Saturday, September 22, 2007

Journal Article Talks about Diane Denish's Endorsement

If you get a chance, check out the print version, it has a great pic of the blog post that we posted a few days ago about Diane Denish's endorsement. It looks great! Not to mention it was front page, above the fold!

Denish Aids Mayor Critic In City Race Albuquerque

By Jeff Jones

Copyright © 2007 Albuquerque Journal; Journal Politics Writer

Lt. Gov. Diane Denish is lending a hand to an Albuquerque City Council candidate who is openly critical of Mayor Martin Chávez. Denish and Chávez are prospective competitors for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010, and the upcoming Oct. 2 city elections could decide whether Chávez will face a generally friendly or unfriendly council during the rest of his third term. Denish said this week that her endorsement of Rey Garduño in District 6 along East Central has nothing to do with her expected gubernatorial run. "Rey best fits the district," she said. Chávez easily won a third term, but he didn't carry the liberal-leaning district during his successful 2005 re-election. Chávez said Wednesday that he couldn't speculate about the lieutenant governor's interest in the City Council race. But Joanie Griffin, one of three other candidates vying for the open District 6 seat, said Denish's endorsement of Garduño is a clear political swipe at the mayor. "There's no question there's a Marty-Diane race going on right now. I know the mayor hasn't officially announced anything, but clearly they are at odds," said Griffin, who owns a public relations firm and is a former Chávez spokeswoman. Denish said, to her recollection, she hasn't made a public endorsement in a council race before this year but has supported past council candidates in other ways. She also is endorsing a Las Cruces city council candidate this season. "No one else has approached me," Denish said this week when asked if she would be making more endorsements in the Albuquerque races. "I wouldn't say yes, I wouldn't say no." Denish has said she intends to run for governor in 2010, at the end of current Gov. Bill Richardson's second term. Chávez has said he's not sure whether he will seek the governor's job or another stint as mayor. While Chávez wouldn't comment on Denish's motivation for the endorsement, he said in reference to Garduño's conviction in a 1988 shoplifting case, that "given his background, it's unusual." Denish said she was aware of the shoplifting case— in which Garduño pleaded no contest and was found guilty— but said it didn't dissuade her. Garduño didn't reveal the incident on his initial response to the Journal's candidate questionnaire. Denish said she lived in District 6 during the 1970s and got her first glimpse of city politics there, adding that people for whom she has high regard know Garduño well. "I did think about it. I regretted the fact he made that mistake," Denish said of the shoplifting matter. But "his mistake was 20 years ago." Garduño said he was honored by Denish's endorsement, and a photo of the two together appears on one of his campaign Web sites. Garduño said he doesn't know why Griffin is linking the endorsement to the 2010 governor's race, adding, "Maybe the mayor's telling her something." In his Journal candidate questionnaire, Garduño praised Chávez for being an effective advocate on "quality-of-life initiatives" but accused him of creating a "combative atmosphere at City Hall." Garduño in the questionnaire also said the mayor has been "imbalanced" on the issue of city growth. He was again critical of the mayor in a recent Journal online chat session. Chávez hasn't endorsed anyone in the District 6 race but has endorsed Katherine Martinez, who is seeking to unseat City Council President Debbie O'Malley in District 2, where Chávez lives. "One thing I do find in the endorsement game (is): That and three bucks will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks," Chávez said. "The public has a funny way of deciding on their own." The District 6 battle between Garduño, Griffin, Blair Kaufman and Kevin Wilson is one of four council races and has been contentious. Garduño, a University of New Mexico retiree, has been criticized for initially using a UNM e-mail address for his campaign. He has said that and his failure to disclose the shoplifting case were mistakes. Griffin, meanwhile, has been criticized by some in the district for her work for Chávez in 2005. She also has taken some flak for headlining her campaign Web site with a story about current District 6 Councilor Martin Heinrich encouraging her to run— a story that doesn't point out Heinrich has endorsed Garduño. Griffin said she has inaccurately been painted as "the mayor's girl" in the race. And despite working as a Chávez campaign spokeswoman for three months in 2005, she said she's not in the mayor's pocket. It was "three months in a 25-year career. I've been with (a local ditch-safety campaign) for 14 years— I'm much more the 'Ditch Witch' girl than the mayor's girl," said Griffin. "I wonder: If the mayor's press secretary in 2005 had been a man, would people be calling him 'the mayor's boy?' I doubt it," Griffin added. "I am so unbelievably offended by it, I can't even tell you."


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