people in someof these agencies. I have to say that Bruce Babbitt really got on Obama about his timidity in terms of conservation and the environment.
It's crazy. For instance, they're trying to reopen a copper mine in New Mexico -- Copper Flats near Hillsboro -- and they would use two million gallons of water a day in the mining! Hillsboro uses a million a year. People in Sierra County have formed a coalition against the reopening and are trying to figure it out. Fracking and certain other new mining techniques use way too much water, and many operations are poisoning the water tables that provide drinking water to communities. We can't have that.
I recently visited a village in Costa Rica. It was very evident that there is a huge commitment to the environment and conservation that permeates down to ordinary people. It's not just an abstract issue. You can see it in operation among ordinary people in the country. For example, we had a situation where sugar ants were marching in a long line into the house. Their solution was to run a line of honey back out through the window.
They don't use any chemicals. Everybody's garbage is off the ground, neatly packed up. They are very, very careful about water use. They have established many conservation districts. It's not just the big guys who are involved in these effort -- it's happening all through their culture and that's what you want -- everyone working together on a common goal.
DFNM: I think that's what people were craving in the last election -- that we could all do something together to work on our problems. But it just stopped and we're back to the money again. Obama has said he needs $2 billion to run for president.
DD: It frightens me to how much we're spending on campaigns. When my father ran for the U.S. senate in 1972, he raised a million dollars and we thought we had struck the motherlode. We raised more than $8 million in our campaign for governor, and other people spent more than $4 million, which means that $13 million was spent on our campaign alone. My dad is probably is still spinning in his grave about that. He was like a penny pincher compared to how things are done today. And you think of what else could be done with that money at a time when everything's getting cut.
We're never gonna get anyplace on getting the money out of politics until the electronic media get on board. Big campaign spending on TV ads provides a full-time profit-margin for all of them, the networks. The rates are awful, but the local stations will tell you that they would have lost money except for election spending. So they're not going to be out there pushing for reducing spending on campaigns. We have to be the ones to do it.
Photos of Diane Denish on the gubernatorial campaign trail by M.E. Broderick. Click on images for larger versions.
July 20, 2011 at 03:27 PM in 2012 NM Senate Race, City of Albuquerque, Darren White, Democratic Party, Diane Denish, Energy, Environment, Hector Balderas, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | Permalink | Comments (8)
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Hector Balderas Announces Diane Denish Endorsement for U.S. Senate
During a conference call with media and bloggers today, State Auditor Hector Balderas announced that , former New Mexico Lt. Governor and 2010 Democratic nominee for Governor, is endorsing his campaign for U.S. Senate. The Balderas campaign later released a statement about the endorsement, noting that Denish cited "his record of bringing accountability to government in order to invest in education and economic opportunity" as being a major reason for her support.
In an email to supporters Denish said, "The Senate needs more leaders like Hector Balderas. Leaders who reject the premise that 'fiscal responsibility' and 'accountability' are Republican words. Leaders who recognize that typical Washington, D.C. insider politics will not solve the problems that are hurting the hardworking families of New Mexico. I'm confident that leader is Hector Balderas."
"As both a statewide elected official and candidate, I know firsthand that to represent everybody in New Mexico you must understand our communities and their diversity. Hector Balderas understands New Mexico because he is the embodiment of what is possible here. The first person in his family to go to college and the first from his town to become an attorney, Hector is one of the New Mexico's great sons. I know he will be one of New Mexico's great leaders when he represents us in the United States Senate," Denish continued.
"I'm humbled that Diane Denish, a trailblazer for women and one of New Mexico's most dedicated public officials, has endorsed my candidacy for United States Senate. We're building a true grassroots campaign and Diane is a great addition to our team," Balderas said.
The Balderas campaign also noted that, "This major endorsement comes on the heels of the Balderas campaign announcing second quarter fundraising numbers that far exceeded expectations and a poll showing Balderas well positioned to beat any of the Republican candidates in the general election. Diane joins 34 state and local elected officials from across New Mexico who have endorsed Hector Balderas for Senate."
Full text of the Diane Denish email is below:
As New Mexico Democrats, we have a choice next year for who we want to represent us in the race for United States Senate. And while I have tremendous respect for both candidates, today I'm excited to share the news that my choice is Hector Balderas!
Why? Our country and state face tremendous challenges. Too many New Mexicans are looking for work. Too many of our communities are struggling. And too many people in Washington think the answer is to go back to the policies that got us into this mess in the first place.
So when Hector asked me for my help, I didn't hesitate because he has proven to be a different kind of leader. And the Senate needs more leaders like Hector Balderas. Leaders who reject the premise that "fiscal responsibility" and "accountability" are Republican words. Leaders who recognize that typical Washington, D.C. insider politics will not solve the problems that are hurting the hardworking families of New Mexico.
I'm confident Hector Balderas is that leader.
Watching Hector campaign for Senate has been inspiring. His message of bringing Wagon Mound values to our nation's capital is not mere rhetoric, but, rather, a deep seeded understanding that the values that make New Mexico great -- hard work, respect, lending a hand to a neighbor in need, and determination -- are values Washington desperately needs.
And I've seen Hector stay true to these principles while serving the people of New Mexico. During Hector's time as State Auditor -- our state's fiscal watchdog -- he has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to ensuring that taxpayer dollars are treated with the respect and accountability they deserve, so that we can invest in education and creating economic opportunity for all New Mexicans.
As both a statewide elected official and candidate, I know firsthand that to represent everybody in New Mexico you must understand our communities and their diversity. Hector Balderas understands New Mexico because he is the embodiment of what is possible here. The first person in his family to go to college and the first from his town to become an attorney, Hector is one of the New Mexico's great sons. I know he will be one of New Mexico's great leaders when he represents us in the United States Senate.
No one can really fill the shoes of our Senator Jeff Bingaman. But with our help, yours and mine, Hector Balderas will be a Senator that honors Jeff's legacy while blazing a new path towards opportunity and prosperity for all of New Mexico's diverse communities.
Please join me in supporting Hector's candidacy for the United States Senate. You won't regret it and we will keep the Senate seat in 2012!
Diane D. Denish
P.S. Recent polls show Hector leading both Heather Wilson and John Sanchez, but trailing in the primary because he is not as well known as his opponent. Please sign up for Hector's campaign and help us spread the message! I believe Hector is our best bet for holding this Senate seat -- but only with your help!
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Defenders Action Fund Poll: Martin Heinrich Tops in NM Senate Dem Primary
Rep. Martin Heinrich (D, NM-01) would win the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, according to a new statewide poll of New Mexicans released today by the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund (DAF). The poll shows that in a hypothetical four-way matchup between Heinrich, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D, NM-03), former Lieutenant Governor and State Auditor Hector Balderas, Heinrich would win the nomination with 32% of the vote:
Martin Heinrich 32%
Diane Denish 25%
Ben Ray Lujan 15%
Hector Balderas 5%
About 24% of those polled were undecided. Click to see the polling memo (pdf).
“Although it is early in the process, it is clear that New Mexico’s Democratic voters like what they see in Martin Heinrich,” said DAF President Rodger Schlickeisen. “We do too and we urge him to consider running. To be sure, we would be one of his strongest supporters if he enters the race, much as we backed then-Rep. Tom Udall, another conservation champion, when he ran for the Senate in 2008.”
“Based on our recent statewide survey, Martin Heinrich is the best positioned candidate to win the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. He has a solid lead in a field where we tested several other well-known Democrats, and his support is both broad and deep as Heinrich leads with both younger and older voters as well as with both men and women,” said Ben Tulchin, President of Tulchin Research, which conducted the poll for DAF.
DAF has played a significant role in New Mexico during the last two elections cycles. In 2008, it worked to elect Tom Udall to the Senate and Martin Heinrich to the House, while also helping the Obama campaign win the state. In 2010, DAF was there again to help re-elect Martin Heinrich in NM-01, as well as mounting a campaign to assist Rep. Harry Teague in NM-02, with a major independent expenditure campaign.
The statewide telephone survey was conducted from March 8 to March 10, 2011 by Tulchin Research in New Mexico among 213 likely 2012 Democratic voters. Interviews were conducted by live professional callers. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 6.71 percentage points.
The (Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund) provides a powerful voice in Washington to Americans who value our conservation heritage. Through grassroots lobbying, issue advocacy and political campaigns, the Action Fund champions those laws and lawmakers that protect wildlife and wild places while working against those that do them harm.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
NM Government Sunshine Portal to Launch Thursday
Up and running! The state’s new on-line website where the public can easily discover all sorts of interesting things about state government financing and spending is being launched this week ahead of its deadline. A hands-on demonstration of the official accountability and transparency portal for New Mexico State Government will take place at a news conference on Thursday at 9:30 AM at the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce in Albuquerque, according to a statement released by the New Mexico Legislature.
Participants will include State Senator Sander Rue, Sponsor of SB 195 (New Mexico Transparency Act); Marlin Mackey, Cabinet Secretary of the Dept. of Information Technology; Steve Schroeder, President and CEO of RealTimeSites; and Sarah Welch, NM Foundation for Open Government (FOG).
On the Sunshine Portal, the public can find such things as:
- Does the government department responsible for creating jobs buy locally to help local business or does it have mostly out-of-state vendors?
- Are New Mexico investments making or losing money?
- Which construction company has the most lucrative highway contracts?
- Do New Mexico small businesses have a fair share of state contracts or do most of the contracts go to the larger businesses?
Soon the public can go on-line to the state’s Sunshine Portal to access this and other relevant information about state finances and operations with search and detailed drill-down capabilities. While the website will be up and running ahead of its July 1, 2011 deadline, the state is calling it a “beta release” that gives the media and members of the public the opportunity to use the website now and offer suggestions for improvements and feedback about any glitches to the Department of Information Technology.
State Senator Sander Rue (R-Albuquerque-23), who sponsored the Sunshine Portal Transparency Act that authorized the new website, said, “With the click of a mouse, the public can more actively participate in its state government. This one-stop shop website allows members of the public to more readily and easily become engaged in how government runs with our tax dollars. I am excited about having more eyes examining the operation of government because I believe that will lead to more government efficiencies and savings. I hope our new website becomes a “favorite” on many computers.”
Features of the website include:
- Annual operating budgets for each state agency with monthly expenditures by category.
- The State Investment Council’s monthly summary of state investments.
- A directory of all employee positions, titles and salaries.
- The revenue the state has received by type such as: tax, fee, fine.
- The State’s check ledger: regular updates of the state’s cash balances.
SB 195, which was passed during the 2010 session of the New Mexico Legislature, was co-sponsored by Sen. Sander Rue (R-Albuquerque) and Rep. Nate Cote (D-Las Cruces). The legislation was strongly supported by Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, who worked hard to gain bipartisan support for the measure. Lt. Gov. Denish also signed the bill on March 5, 2010, while serving as Acting Governor.
The Albuquerque-based RealTimeSites software company designed and developed the Sunshine Portal.
Monday, November 08, 2010
How Much DID the Albuquerque Journal Help Susana Martinez and What Should We Do About It?
There has been widespread grumbling about the Albuquerque Journal's political coverage leading up to the November 2nd election, as well as criticism about the process used to determine the paper's endorsements this year. The critiques have focused on problems like the paper's tendency to conflate news and opinion in its UpFront columns by Thomas J. Cole on the front page, its choice of headlines that sometimes had little to do with the content of the articles and its failure to clearly identify personnel affiliated with the right-wing Rio Grande Foundation when their writing is published in the paper's editorial section.
Other problems relate to the paper's prominent placement of articles favorable to Republican candidates, while burying articles with positive news about Democrats. Sometimes the problems center on what the paper doesn't cover, as much as what it does.
We've long known that the Journal's publishers lean hard right. However, this year that slant was apparent to many in the paper's news coverage -- especially regarding the race for governor -- as well as on the editorial pages where it belongs.
Tessier Probes Journal Bias
discusses a number of these problems in her recent hard-hitting piece entitled, "The Push for the Nation’s First Hispanic Female Governor" on the Albuquerque Journal Watch blog. Tessier, who worked for the Journal as a reporter, photographer, columnist, editor, editorial writer and editorial page editor from 1974 to 2005, as both a staff member (20 years) and freelancer, lays out how the Journal's coverage of the 2010 New Mexico governor race was often clearly biased towards Republican Susana Martinez, the eventual winner:
Before it outright endorsed her in an editorial, the Journal had already exhibited signs it was deliberately advocating for eventual winner Susana Martinez – through Thom Cole UpFront columns, other front-page stories and pro-GOP national wire stories. Support was conveyed also via the Journal’s debate reportage, its choice of headlines, and in pertinent information left out of stories.
Before Martinez had even won the GOP primary there were indications the Journal was going to oppose Denish, no matter who the GOP nominee would be.
The article then goes into some of the many ways in which the Journal coverage skewed towards support of Martinez. For instance:
Traditionally, the Journal covered candidate platforms like this. But it didn’t cover Denish’s announcement – a significant plan, considering the Legislature had predicted a shortfall of that amount just months before. The Santa Fe New Mexican covered Denish’s plan as soon as it was released. But on the day the Journal normally would have run it, the story in the Journal instead was “Weh Sues State Over Redacted Denish Files.” Those who read the story would learn that GOP candidate Allen Weh’s beef was with the Department of Finance and Administration over some public documents from Denish’s office, rather than an issue with Denish. But the implication was that Denish had done something fishy.
The Journal held off on running Denish’s platform until July, when it packaged it together with comments from Martinez.
The Denish platform rarely was mentioned after that. Even when the Sunday Journal ran its full-length profiles of the two history-making female candidates, the only reference to Denish’s plan was three lines in the in the bullet-point list that ran at the end of her profile under the label “Budget.”
More Example of Right-Wing Slant
Tessier also points out specific examples of the Journal's slanted coverage on the gubernatorial candidate debates, its headlines and story placement and a couple of Thomas J. Cole's biased UpFront columns.
Tessier's article also demonstrates how different the Journal's coverage of certain stories was compared to that of the New Mexico Independent and how the stories would have been handled in the Albuquerque Tribune, which ceased publication in February 2008:
Especially in these recent weeks, I was reminded of the absence of the Albuquerque Tribune, and was struck by how different the election looked when reading the New Mexico Independent. It was the Independent that first disclosed that Martinez received $20,000 from a Texas oil man who had crassly joked about rape. After the Independent’s disclosure – and calls from the Denish campaign for Martinez to return the money – Martinez donated the funds to a rape crisis center. This ran two days later on the Journal’s Elections page – not unusual for a “catch up” story. But its impact would have been different if the story had run on the front page – as it essentially did in the Independent (and as it likely would have run in the Albuquerque Tribune.)
Another factor Tessier examines is the Journal's front-page profile of Denish's husband, Herb, while neglecting to provide any coverage about Martinez's spouse. It also discusses the Journal's rehash of negative stories on Governor Bill Richardson in the weeks before the election that served to support Martinez's repetitive talking points that sought to portray Governor Richardson and Lt. Gov. Diane Denish as virtually the same person:
I would submit that the Journal buttressed that impression by running a number of stories critical of Richardson as the campaign neared its end.
... perhaps the electorate would have thrown out Denish even without the Journal’s encouragement. But in the absence of an unbiased “leading newspaper” in New Mexico, that’s something we’ll never know.
I strongly encourage you to read the Tessier's and pass it on to others who are concerned about the lack of a statewide source of genuine fair and balanced news -- not just the Fox News version that the Journal currently offers. While you're over there, be sure to check out previous posts that point out the Journal's shortfalls and biases, as well as some of its positive contributions by various reporters.
What Should We Do?
There's lots of discussion in political circles right now about the best way to protest the Journal's sharp and transparent shift to the right in both local and national news coverage. Many folks have already cancelled their subscriptions, others are discussing a possible organized effort to get people to unsubscribe and boycott Journal advertisers en masse and others, at the very least, believe we should be complaining loudly to the Journal every time its right-wing bias is detected in its news coverage, and demanding changes. What do you think?
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Text and Video of Diane Denish Concession Speech
The following are Diane Denish's remarks from earlier this evening, when she gave her concession speech at Hotel Andaluz to so many hard-working Democrats. Click for a video of her speech.
How about Brian Colon? I couldn’t have asked for a better running mate. He was a great infusion of energy on the campaign trail and he truly cares about the people of New Mexico. He has a great future ahead of him!
I want to thank my family for standing with me and allowing me to fight this fight.
I want to thank Ted F. Martinez, my dear friend who had double bypass surgery just a few weeks ago and came back to the campaign trail – I could not ever ask for a truer friend and confidant.
And finally, I want to thank everyone out there who supported me, helped us and fought so hard these past few months. Your hard work carried and inspired me.
I am honored to have served the people of our great state these last eight years. I am proud of our achievements, but also humbled by your faith and trust in me.
Win or lose, I would not be here without you. Herb and I are eternally grateful to each and everyone one of you in this room and those watching at home for your support and encouragement during this campaign.
Together we did all that we could do to win this race.
We have come up short but I hold my head high, and you should too. The voters, here and across the country, responding to economic and political forces have chosen a different direction.
I truly believe we would have been the more effective change agent, but as sometimes happens in politics the other side came out on top.
Susana Martinez and I have not yet spoken, but I congratulate you on your victory. You will be our next governor and I wish New Mexico well.
To the Democratic members of the Legislature both house and senate, thank you for your support in this election, and for your service to our state. I ask you, my fellow Democrats, to work with the new governor and your Republican colleagues.
It will be hard work, it will require a willingness to compromise on both sides of the aisle, and most of all it will demand civility and respect. The people of New Mexico deserve that.
This has been a hard-fought election but starting tonight the rancor must end as we pull together for the good of the state.
I will do what I can over the next sixty days to ensure a smooth transition.
I am proud to be a Democrat because I believe government can and must be a force for good.
I will never back down from that belief.
We are in an era of great cynicism. Sound bites and catch phrases without a whole lot of substance behind any of it.
The competition of ideas has lost out to the competition of gotcha.
We are all – me included – guilty of playing along with it.
I just hope in the future we can break the cycle of attack-driven politics – and have real conversations about what’s important – jobs, economic security, clean air and water, making sure kids have health care and a good education.
Tomorrow is a new day. New Mexico faces tremendous challenges and there is much work to be done. On January 1st I will again be a private citizen. But rest assured that I will be here with you to resolve the enormous challenges we face in this state that we love so much.
Monday, November 01, 2010
Spirits Are High on Election Day Minus One at Denish-Colón Campaign HQ
Click for photo album
New Mexico's Democratic candidates for governor, , and lieutenant governor, , were at the busy Vote New Mexico office on San Mateo in Albuquerque around Noon today (photos above) to give a shout out to volunteers for their hard work, and rally voters. Spirits are high and internal polling shows this is a neck and neck horse race that will go down to the wire. The determining factor? Say it with me: DEMOCRATIC TURNOUT! GOTV!
State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino joined Diane and Brian at the rally, urged folks to vote for Denish-Colon and Rep. Martin Heinrich and had this to say about the election and the lies spread by Republicans:
Tonight at 6:00 PM, President Barack Obama will join Diane Denish and Senator Jeff Bingaman for a tele-town hall with New Mexico voters. The tele-town hall will target more than 100,000 Democrats, who will be called and given an opportunity to join and hear from the President.
Diane talking about what's at stake
Brian talks about importance of election and thanks DFNM
The Denish campaign needs our help from now until the polls close tomorrow at 7:00 PM. Contact your nearest .
Sunday, October 31, 2010
NM Democrats Beating Republicans in Early Voting by 8000+ Votes
If you read or listen to the spinners of the pro-right-wing consortium that consists of the Albuquerque Journal-Brian Sanderoff-Joe Monahan-KKOB radio-Jim Villanucci-KOAT-TV (oh hell, lump in the rest of the TV "news" outfits) and others, you know that it's been proclaimed from on high, er low, that this election is a done deal. It's over even before election day has arrived. Right-Winger Message to Democrats: Don't even bother to vote on Tuesday.
It's a civic-minded bunch, isn't it? Having failed to do their duty in exposing the outright lies in so many GOP campaign ads, fully reporting the huge money flow to right-wing candidates, attending Dem candidate press conferences, asking why Susana Martinez refuses to be interviewed in the last weeks before the election or providing what used to be known as fair journalistic oversight of the campaigns, this bunch now appears to be on a coordinated campaign to hold down the turnout of Democrats.
We've all heard ad nauseum about the so-called "enthusiasm gap" of Democrats, and witnessed the dedicating slant feeding that myth and trying to make it a reality. Today there was even a headline on a Journal article by the always obedient "reporter" Sean Olson blaring that "Voters Face Long Ballot on Tuesday," even though the article itself only touches on that at the end. Hey potential voters -- don't bother because even the ballot, you know, is a bummer.
Dems Lead in Early Voting
I could go on down the twisting and turning path of collusion and slant provided by the main media machine in New Mexico, but let's just focus on one aspect of the spin for now: early voting turnout.
Here are the facts:
- 8,000 more Democrats than Republicans have voted early, according to the most recent data provided by the Secretary of State. This data does not include Early Voting that took place on Saturday, traditionally the busiest Early Voting day of the cycle, which is expected to increase the Democrats’ early vote margin considerably.
- Democrats also have a lead among “infrequent voters” -- those who typically don’t vote in non-presidential year elections -- a group that most experts consider a key turn-out target in order to win in 2010.
- Early vote and absentee data from New Mexico show that Democrats in the state are outperforming Democrats in other states with competitive Governor races, such as Florida and Colorado. [Denver Post, 10/30/10; Palm Beach Post, 10/29/10]
- And internal polling from just a week ago showed a much closer governor race -- 45-46 -- among likely voters. The internal polling in other campaigns also shows tight races, not romps.
As Denish campaign manager Chris Cervini explains:
Actual votes matter a lot more than polls, and there’s a reason that more Democrats than Republicans have already cast their ballots in this race. Democrats have a candidate who is a fighter for our families, while the Republicans are stuck with a nominee who sides with the powerful interests every time. Tuesday is the only poll that matters and we remain confident New Mexicans will vote for the candidate whose focus is on creating jobs, protecting public education, taking on predatory lenders, and making sure the wealthy out-of-state corporations pay their fair share. That’s Diane Denish.
DPNM Chairman Javier Gonzales adds:
Polls will go up and down, but at the end of the day, the only numbers that matter are at the ballot box -- and that’s where Democrats hold an unquestionable advantage going into Election Day. Democrats are energized, excited and getting to the polls in big numbers to support Diane Denish and their other Democratic candidates across New Mexico. That’s exactly what we expect to see on Election Day, which is the only poll that truly matters.
The Democratic message to Democratic voters? Keep on keepin' on! If you didn't vote early, be sure to vote on November 2nd between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM (find your polling place here). If you still have an absentee ballot, complete and hand deliver it to your county clerk or to your precinct by 7:00 PM on November 2nd.
Volunteer for Get Out the Vote (GOTV) efforts with Dem candidates, the party and OFA today through the end of election day on Tuesday, when the polls close at 7:00 PM. Urge your friends, neighbors and family members to vote and vote straight ticket Democrat.
Photos and Videos: Labor 2010 GOTV Rally in Albuquerque
Click for photo album
Check out photos (above) and video clips (below) of some of the speeches from Saturday's high-energy Labor 2010 GOTV BBQ and Rally in Albuquerque. Besides lots of hard-working labor folks and other Dems, candidates from up and down the ticket attended to thank folks for all their hard work on the campaigns. These strong supporters of working families and economic justice urged everyone to keep on working from now right through Tuesday, when the polls close at 7:00 PM.
Senator Jeff Bingaman, Senator Tom Udall, governor candidate Diane Denish, lieutenant governor candidate Brian Colón, Rep. Martin Heinrich, State Auditor Hector Balderas, State Treasurer James L. Lewis, Secretary of State Mary Herrera, land commissioner candidate Ray Powell, Rep. Moe Maestas, Rep. Al Park, Rep. Eleanor Chavez, Rep. Ben Rodefer, Rep. Karen Giannini, Rep. Jack Thomas, New Mexico House candidate Alex Russell, City Councilor Ike Benton, Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, Appeals Court Judge Robert Robles and Metro Court Judge Christina Argyres were all on hand to share one main message:
If Democrats vote, Democrats win!
Also in attendance was Republican and former Governor Dave Cargo -- who has strongly endorsed the Diane Denish - Brian Colón ticket. As Cargo has said, the Republican Party of today isn't his Republican Party. And he's backing Democrat Denish over extreme right-wing Republican Susana Martinez. Good decision!
Regardless of what the pundits or the polls may say, the only real poll is on Election Day, when voter turnout is what matters. Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state by a healthy margin and if our voters turn out in good numbers, we will win -- no doubt about it. So get your body down to a campaign office, the Dem Party or OFA tomorrow, Monday and all day on Election Day if possible. There's so much at stake and unity and action are the keys to victory! Yes, we can! Si, se puede!
All photos and videos by M.E. Broderick.