Inside the Capitol

Thursday, October 21, 2010

11-1 Campaign Wrap Up

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- Today's date is all zeros and ones. Computer programmers must be celebrating this special day for the binary code. As they say in the business, it's digitalicious.
Speaking of computer folks, they have been having a ball figuring out how we're going to vote tomorrow. It has some Republicans betting on a landslide. Others are worried that expectations are being raised too high, which could make a narrow victory look like a loss.
Another worry is the number of people who have dropped their land lines in favor of cell phones. Those people mainly are young and maybe more likely to vote Democrat. Some polls don't call cell phone numbers. Could that be skewing these polls toward Republicans?
Cell phones or no, the important question is whether these youngsters will turn out to vote. Many of them sound pretty disaffected.
Whatever happens, we're likely to have some big changes. Very likely we'll have a Republican U.S. House and a Republican New Mexico governor.
Changes as big as we've seen the past two national elections, and probably this one also, have seldom ever been seen in our nation's history.
Our world is changing fast. Too fast for many. In the past six years both sides of the political spectrum have pleaded to "give us our country back."
Disasters such as 9/11, Katrina and the gulf oil spill have exposed weaknesses in government. An increasing percentage of Americans and New Mexicans are saying our country and state are headed in the wrong direction.
We have quickly gone from an industrial to a high tech to a global economy with sometimes disastrous effects on jobs. We are becoming a majority minority country. And we've been engaged for eight years in two seemingly endless wars.
New Mexico has been led the past eight years by a governor who promised bold initiatives. Now that we've seen those initiatives, we aren't so sure we like them.
Now we have candidates for governor and Congress promising to change all those recent changes. And most voters are likely to take them up on the deal.
Following the 2008 elections, pundits were proclaiming that the Republican Party was dead. Would it ever be able to come back as a viable party, they asked.
Soon the same questions will be asked about the Democratic Party. And the correct answer will be yes, it will come back. Democrats will have Republicans to blame for voter dissatisfactions.
It is a never-ending cycle. The difference now is that those cycles have been compressed to the point they are happening every two years. No wonder our heads are spinning.
One factor that probably won't change for New Mexicans this year is election of all Democrats to the down-ballot statewide races -- or close to it.
You've barely heard of the incumbents and you likely never have heard of their Republican challengers -- even if you are a Republican.
In such a situation, Democrats will almost always vote for the Democrats and Republicans for Republicans. Independents won't vote. And since half of New Mexico voters are Democrat and only a third are Republicans, the outcome is easy to forecast.
The secretary of state race has received enough media coverage that voters might be able to remember which is Mary Herrera and which is Dianna Duran.
The attorney general race includes incumbent Gary King, whose father was governor for most of our lives. His opponent, Matt Chandler, is running TV ads for something -- maybe a future race.
Ray Powell is running for state land commissioner. Ten years wasn't enough. Matt Rush has raised more money -- but not enough.
Auditor Hector Balderas is opposed by Errol Chavez.
And treasurer James Lewis, with the longest resume in state government, is opposed by Jim Schoonover. Who?
All these offices should be appointive, as they are at the federal level.
MON, 11-01-10

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)

Jeanette and I will be visiting Maui until election day making arrangements for our 50th wedding anniversary celebration the first week in May. You're all invited. Won't have my computer but will have my cell: 505-699-9982.
I'll miss Nov. 3 column and that's it.
Aloha, Jay


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