Updates and Surprises in New Mexico Politics | The Line

Updates and Surprises in New Mexico Politics | The Line


>>WELCOME BACK TO THE LINE. IT WAS A BIG WEEK IN POLITICAL
NEWS ACROSS THE STATE. FORMER GOVERNOR GARY JOHNSON
ANNOUNCED HE WILL RUN FOR SENATE AS A LIBERTARIAN. HE RAN FOR PRESIDENT AS
LIBERTARIAN NOMINEE IN 2016 AND THERE ARE SOME OTHER NEWS
STORIES THAT CAUGHT OUR ATTENTION THIS WEEK. DAN BOYD START WITH YOU,
JOHNSON’S ANNOUNCEMENT, IS THIS A SURPRISE?>>IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A
SURPRISE A FEW MONTHS AGO. WE HAVE BEEN HEARING RUMOR
BUILDING, SO, I DON’T THINK IT WAS A SURPRISE THAT HE FINALLY
DECIDED TO ENTER THE CASE. I THINK HE SAW THE OPPORTUNITY
TO REPLACE ANOTHER CANDIDATE, AUBREY DUNN ON THE BALLOT, SO
HE DIDN’T HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE SIGNATURES AND PETITIONS
AND I THINK HE KIND OF SAW IT AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO GET BACK
INTO THE POLITICAL SCENE AND IN THE SPOTLIGHT AND IT KIND
OF MAKES THE RACE MORE INTERESTING EVEN THOUGH IT
DOES FEATURE THE INCUMBENT MARTIN HEINRICH WHO IS
PROBABLY STILL THE FAVORITE IN THE RACE BUT ANY TIME YOU HAVE
SOMEONE LIKE GARY JOHNSON, A FORMER GOVERNOR, IT LIVENS
THINGS UP AND ESPECIALLY WITH HIM RUNNING AS A LIBERTARIAN,
A THIRD PARTY CANDIDATE.>>CAROLYN, SOMETIMES THOSE
THIRD PARTY CANDIDATES PUSH ISSUES AND CHANGE THE
CONVERSATION IN THE RACE. DO YOU SEE THAT HAPPENING
HERE?>>DEFINITELY, I THINK IT WILL
BE GOOD FOR THE RACE. HEINRICH HAS TO STEP UP AND
MAYBE RETHINK BECAUSE YOU KNOW MAYBE IT IS A SLAM DUNK BUT AT
LEAST NOW HE HAS ANOTHER VOICE HE HAS TO ANSWER, SO I THINK
IT WILL BE GOOD.>>MERRITT, WE KEEP HEARING
MORE AND MORE NEW MEXICANS, ESPECIALLY YOUNGER NEW
MEXICANS ARE REGISTERING AS INDEPENDENTS AND ARE WILLING
TO HEAR FROM DIFFERENT PARTIES. IS THIS A SIGN OF THINGS
CHANGES IN 2018.>>ABSOLUTELY. I THINK EVERYONE AGREES
JOHNSON ENTERING THE RACE, THE BIGGEST IMPACT IS ON THE
REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE. NEW MEXICO REPUBLICANS HAVE
NOT BEEN WELL ORGANIZED FOR A LONG TIME. AND, IT IS FRACTIOUS, IT IS
DIVIDED. THE ORGANIZATION OF THE
LIBERTARIAN SPLIT OFF TO ME IS KIND OF LIKE REPUBLICAN
REFUGEES. SO, I THINK IT IS AN
INTERESTING TREND IN BEING ABLE TO FIELD A CANDIDATE WHO
HAS RUN AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL, KNOWS HOW TO CAMPAIGN AND WILL
BE AN INTERESTING LESSON FOR OTHER FOLKS AND WHILE IT MAY
NOT BE SUCCESSFUL IN THIS RACE I THINK WE’LL GIVE GRAVITAS TO
THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY. AND I DEFINITELY SEE IN THE
EAST MOUNTAINS AND BEYOND ESTANCIA VALLEY, HOUSE
DISTRICT 50, WE HAVE AN INDEPENDENT RUNNING AGAINST AN
INCUMBENT DEMOCRAT WITH NO REPUBLICAN. THAT RACE IS MUCH MORE
INTERESTING BECAUSE IT IS A TWO PERSON RACE. SO, I THINK WE CAN BE MORE
PREDICTABLE ABOUT VOTE COUNTING. NUMBERS ARE VERY INTERESTING
AS I SEE APPLEWHITE, WHO IS WORKING HARD AND VERY CREDIBLE
CANDIDATE, HE NEEDS TO TURN ABOUT 1000 DEMOCRAT VOTES IN
HIS DISTRICT. I THINK HE CAN PULL IT OFF.>>I THINK THAT SOME PEOPLE —
LIBERTARIANS ARE ON THE BALLOTS THIS YEAR AS A MAJOR
PARTY BECAUSE OF THE 2016 ELECTIONS AND PEOPLE EXPECTED
MORE OF A SHOWING FROM LIBERTARIANS THIS YEAR. HAS IT BEEN A LITTLE
UNDERWHELMING?>>FOR NEW MEXICO, NO. I AM IMPRESSED THEY HAD A
CONVENTION. I THOUGHT THAT WAS TREMENDOUS. AND REPUBLICANS — I FEEL
REPUBLICANS IN NEW MEXICO HAD GOTTEN VERY WELL ORGANIZED TO
THE POINT OF BEING ABLE TO PICK UP THE HOUSE IN 2014. UNFORTUNATELY THAT WASN’T ABLE
TO BE SUSTAINED AND I THINK IT IS A GOOD GROUND SWELL.>>LAURA, DO YOU THINK
LIBERTARIANS ARE CHANGING THE POLITICAL CONVERSATIONS HERE
AND HAVING IMPACTS.>>I THINK GARY JOHNSON IS
GOING TO. I AM NOT SURE LIBERTARIANS,
THE PARTY, ARE GOING TO. I HAVE THIS ARGUMENT WITH MY
HUSBAND ALL THE TIME BECAUSE HE DOESN’T LIKE THE TWO-PARTY
SYSTEM AND THAT IS WHAT WE HAVE, SO HE THINKS IT IS
IMPORTANT TO HAVE OTHER OPTIONS. HE IS REGISTERED DECLINE TO
STATE AND SO I THINK HE REPRESENTS A GROWING GROUP OF
PEOPLE, THOUGH, THAT DON’T WANT TO AFFILIATE WITH A
SINGLE PARTY AND I THINK THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY AS A PARTY
COULD POTENTIALLY DRAW SOME OF THESE PEOPLE IN, BUT I AGREE
WITH MERRITT, I THINK AT LEAST AT THE SENATE RACE, IT IS MORE
OF AN ISSUE FOR THE REPUBLICAN THAT IS IN THE RACE. THAT IS WHERE YOU ARE GOING TO
FIND VOTES THAT COME ACROSS. I THINK THAT IT IS EXTREMELY
LATE FOR SOMEBODY TO JUMP INTO A RACE. WE ARE ONLY TWO-AND-A-HALF
MONTHS OUT AT THIS POINT FROM THE ELECTION AND TO BE ABLE TO
RAISE THE MONEY TO GET ON TV AND DO ALL THOSE THINGS, TO
REACH VAST MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE WHO LIKELY WILL HAVE
ALREADY VOTED AND KNOW WHO THEY ARE GOING TO VOTE FOR, IS
DIFFICULT. I THINK, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT
FOR MARTIN HEINRICH IT GIVES HIM A REASON TO RAISE MONEY
WHICH HE HASN’T BEEN DOING AS MUCH. THERE WAS A LOT MORE ATTENTION
ON THE OTHER CANDIDATES IN THE RACES, OTHER POSITIONS. SO, YOU’RE GOING TO SEE HIM
START TO SORT OF TURN THAT UP A LOT HIGHER. BUT ONE OF THE INTERESTING
THINGS ABOUT MARTIN HEINRICH, HE PLAYED IN THE PRIMARY IN A
WAY THAT AFFECTED HIM BECAUSE HE ACTUALLY ENDORSED
VENEKLASEN IN THE STATE LAND OFFICE RACE IN THE PRIMARY AND
THAT MADE A LOT OF DEMOCRATS UNHAPPY WITH HIM, PEOPLE WHO
WERE SUPPORTING GARCIA RICHARDS AND SUPPORTING GEORGE
MUNOS AND FELT LIKE HIS INVOLVEMENT IN THAT RACE WAS
UNNECESSARY AND HE HAD PERSONAL CONNECTION TO
VENEKLASEN AS WELL AS A VALUES BASED CONNECTION ON THE
ENVIRONMENT. BUT IT MADE A LOT OF PEOPLE
UNHAPPY AND I DON’T KNOW IF THAT TRANSLATES INTO VOTES FOR
JOHNSON BUT I THINK HE’LL PICK UP MORE VOTES THAN WE EXPECT
PROBABLY.>>WE ALSO A DEMOCRATIC
EX-GOVERNOR JERRY APODACA, FATHER OF FORMER GUBERNATORIAL
CANDIDATE JEFF APODACA, ENDORSED REPUBLICAN STEVE
PEARCE. WHAT YOU DO YOU THINK ABOUT
THAT ANNOUNCEMENT?>>IT IS HUGELY DISAPPOINTING
MOVE FOR A FORMER GOVERNOR TO DO AND I THINK IT IS JUST
PERSONAL POLITICS AT ITS WORST. I DON’T SEE ANY DEMOCRAT
CERTAINLY STAUNCH DEMOCRATS ARE GOING TO SUDDENLY GO FOR
PEARCE BECAUSE OF APODACA. I THINK IT IS SADLY A
REFLECTION OF THE APODACA CAMPAIGN NOT BEING ABLE TO
MEND FENCES AFTER A VERY DIFFICULT PRIMARY. HE TOOK A VERY AGGRESSIVE
STANCE AGAINST MICHELLE LUJAN-GRISHAM. THEY HAD A LOT OF THE MONEY
AND A LOT OF THE SUPPORT VERY EARLY ON AND IT WAS LOOKING
LIKE SHE WOULD END UP WINNING OUT OF THE PRIMARY AND THEY
DID VERY LITTLE TO TRY TO MEND FENCES AFTERWARDS AND, IN
GENERAL, BOTH PARTIES TRY TO MEND FENCES AFTER THE FACT AND
YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE THIS SORT OF OUTCOME. I DON’T THINK IT MAKES ANY
DIFFERENCE EXCEPT IT MAKES THEM LOOK LIKE THEY ARE NOT
GOOD DEMOCRATS. THEY ARE JUST NOT HOLDING ON
TO THEIR CORE BELIEFS ABOUT BEING A DEMOCRAT. THEY ARE WILLING TO JUMP SHIP
AND GO TO REPUBLICANS.>>HAVE YOU HEARD REACTIONS TO
THIS ANNOUNCEMENT?>>I HAVE. I HAVE HEARD SIMILAR TO WHAT
LAURA SAID. THERE IS DEFINITELY FACTIONS
WITHIN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND ALSO WITHIN THE
DEMOCRATIC. THIS SHOULD BE GOOD YEAR FOR
DEMOCRATS GIVEN THE NATIONAL MOOD AND KIND OF THE TAIL WIND
BUT I THINK THERE ARE ISSUES LIKE THAT. DIVIDES WITHIN THE PARTY. AND ALSO FOR MICHELLE LUJAN
GRISHAM, SHE HADN’T BEEN ABLE TO MAKE AMENDS WITH CERTAIN —
APODACA FACTION AND OTHERS AND YOU HAVE THE BERNIE SANDERS
FOLLOWERS, WHO WALKED IN TO FOLLOW MORE MODERATE
DEMOCRATS. CERTAINLY IN THE LEGISLATURE
YOU DO SEE A LOT OF DIFFERENT DEMOCRATS BUT I DO THINK IF
MICHELLE WERE TO WIN, HAVING A DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATURE AND A
GOVERNOR, THAT YOU WOULD SEE MORE OF THOSE SPLITS IN THE
LEGISLATURE.>>MERRITT, PERSONAL POLITICS
ARE CROSSING THE AISLE?>>WHAT POLITICS AREN’T
PERSONAL? AND WHAT I SEE IS, YEAH, THERE
IS CERTAINLY FACTION ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, DEMOCRATS,
NEW MEXICO, ARE NOT SEEING A FRACTURE YET BUT A FISSURE
BETWEEN TRADITIONAL LONG TIME NEW MEXICAN DEMOCRATS, JOHN
ARTHUR SMITH AND MARY KAY PAPIN, AND MORE KIND OF NEW
GENERATION OF DEMOCRATS WHO MAY BE MORE PROGRESSIVE, BRIAN
EGOLF AND SEE TOO, I THINK, WHAT I WOULD CALL PRO BUSINESS
DEMOCRATS. LOSING THE PRIMARY, DEBBIE
RODELLA AND KARL TRUJILLO, I THINK THAT IS AN INDICATOR
THAT ALSO SOME OF THE MORE MODERATE DEMOCRATIC FACTIONS
MAY NOT BE HAPPY WITH THE DIRECTION THE PARTY IS GOING. IT IS GOING TO THE LEFT.>>ANDREA ROMERO, WHO IS
RUNNING IN DISTRICT 46, THE INCUMBENT, REPRESENTATIVE,
CARL TRUJILLO IN THE PRIMARY, THE SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN
REPORTED THAT AN AUDIT OF THE REGIONAL COALITION — LOS
ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORIES COMMUNITIES FOUND IMPROPER
EXPENDITURE PAYMENTS INCLUDING TO HER AS FORMER EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR. DO YOU THINK THAT IS GOING TO
BE A BIG DEAL IN THAT RACE?>>I THINK THE BIGGEST DEAL IS
GOING TO BE FOR RCLC AND THIS COULD BE THE END OF THE RCLC
AND THE PROBLEM IS THE REGIONAL COALITION OF
GOVERNMENTS AROUND LOS ALAMOS NEVER HAD A STRONG ENOUGH
CHARTER. WHEN YOU HAVE FUNDING WITHOUT
A REALLY STRONG CHARTER OR ORGANIZATION, IT IS HARD TO
FIGURE OUT WHAT TO SPEND YOUR MONEY ON. I DON’T THINK THAT EXCUSES THE
BEHAVIOR AND COULD BE A PROBLEM FOR THE RACE BUT MY
HOPE IS IT IS ALSO THE END OF THE RCLC.>>I HAVE BEEN WATCHING THE
LOCAL, THE STATE-WIDE RACES AND I AM WONDERING IF VOTERS
ARE EXCITED FOR THIS 2018 MIDTERM. WHAT IS YOUR SENSE OF IT RIGHT
NOW?>>WELL, MY CONTACT IS MORE
WITH THE ALIBI READERS WHICH ARE MORE THE YOUNGER READERS
AND YOU SEE A LOT OF EXCITEMENT TO GET READY, TO
GET VOTED AND GET OUT THERE, BUT YOU ALSO SEE WHY AND I
DON’T LIKE ANY OF THESE CANDIDATES.>>I THINK WE HAVE SOME WORK
TO DO AS POLITICAL PARTIES TO REALLY REACH OUT TO BRING IN
THOSE VOTERS AND BRING THEM TOGETHER. I DON’T TALK TO A LOT OF GROWN
UPS ABOUT VOTING BECAUSE I AM MORE FOCUSED ON THE YOUNG
PEOPLE BUT I DO HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO TO BRING THEM
TOGETHER.>>DAN, MIDTERMS USUALLY TURN
OUT A LITTLE LOWER. DO YOU THINK 2018 WILL BE
DIFFERENT?>>I THINK IT WILL BE LOWER. IT IS NOT A PRESIDENTIAL RACE. I DO THINK WITH THE GOVERNOR’S
RACE, A CONTESTED ONE AND NOW A NEW SENATE RACE — I DO
THINK, THIS, YOU KNOW, THERE ARE THE RCLC ISSUE. FOLKS GET TURNED OFF BY MISUSE
OF PUBLIC FUNDS, SPENDING $28 ON A SHOT OF WHISKEY, THINGS
LIKE THAT, AND I THINK CAN LEAD TO DISENCHANTMENT
ESPECIALLY GIVEN THE RECENT HISTORY IN NEW MEXICO OF SOME
OF THE PUBLIC CORRUPTION CASES SO THERE WILL BE
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS ON THE BALLOT TO CREATE A NEW
STATE ETHICS COMMISSION AND KIND OF RESTORING PUBLIC TRUST
A LITTLE BIT, GET MORE PEOPLE OUT TO VOTE, IT WAS A PRETTY
HIGH TURN OUT FOR THE PRIMARIES. WE’LL SEE. I THINK IT COULD BE DECENT
TURNOUT BUT NOT EXPECTING A HUGE WAVE OF VOTERS.>>ARE FOLKS EXCITED ABOUT THE
GOVERNOR’S RACE AND OTHER RACES.>>TRADITIONALLY CAMPAIGNS
DON’T GET STARTED UNTIL AFTER LABOR DAY. IT HAS BEEN EXTENDED MORE AND
MORE EVERY YEAR, IT SEEMS LIKE RECENTLY. SO I THINK WE ARE STILL IN THE
SUMMER, WHATEVER IT IS, GOING BACK TO SCHOOL AND PEOPLE
AREN’T PAYING ATTENTION AS MUCH AS PERHAPS THEY WILL, BUT
I THINK THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE A CONTESTED GUBERNATORIAL RACE
NOW WITH THE CONTESTED SENATE RACE, I MEAN, WHETHER YOUR PRO
JOHNSON OR NOT, HAVING HIM IN THE RACE ADDS SOME EXCITEMENT
TO THAT PARTICULAR CASE. I THINK YOU’LL SEE MORE PEOPLE
POTENTIALLY VOTING. THEY DON’T GENERATE AS MUCH
EXCITEMENT AS A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION BUT WE HAVE ALSO SEEN
ACROSS THE COUNTRY A WAVE OF PEOPLE GOING TO THE POLLS MORE
AND MORE BECAUSE OF WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE WHITE HOUSE
AND YOU MAY SEE SOME OF THAT AS WELL SO THERE WILL BE SOME
COATTAILS WITH SORT OF ANTI-TRUMP SORT OF SENTIMENT
BUT ALSO THE TOP TWO CANDIDATES, PEARCE AND
LUJAN-GRISHAM, ARE GOING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN TERMS OF
HAVING PEOPLE COME TO THE POLLS.>>MERRITT, YOU MENTIONED THAT
DISTRICT 50 RACE. SOUNDS LIKE YOU’RE GOING TO BE
WATCHING. DO YOU THINK SOME OF THOSE
FOLKS IN THE RACES WILL GET PEOPLE EXCITED WHEN MEETING
PEOPLE IN THEIR COMMUNITY WHO ARE RUNNING.>>I HOPE SO. I THINK THERE ARE INTERESTING
RACES DOWN IN THE SOUTHWEST, IN PARTICULAR, HOUSE DISTRICT
32 IN DEMING. CANDIE SWEETSER IS THE
MODERATE DEMOCRAT INCUMBENT. WE HAVE A BILINGUAL PHYSICIAN,
LAURA BOYD, WHO UNDERSTANDS RANCHERS AND SHE IS WORKING
VERY HARD. THAT WILL BE AN INTERESTING
RACE. FORMER STATE SENATOR LEE
COTTER IS CHALLENGING RUDY MARTINEZ IN HOUSE DISTRICT 39. THAT IS VERY INTERESTING
BECAUSE RIGHT NOW REPRESENTATIVE MARTINEZ IS
EMBROILED IN A LAWSUIT WITH A COUNTY HOSPITAL. THOSE TWO SEATS COULD BE IN
PLAY AND IF APPLEWHITE IS SUCCESSFUL IN 50, EVERYONE
THINKS WE ARE GOING TO HAVE — YET THERE IS NO WAY THERE IS
GOING TO BE ANY PROGRESS FOR REPUBLICANS IN THE HOUSE, BUT
THE LOSS OF ONE DEMOCRAT SEAT AND PICK UP OF TWO R SEATS
COULD BE A BIG GAME CHANGER.>>WE’LL KEEP AN EYE ON THAT. WE’LL HAVE TO END IT THERE. IN JUST A MOMENT WE LOOK AT A
PROPOSAL TO BUILD A TINY HOUSE VILLAGE IN ALBUQUERQUE.

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