Inside the Capitol

Saturday, July 09, 2011

7-13 Gov, Gary, SOS and Train

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- Here, on a hot summer's day, are some clippings from a columnist's notepad.
Former New Mexico Gov. Garry Johnson can't seem to get onto the radar screen of the national GOP hierarchy, but he's still making a good showing among the homefolks.
Public Policy Polling, a national survey firm that that has a good record for accuracy despite using automated phone calls to do its polling, reports Johnson is doing better than any other Republican presidential candidate in New Mexico.
Matched up against President Barack Obama, Johnson was the only Republican candidate to get close. He was three pints behind but the poll's margin of error was 3.6 percent, which puts Johnson in a statistical tie with the president.
Among independent voters and those aged 37-46, Johnson was beating Obama in New Mexico.
Sure, one might say that is just favorite-son stuff but the same polling firm found our immediate past governor, Bill Richardson, withering to a 27 percent approval rating.
Now, if only Johnson's popularity could start spreading out of the Land of Enchantment…
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Public Policy Polling, which identifies itself as Democratic, also found that Gov. Susana Martinez is one of the few newly elected Republican governors who would still win election if were held again now.
In fact, Martinez has gained strength, according to the poll. Last November, Martinez won election by seven points over Lt. Gov. Diane Denish. Martinez now would win election by nine points.
Out of somewhere around 20 new Republican governors, Martinez was one of only three who still would win election if the election were held again, according to the poll. The other two were South Caroline Gov. Nikki Haley and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.
This certainly can't hurt Martinez's chances to be considered as a vice-presidential running mate at this time next year. Much will depend on balancing the ticket in many different ways.
Certainly being a female minority won't hurt. Haley is the daughter of immigrants from India. Political observers feel Martinez has retained her popularity because she hasn't gone overboard trying to punish political enemies.
* * *
Another Republican female minority who has struck political pay dirt recently is newly-elected Secretary of State Diana Duran. She began making headlines soon after her election when she testified to a legislative committee that she had found 37 instances of undocumented immigrants voting in New Mexico state elections.
Since then, there has been no news about prosecution of these lawbreakers. Efforts by open government groups and political reporters to obtain public information about these cases have met with little success.
Those charges have been eclipsed by the 64,000 cases of possible voter fraud turned over by Duran to the state police. Duran's political road has been a little rocky thus far but she likely could win election again today.
An email from Stephanie DuBois in Otero County notes that during 25 years of GOP control of the clerk's office in that county, there never has been a report of voter fraud.
So where is all this fraud coming from, many want to know. There are some usual suspects, but 64,000?
DuBois also says Duran first got a job in the county clerk's office under a Democratic administration because she was a Democrat. Just like Gov. Martinez, she switched parties and became a Republican.
Might it be that female minorities interested in statewide office may want to consider switching to the Republican Party?
* * *
Responses to the column on the Rail Runner's many problems indicate some good entrepreneurial thinking is needed to increase ridership and decrease costs. It's a good idea and one that government isn't accustomed to undertaking.
WED, 7-13-11

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



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