Saturday, April 2, 2011

Video: Heinrich talks about 2012 U.S. Senate campaign

After announcing his 2012 U.S. Senate campaign on-line Saturday morning, New Mexico Congressman Martin Heinrich, wearing black boots and black jeans, met with reporters for less than ten minutes at the National Hispanic Cultural Center to talk about the biggest campaign of his life and his first state-wide race.

Now he plans to spend the next 12 months, traveling the state, trying to convince Democratic primary voters he's a "good guy" and the right candidate to replace retiring five-term U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

The second-term representative is the second Democrat to announce a bid for the Senate seat. In February, State Auditor Hector Balderas told us in an exclusive video that he's seriously considering his own bid. State Treasurer James Lewis, and former Lt. Governor Diane Denish have also said they are considering entering the primary race. Albuquerque community activist Andres Valdez was the first Democrat to announce.

Republican Heather Wilson formally entered the race last month. And, Lt. Gov. John Sanchez is expected to announce a decision in April. Second Congressional District Rep. Steve Pearce has not ruled out a campaign of his own.Republicans Greg Sowards and William S. English, who are not well known yet, have also entered the Republican primary race.

Heinrich said he has not determined a campaign budget, and wouldn't speculate on how much money would be needed to win both a primary and general election race, but analysts say both he and Wilson have a money advantage, because they can roll over any federal campaign donations they already have in their accounts.

The congressman's staffers said Heinrich was expected to return to Washington on Tuesday as the war of words over the federal budget notches up, and as negotiations, between Democrats and Republicans, continue. A budget must be passed by Friday or the government will come to a halt.

Heinrich, who will vacate his House seat, told reporters constituent services will not be impacted by his 2012 campaign.

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Heinrich launches U.S. Senate bid to replace Bingaman

The Decision from Martin Heinrich on Vimeo.

The speculation is over, U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich has decided to run for the U.S. Senate. He officially launched his campaign today on his Facebook page and campaign website.

Ahead of meeting with reporters, he released the following statement:
I am excited to announce today that I am a candidate for the United States Senate. Details to come on my listening tour across New Mexico. I hope you’ll join me on this journey to provide everyone in this state with a prosperous future worthy of our efforts and our values.

Heinrich is expected to meet with reporters at 1pm today following a Cesar Chavez day march at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. We'll be on site and bring you pictures, video and comments from Rep. Heinrich later today.

Heinrich, who is in his second term as a U.S. Representative, is the first Democrat to announce his plans. State Auditor Hector Balderas, State Treasurer James Lewis, former Lt. Governor Diane Denish are reportedly considering their options.

Republican Heather Wilson announced her 2012 bid in March. Lt. Gov. John Sanchez is expected to make his plans known this month.

Ahead of Heinrich's announcement, Sen. Eric Griego said yesterday he was launching an exploratory committee and is considering a bid to replace Heinrich.

Republican Janice Arnold-Jones has been considering a primary bid for Heinrich's seat since last month -- and spent last week in Washington looking for financial support.

City Councilor Dan Lewis is expected to announce his bid for the CD-1 Seat on Sunday at the Hotel Albuquerque around 3pm.

The son of an electrician and a factory worker, Heinrich has been a committed advocate for New Mexico’s middle class families. He said he wants to "create an environment for New Mexico’s small businesses to thrive and grow, creating good jobs for our communities."

Heinrich has been a champion for clean energy economy and treasured public lands. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, Martin saved over 1,000 jobs at Kirtland Air Force Base.

Heinrich has said his campaign for the U.S. Senate will focus on helping New Mexico’s economy grow "for everyone and not just the special interests."

Prior to being elected to Congress in 2008, Martin served as Albuquerque City Council President and as Natural Resources Trustee for the State of New Mexico.

He and his wife Julie are raising their two sons in Albuquerque.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

SOS staffer placed on leave for "offensive" actions

At least one staffer in Secretary of State Dianna Duran's office has been placed on leave after offensive material was found on the office website and sent in a package to Political Action Committees around the state.

The material, which appeared on a sample spreadsheet that was posted yesterday and found today, was apparently being tested on-line. Remarks included in the spreadsheet are being described as racist and included the names of two African-American legislators.

“I was shocked and disappointed to learn that a state employee apparently posted what can be interpreted as racially offensive language in a sample finance report,” Duran said. “I find these actions deeply offensive and I immediately ordered the materials removed and I initiated an investigation."

The name of the staffer was not released to the media.

“It is critical that New Mexicans have faith that the Office of the Secretary of State will protect the rights of all New Mexicans equally and that I will not tolerate any form of racism or bigotry in this office," Duran said.

"Violations of this policy will result in swift and decisive action.”

A news release we received said that Secretary Duran has placed calls to both Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton and Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbert, whose names were referenced in the inappropriate posting, to address any concerns they may have.

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Justice League PAC demands Duran's resignation for racist jokes

Updated: 4:45pm

New Mexico-based Justice League, a political action committee, is calling for the immediate resignation of Secretary of State Dianna Duran for racist jokes aimed at two African American legislators they say they found posted in an online spreadsheet included in a package sent to them from Duran's state office.

The package was suppose to helped registered PACS comply with state rules ahead of next month's deadline for bi-annual bi-annual campaign reports.

According to the PAC's Treasurer Eli Il Yong Lee, the documents contained instructions to download an Excel spreadsheet from the Secretary of State’s website.

Comments left in the Monetary Contributions worksheet clearly targeted African American state legislators Sheryl Williams Stapleton and Jane Powdrell-Culbert. They are listed as manager of a faux PAC named: National Organization of the Beer Drinkers and Guzzlers.

The faux PAC's listing reports it's being managed by the first name of Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederated States of America. The SOS's sample report also combines the lawmakers last names for the report Sheryl Powdrell-Culbertson. Their faux PAC's address was listed as 246678 North General Dwight D. Eisenhower Boulevard Northeast.

We have posted the Excel spreadsheet supplied to our blog from the Justice League. Duran's staff removed the original spreadsheet after it the racist listing was discovered.

“I was shocked when I downloaded Secretary Duran’s spreadsheet this morning to find such racist comments on a State document. Secretary Duran should be ashamed of herself," Il Yong Lee wrote in a "breaking news" release this morning. "We expect more from elected officials. There is no place for racism in New Mexico, much less in a state office. She should resign immediately.”

Officials at Duran's office were not immediately available for comment. And did not return two telephone calls seeking a response. An email inquiry at the governor's office was also not replied to as of Thursday afternoon.

Earlier this month, the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a request to inspect public documents at Duran's office after her office announced it had uncovered possible instances of voter fraud by foreign nationals.

The resignation demand also follows an announcement by Attorney General Gary King that Duran's decision allowing Gov. Susana Martinez to use campaign funds to pay for political ads to bolster the public's support of one of her key legislative issues in 2011 (revoking the issuance of driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants) was unlawful.

Duran was elected in November after ousting incumbent Secretary of State Mary Herrera, and was the first Republican elected to the post in 80 years.


By late Thursday afternoon, Duran said she had place one staffer on leave, called both state representatives, and said she was deeply offended by the comments in the spreadsheet.

To read more about the Secretary of State's internal investigation click here to advance one blog post.

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