- Associated Press - Monday, February 24, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The recent New Mexico legislative session likely had little to no effect on this year’s upcoming governor’s race, according to political observers.

Albuquerque pollster Brian Sanderoff told the Santa Fe New Mexican (https://goo.gl/AbdBsc) the session did not get voters interested in the race and voters didn’t seem to care about the day-to-day battles at the Roundhouse.

And former Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, a Democrat who lost to Gov. Susana Martinez in 2010, said Democrat and Republican lawmakers also avoided doing anything meaningful during the session.

“This session won’t have much impact on the 2014 governor’s race because it was a sputtering waste of time. Martinez, once again, showed no vision or leadership,” Denish said.

After the 30-day session, Martinez said there were some lawmakers who tried to fan the political flames, but overall she considered the session a success when it came to education reform and passing a budget that addressed education, job creation and the health-care workforce in rural New Mexico.

“No one got everything they wanted, but I believe we emerged with a tremendous set of bipartisan accomplishments,” the governor said.

Martinez is seeking a second term and is up for re-election in November. Five Democrats are seeking to challenge her.

Meanwhile, Martinez didn’t have any formal news conferences at the Roundhouse during the session to discuss legislation. Unlike recent years, there weren’t even any informal sessions in which reporters asked her questions following appearances at events in the Capitol Rotunda.

However, during the 30 days, she did make appearances in Las Vegas, N.M., Espanola, Albuquerque, Socorro and Las Cruces.

“She was very wise to stay off the radar,” Gabriel Sanchez, a political science professor at the University of New Mexico, told The Associated Press. “She didn’t do anything to draw attention to herself nor give her opponents anything they could use.”

Martinez can get good publicity by “following her formula” of making appearances - and staging photo opportunities - around the state with children, veterans and law enforcement officers, Sanderoff said.

Only Sen. Linda Lopez, a Democratic governor hopeful, received a bit of name recognition during the session, Sanderoff said. As chair of the Senate Rules Committee, Lopez held hearings on the state fair and Education Secretary Hanna Skandera’s held-up nomination - moves a governor spokesman called political stunts.

Those hearings might have benefited Lopez by lifting her profile, but they also had little effect on Martinez’s popularity, Sanderoff said.


Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, https://www.sfnewmexican.com

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