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Election Season | The Line

Line Election Transition

February 28, 2020 – Gene Grant and The Line opinion panel wrapped up their insights into the just-finished legislative session last week, and now move on to what’s next in New Mexico politics: election season. All 112 seats in the state Legislature – both the House and the Senate – are on this year’s ballot. With pre-primary conventions coming up in March for both Republicans and Democrats, The Line looks ahead at key races and possible outcomes.

Line Panelists:
Diane Denish, former NM lieutenant governor
Dan Foley, former state representative
Serge Martinez, professor, UNM School of Law
Diane Snyder, former state senator 

For Further Reading:

Conservative Dems look to weather progressive uprising  Santa Fe New Mexican 

With session over, election comes into focus — Albuquerque Journal 

The legislators (so far) who aren’t running for reelection — NM Political Report 

As session ends, state GOP ‘declaring war’ Santa Fe New Mexican 

Candidate Quits Amid Investigation  Santa Fe Reporter 

Transcript:

>>GRANT: THE GOVERNOR MIGHT STILL BE DECIDING WHICH BILLS TO SIGN FOR 112 WOMEN AND MEN WHO SPENT THE LAST WEEKS LEGISLATING.  IT’S ELECTION SEASON DEMOCRATS CONTROL THE STATE HOUSE AND SENATE, BUILDING LARGE MAJORITIES IN THE 2018 BLUE WAVE. REPUBLICANS ARE RESOLUTE IN THEIR DESIRE TO MAKE A DENT IN THOSE ADVANTAGES. AND EVEN PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS ARE LOOKING TO UNSEAT SOME CONSERVATIVE MEMBERS OF THEIR OWN PARTY. THAT IS ISSUE NO. 1 FOR OUR OPINION PANEL. WE ARE JOINED BY LINE REGULAR AND FORMER MINORITY WHIP, DANIEL FOLEY. FORMER STATE SENATOR, ANOTHER REGULAR, DIANE SNYDER IS WITH US. AND GREAT TO HAVE FORMER LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR DIANE DENISH BACK WITH US AGAIN AFTER SO LONG.  ROUNDING UP THE TABLE ANOTHER LING REGULAR, UNM LAW SCHOOL PROFESSOR, SERGE MARTINEZ. LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, SO MANY DIRECTIONS WE CAN GO HERE. LET’S START WITH PROGRESSIVE FIGHT VERSUS CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRATS OUT THERE. FIRST QUESTION, DO YOU ANTICIPATE SEEING CHANGES IN THAT REGARD ON THE SENATE SIDE? WE HEAR THIS A LOT EVERY CYCLE, BUT SOMETHING SEEMS TO BE BUILDING THIS CYCLE.

>>DENISH: I THINK THERE ARE SOME RACES THAT HAVE PROGRESSIVES VERSUS MORE CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRATS. I WOULD CAUTION, THOUGH, THAT THE PEOPLE WHO ARE HEADING UP PROGRESSIVE CAMPAIGNS, NOT THE CANDIDATES NECESSARILY, BUT PEOPLE THAT ARE PUSHING FOR THESE CHANGES DON’T REALLY UNDERSTAND PLACES LIKE DEMING, NEW MEXICO AND GRANTS AND OTHERS. AND SOME OF THESE PEOPLE HEDGED THEIR BETS THIS TIME, SHOULD I SAY. A GOOD EXAMPLE IS JOHN ARTHUR SMITH’S BILL THAT HE PROPOSED FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD TRUST FUND.  THAT WAS SEEN AS A COMPROMISE FOR GOING INTO THE PERMANENT FUND AND WAS VERY POPULAR, VERY BIPARTISAN, AND WE’LL SEE HOW THAT GOES.  HIS OPPONENT WAS IN LORDSBURG, SO, I THINK THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO STEPPED UP TO THE PLATE BUT I THINK THERE IS A LOT OF UNKNOWNS. WE WON’T REALLY KNOW THE LAY OF THE LAND UNTIL MARCH 10 WHEN PEOPLE HAVE TO HAND IN PAPERS AND FILE. AND THE SECOND PART OF THAT IS THERE IS A LOT OF UNKNOWNS IN THE GENERAL ELECTION PRESIDENTIAL YEAR ABOUT HOW PEOPLE WILL BE VOTING. SO, I THINK THERE IS CHALLENGES. I THINK IT IS GOING TO BE AN EXCITING YEAR AND I THINK INCUMBENTS ARE HARD TO BEAT.

>>GRANT: IN OUR STATE CERTAINLY. YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS?

>>FOLEY: I GOT BEAT.

>>GRANT: THAT IS TRUE. TAKE THAT BACK. IS THERE A PROFILE WE HAVE THAT WE CAN LOOK AT AS A DEMOCRAT WHO CAN UNSEAT — A PROGRESSIVE WHO CAN UNSEAT A CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRAT?  DO WE HAVE ANY RECENT MODELS OF THIS?

 >>FOLEY: THEY WILL TELL YOU THEY WILL. THE PROBLEM IS — THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR SAID IT BEST — YOUR NOT GOING TO WIN AT DEMING IN THAT DISTRICT WHERE THE MAINSTAY AND BEAT JOHN ARTHUR SMITH WHO HAS DONE A GREAT JOB REPRESENTING THE POPULATION OF DEMING. NOW, WHETHER PROGRESSIVE IS LIKE HIM, IT DOESN’T MATTER. YOU GO TO PLACES LIKE DEMING, VERY MIDDLE OF THE ROAD AMERICANS DOWN THERE, THEY GOT LOTS OF ISSUES THAT CROSS PARTY LINES, RIGHT? THEY GOT THINGS DOWN THERE — THEY PROBABLY HAVE A DIFFERENT STANCE ON BORDER SECURITY IN DEMING, NEW MEXICO THAN PROGRESSIVES IN SANTA FE DO, BUT THEY MAY BE RIGHT IN LINE WITH OTHER ISSUES BACK AND FORTH. SO, I THINK IF YOU LOOK AT UNSEATING ANY OF THESE INCUMBENTS, I WOULDN’T LOOK AT WHO IS GIVING THE MONEY, EVEN THOUGH IT IS CLEAR A LOT OF MONEY COMES FROM OUT OF STATE. I WOULDN’T LOOK AT ANY OF THAT. YOU GOT TO LOOK AT QUALITY OF THE CANDIDATE AND YOU GOT TO LOOK WHERE THE CANDIDATE RESIDES. YOU CAN HAVE A GOOD CANDIDATE, IF THEY LIVE IN LORDSBURG, AND THAT IS 1% OF THE DISTRICT, WHEN YOU GET TO RURAL NEW MEXICO, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR CAN TELL US, NOT ONLY IS THERE A PARTY LINE FIGHT BUT THE PARTY LINE FIGHTS ARE SERVED BY TERRITORIAL FIGHTS OF THE COMMUNITIES. IF YOU’RE IN ROSWELL, YOU’RE NOT GIVING UP A LEGISLATOR THAT LIVES IN THE COMMUNITY OF ROSWELL TO ARTESIA. I DON’T CARE WHAT PARTY IT IS. YOU’RE GOING TO KEEP THAT SEAT IN THE CITY OF ROSWELL. SO, YOU KNOW, THAT IS GOING TO BE THE CHALLENGE. I THINK GETTING OUT TO THESE COMMUNITIES AND FINDING INDIVIDUALS THAT HAVE A RESUME, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU GET OUT OF ALBUQUERQUE, TRYING TO GET SOMEONE IN DEMING THAT HAS A RESUME LIKE JOHN ARTHUR SMITH, OR IN LAS CRUCES LIKE MARY KAY PAPEN AND JOSEPH CERVANTES, YOU CAN SAY, HEY LOOK, WE ARE GOING TO BEAT THESE GUYS WITH PROGRESSIVE CANDIDATES AND HERE IS WHAT THEY HAVE DONE, THEY JUST MOVED BACK TWO YEARS AGO OR THEY ARE NEW TO THE DISTRICT. IT IS REALLY DIFFICULT. >>GRANT: INTERESTING POINT THERE. SENATOR, INTERESTING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SITUATION, HOWEVER, MY SENSE IS REPUBLICANS ARE FEELING ACTUALLY A LITTLE BIT OF MOMENTUM HERE. TALK ABOUT THE REPUBLICAN SIDE.  MEANING THEY CAN HITCH SOME OF THEIR WAGONS TO RED FLAG GUN LAWS. A LOT OF THINGS THAT WERE PASSED THAT IS GETTING SOME COALESCING OF FOLKS TOGETHER HERE.

>>SNYDER: DEMOCRATS DURING THE SESSION CERTAINLY HANDED THE REPUBLICANS THREE OR FOUR ITEMS TO THE STAND ON. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT MOST PEOPLE PROBABLY DON’T EVEN NOTICE IS REPRESENTATIVE JANE POWDRELL-CULBERT IS QUIET, LOW KEY, DOESN’T — STANDS FIRMLY. AND THE FIRST WORDS OUT OF HER MOUTH AT THE CLOSE OF THE SESSION IS, WE ARE DECLARING WAR. AND WHEN JANE DOES SOMETHING LIKE THAT, THEN YOU KNOW EVERYBODY IS COMING ALONG. I THINK THAT THE THING TO ME THAT WILL BE MOST INTERESTING ABOUT THE REPUBLICANS IS FIRST OF ALL THERE ARE A LOT OF CANDIDATES OUT THERE, I AM JUST FAMILIAR WITH ALBUQUERQUE, AND THE CANDIDATES RUNNING, THERE ARE A LOT OF CANDIDATES. SOME OF THEM I KNOW.  SOME OF THEM I DON’T. SOME OF THEM ARE REALLY GOOD AND SOME MAYBE A LITTLE TOO NEW. WE’LL HAVE TO SEE. THERE AGAIN IT IS THE DISTRICT. THE DISTRICT I AM WATCHING THE CLOSEST IS SENATOR BILL PAYNE THAT IS NOT RETURNING FOR REELECTION, RETIRED NAVY ADMIRAL, USED TO BE A TWO STAR GENERAL, TWO STAR ADMIRAL, USED TO BE THE TOP NAVY SEAL IN THE COUNTRY WHILE WE WERE IN THE LEGISLATURE TOGETHER. HIS DISTRICT HOLDS A LARGE PORTION OF THE HOUSE DISTRICT THAT WAS HELD BY REPRESENTATIVE JIMMY HALL. AND THE DEMOCRATS SENT IN A WOMAN AND TOOK THAT SEAT OVER. WHAT WE CALLED REPUBLICAN HEAVEN. THAT WAS ONE OF THE BIGGEST SURPRISES OF THE ENTIRE ELECTION SEASON TWO YEARS AGO. SO, IS THERE ENOUGH OF THAT DISTRICT AND RIGHT NOW IT IS MY UNDERSTANDING THERE ARE 3 R’S AND 3 D’S RUNNING.  SO THERE WILL BE A PRIMARY AND GENERAL ELECTION. I KNOW FOUR OF THE SIX AND THREE OF THEM ARE PRETTY FORMIDABLE AND SO THE REPUBLICANS I THINK, THEY JUST GOT SO TIRED OF WHAT THEY PERCEIVED AS BEING STOMPED ON PARTICULARLY IN THE HOUSE. AND THEY DID IT ONCE, THEY DID IT ONCE, THEY TOOK THE HOUSE AND YOU NEVER — IT HAS BEEN CLOSE ENOUGH PERIOD, THAT IS NOT FORGOTTEN HAVING DON TRIPP AS SPEAKER. I THINK THE ENERGY IS VERY HIGH. AGAIN, LIKE YOU SAID, NATIONALLY IT WILL BE VERY INTERESTING AND TO ME IT IS MORE DETERMINED ON WHO THE DEMOCRATS CHOOSE TO RUN AS PRESIDENT AND WHO SUPPORTERS OF OTHER CANDIDATES, WHO STAYS HOME AND DOESN’T GO OUT AND VOTE. LIKE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR SAID, IT IS GOING TO BE A FUN YEAR.

>>GRANT: PICK UP ON THAT, I AM GLAD YOU BROUGHT US TO THE NATIONAL INFLUENCE OF THIS. THERE IS MONEY THAT TRUMP PEOPLE SPEND HERE.  DEMOCRATS ARE GOING TO OBVIOUSLY NOT, YOU KNOW, LET THAT JUST HAPPEN.  THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE THEIR OWN FIGHT. WHAT IS YOUR SENSE HOW MUCH THAT MIGHT IMPACT LOCAL THINGS HERE. IS THERE A COATTAIL EFFECT, DEPENDING WHO THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE IS.

>>MARTINEZ: I HAVE TO IMAGINE THERE WILL BE, BUT I AM, YOU KNOW, NOT NEARLY AS WELL VERSED IN THESE MATTERS AS MY COLLEAGUES BUT I AM SKEPTICAL OF THE IDEA THAT NEW MEXICO IS FLIPPABLE OR THAT NEW MEXICO IS GOING TO BE A FERTILE GROUND FOR ANY OF THE RHETORIC COMING OUT OF THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN. GENERALLY, YOU KNOW I HAVEN’T BEEN — I DO KNOW IT IS ITS OWN SPECIAL KIND OF PLACE. I AM NOT CONVINCED A LOT OF STUFF HAPPENING NATIONAL WILL HAVE EFFECTS HERE AND SO I AM REALLY SKEPTICAL OF THIS IDEA, OH, YEAH, NEW MEXICO IS A PLACE THAT WE CAN GO IN AND DO DRASTIC CHANGE. I THINK — SO, I HAVE BEEN HEARING THAT AND NOT CONVINCED THAT WE ARE GOING TO SEE MUCH. BUT OBVIOUSLY THE MORE EXCITED THAT NATIONAL RACE IS, THE MORE PEOPLE GO TO THE POLLS.

>>FOLEY: THE NATIONAL TALKS IN NEW MEXICO IS JUST THE PRICE OF DOLLARS, VALUE OF MONEY, RIGHT? YOU GO TO CALIFORNIA SPEND 35 MILLION BUCKS AND YOU’RE NOT GOING TO GET ON STATE-WIDE TV.  COME TO NEW MEXICO AND DROP FOUR MILLION DOLLARS AND YOU COULD HAVE A BUNCH, YOU COULD MAKE A CHANGE. I THINK IT IS GOING TO BE INTERESTING. THE THING WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT ALSO AS REPUBLICANS ARE TALKING ABOUT MAKING THIS MOVE TRYING TO THINK THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY WITH SOME OF THE LEGISLATION THAT HAS BEEN OUT THERE. AND THERE IS. LOOK, YOU KNOW, YOU CAN SAY WHAT YOU WANT ABOUT PROGRESSIVE, LIBERALS, CONSERVATIVES, REPUBLICANS, DOESN’T MATTER, WE ARE A PRETTY PRO GUN STATE. WE ARE PRETTY — YOU KNOW, THAT IS ONE THING THAT CROSSES THE PARTY LINES IN THIS STATE AND SO WHAT WE HAVE SEEN OVER THE YEARS, SINGLE ISSUES DON’T MOVE THE NEEDLE SO MUCH. YOU GET A BUMP, AN EFFECT, A SWING SEAT SOMEWHERE, BUT THE THING WE ARE TALKING ABOUT IN NEW MEXICO RIGHT NOW IS THE INFIGHTING IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY THAT IS GOING ON. WE HAVE A PARTY THAT HAS GOT — A WHOLE PARTY WITH A PARTY CHAIRMAN THAT IS IN COMPLETE DISARRAY WITH LEGISLATORS. YOU HAVE GOT CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES GOING AT EACH OTHER. WE HAVE THE CHAIRMAN PICKING FOLKS THAT THEY ARE FOR AND HIS STAFF PICKING PEOPLE THEY ARE FOR IN PRIMARIES. WE HAVE THEM WEIGHING IN IN LEGISLATIVE RACES. I AM NOT SAYING THAT IS RIGHT OR WRONG. I WAS PART OF THE DENDAHL TIME WHEN WE DID WEIGH IN. AND, QUITE FRANKLY, I THINK IT IS KIND OF THE GOLDEN RULE. BUT I THINK THE DISSENTION COMES FROM IT IS NOT SO MUCH — ONE OF THE THINGS DENDAHL DID, WHETHER YOU LIKED HIM OR DIDN’T, DENDAHL DID WHAT DENDAHL DID. AND WHEN YOU CONFRONT HIM, HE WOULD LOOK AT YOU AND SAY, YEAH, THAT IS RIGHT, WE ARE GOING TO TAKE YOU OUT. NOW WE HAVE GOT FOLKS IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY THAT ARE LIKE, THEY ARE DEEP IN A RACE AND GET CALLED ON AND THEY ARE LIKE, HOW DARE YOU ATTACK ME PERSONALLY. YOU’RE THE BAD PERSON.  AND SO THERE IS THIS WHOLE DEFLECTION THING THAT IS REALLY CAUSING –

>>DENISH: WHILE ALL THAT IS HAPPENING AND ALL THE ARGUING AMONG REPUBLICANS IS GOING ON, I HAVE NOTICED THAT IN SOME OF THOSE VULNERABLE DISTRICTS THAT DEMOCRATS WON IN 2018, THE REPUBLICANS HAVE RECRUITED WOMEN TO RUN FOR THOSE OFFICES, YOUNGER WOMEN, SOME HISPANIC WOMEN IN RACES LIKE WHERE MARIAN MATTHEWS JUST GOT APPOINTED IN BILL TOMLIN’S RACE IN THE STATE SENATE. I DON’T KNOW IF MELANIE STANSBURY COULD BE VULNERABLE IF THERE IS A GOOD RECRUIT THERE. NORTHERN, NEW MEXICO THEY HAVE THREE OR FOUR REPUBLICAN WOMEN RUNNING FOR BEN RAY’S CONGRESSIONAL SEAT. SOMEBODY IS OUT THERE RECRUITING. I MEAN, REPUBLICANS LIKE HAVEN’T GOT THE MESSAGE THAT REPUBLICANS GOT THE MESSAGE THAT WOMEN CAN BE SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES.     [MULTIPLE VOICES]

>>SNYDER: THEY ARE RECRUITING CONSERVATIVE WOMEN. THEY DON’T EXCLUDE DEMOCRATS BUT THEY ARE RECRUITING CONSERVATIVE WOMEN AND THEY ARE REALLY ON THE BALL.

>>FOLEY: THE JIMMY HALL RACE IS A VERY CONSERVATIVE DISTRICT BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT THAT CAMPAIGN, JIMMY IS A GREAT GUY, I HAVE A FLEETING IMAGE OF THE FACEBOOK COMMERCIAL THAT HE DID WHEN HE WAS RIDING ROUND IN HIS HOVER AROUND WHEELCHAIR GOING DOOR TO DOOR AND THE DEMOCRAT THAT WAS RUNNING AGAINST HIM WAS OUT RUNNING AROUND, VERY VIBRANT AND YOUNG. I AM NOT SURE THAT IT WASN’T — I AM NOT SURE IF IT HAD A DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN FLAVOR. I THINK REPUBLICANS CAN WIN IT BUT YOU CAN’T WIN IT WITH SOMEONE THAT IS MUCH OLDER, WHITE MALES WHEN YOU HAVE GOT GOOD YOUNG FEMALE WOMEN RUNNING IT. THIS IS THE TIME.

>> EXCEPT FOR MARY KAY PAPEN, WHEN WE FIND OUT IN ’86 AND ’87 SHE DRIVES THE AUTOBAHN EVERY YEAR, YOU THINK MAYBE I DON’T WANT TO MESS WITH HER.     [MULTIPLE VOICES]

>>FOLEY: HER HOVER ROUND GOING DOOR TO DOOR, MARY PAPEN PROBABLY IS DOING JUDO CLASSES. SHE IS THE REAL DEAL.

>>GRANT: REALLY.

>>SNYDER: SHE STILL DOES THAT.

>>FOLEY: I DON’T KNOW HOW ANYBODY FOUND A CANDIDATE ESPECIALLY IN A PRIMARY TO RUN AGAINST MARY KAY PAYPEN. WE GOT A GREAT CANDIDATE. YOU’RE GOING TO DO GREAT. HERE IS THIS LADY. THERE IS NO WAY.

>>GRANT: WE HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE. THERE WILL BE MORE TO REPORT AS SOON AS MARCH 7 WHICH THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR JUST MENTIONED, MARCH 10, RATHER, WHEN BOTH PARTIES HOLD THEIR PRE-PRIMARY CONVENTIONS. AFTER THE BREAK WE SIT DOWN WITH DIRECTOR OF THE STATE ETHICS COMMISSION AND THEN THIS GROUP IS BACK TO TALK ABOUT THE BACKLOG FACING THE NEW MEXICO COURT OF APPEALS .