Friday, August 27, 2010

Martinez leading in poll, Richardson unfavorable

A new poll out by Rasmussen shows Republican Susana Martinez leading Democrat Diane Denish by five points in this fall's gubernatorial election. When “leaners” are included -- voters who initially are undecided but then chose a candidate after additional questions -- Martinez is ahead by seven points, with 51 percent compared to 44.

Three percent said they prefer another candidate in the race while six percent are undecided. That's a small number of undecideds, and a bit curious about the other candidate...

The poll also asked likely voters what they thought of Gov. Bill Richardson. The news wasn't good for him:
Just 16 percent strongly approve of the job he’s doing while 24 percent somewhat approve, 21 percent somewhat disapprove and 36 percent strongly disapprove.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Join us on our live blog tonight!

Join in the fun as we blog live about the gubernatorial debate tonight, starting at 5:45. While the actual debate is by invite only, you don't need an invite to join our running commentary, so stop by.

Will Diane Denish misstep? Will Susana Martinez flub it? Or will they both do well? That's one of the big mysteries, as expectations run high ahead of the Nov. 2 election.

Read my preview of the debate, and access the blog here.

The debate, which is the first of general election, starts at 6 p.m. at Eldorado High in Albuquerque.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Questions raised about virus on Mary Herrera's computer

KOBTV, Channel 4 is reporting about apparent security issues with the state-issued laptop of Secretary of State Mary Herrera.

You can see the story here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Another gubernatorial debate set

If you're as nerdy as I am, you'll want to get your calendar marked right away for Sept. 26. It's the next confirmed debate between Lt. Gov. Diane Denish and Dona Ana District Attorney Susana Martinez.

Next up, I should say, after the debate next Thursday at Eldorado High School. Speaking of that debate, you're gonna want to check out the live blog we have planned, on the New Mexican's home page. We're partnering up with our friends at the New Mexico Independent, so come check it out.

That debate is all about education, a hot topic on the campaign trail this week.

Oh, and the Sept. 26 event is at Congregation Albert in Albuquerque. Details to come.

Update, 4:57 p.m.

Speaking of debates, I just learned that U.S. Rep Martin Heinrich and challenger Jon Barela will attend a forum from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Albuquerque. The event is a luncheon hosted by the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gov candidates clash on education

Crime. The economy. Education. These are the staples of any campaign. In the 2010 gubernatorial debate, the discourse is now about education.

Check out my coverage here of Republican Susana Martinez' press conference on her schools plan yesterday, as well as a set of five education related questions for Martinez and Denish here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Martinez outlines education plan

GOP gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez today in Albuquerque revealed her plan for education in the state, calling it a top priority for her administration.

Among other things, the plan includes:

-- putting 65 percent of education funding into the classroom. Currently, 61 percent goes into classrooms, she said. The difference is $74 million.

-- ending social promotion. Kids who can't read in the 3rd grade won't be sent on to 4th grade, she said.

-- merit-based pay for teachers.

-- giving schools an A-F grade instead of using bureaucratic terms.

-- tax credits for individuals and corporations that give scholarships to poor students, and tax credits for groups that provide summer internship opportunities.

Martinez also used the opportunity to take a swipe at opponent Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, saying "The current administation has spent more on education than any previous administration with nothing but a record of failure to show for it."

See the actual plan below and read more about it, and Denish's plan, in tomorrow's paper.

SusanaMartinezEducation Plan

Monday, August 9, 2010

SOS race getting interesting

The race for Secretary of State is heating up a bit ahead of this fall's election. Challenger Sen. Dianna Duran is getting some Democrats to support her, while incumbent Mary Herrera says she has Republicans on her team. Check out my coverage here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Richardson to be Colombian envoy?

With all the speculation today about what Gov. Bill Richardson will do with his Life After the Governorship, I'm gonna jump in and add my own. How about special envoy to Colombia? Or at least Latin America? (Although he might like to be ambassador to Colombia, that post looks filled.)

It might explain the trip Richardson will take this weekend to Bogota to attend the inauguration of president-elect Juan Manuel Santos. (Or maybe, given Richardson's connections to Latin America, they are old friends?)

The Richardson-as-envoy idea isn't new, and is usually speculated each time Richardson jets somewhere. But it makes sense. That's where his roots are, and that's a field he enjoys. (I know he'd enjoy it more than being a judge on American Idol, one idea he jokingly mentioned to the Albuquerque Journal.) Richardson was last in Bogota and next door Venezuela in 2008 on a mission related to Americans held hostage by FARC rebels.

Richardson also seems to be setting the pace for some kind of envoyship: he'll attend the ceremony Saturday and fly back Sunday. No taxpayer money is being spent on the trip, his office said.

Could the PRC be on the chopping block?

Members of a task force looking at ways to streamline state government are eyeing some changes at the PRC. Specifically, they are considering taking key parts like the insurance division out of the agency.

PRC commissioners, of course, aren't too keen on the idea. Read my story here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

One gubernatorial debate set, Denish asking for more

With just three months until the general election, it's about time for the gubernatorial debate schedule to be set. So far, the Albuquerque Public Schools has agreed to host one on Aug. 19, and both candidates say they will be there.

Lt. Gov. Diane Denish says she wants more than that, though, and is proposing seven others.

"The stakes couldn’t be higher for New Mexico families in this election and voters deserve to hear how each candidate for Governor would address the challenges facing our state," Denish campaign manager Oren Shur said in a statement.

Denish's proposed schedule includes three T.V. debates and five others in communities around the state such as Las Cruces, Taos and Santa Fe.

Denish also wants three debates between Democrat Brian Colon and Republican John Sanchez.

Update, 10:38 am

I had asked the Martinez campaign if they had agreed to any other debates yet.

Below is the statement I got. The tone really sets up the tone for the debate, and reflects that of the campaign so far. (In Denish's orignal statement, she said “Most New Mexicans aren’t familiar with Susana Martinez and she’s been virtually silent on a wide range of issues that directly impact families like education and jobs. Debates are always a critical part of the electoral process and that’s particularly true in this campaign.”)

From Ryan Cangiolosi, Martinez campaign manager:

"We look forward to discussing the epic failures of the Richardson/Denish Administration that have led to higher unemployment and job loss, rampant waste, fraud and abuse, and unacceptably low graduation rates and performance levels in the classroom. We are pleased the Denish campaign agreed to participate in an education debate on the 19th of August and look forward to continuing our conversations with the Denish campaign as we schedule additional debates in the fall."