Griego earns title of CD1 Democratic frontrunner

1st Congressional District candidate Eric Griego

1st Congressional District candidate Eric Griego

Eric Griego established himself as the frontrunner in the Democratic 1st Congressional District primary at this weekend’s preprimary nominating convention. Martin Heinrich kept his frontrunner status in the Senate race, but Hector Balderas did better than many expected.

In the August 2011 newsletter that goes to qualifying donors, I called 1st Congressional District candidate Eric Griego “one of the surprises of the 2012 election cycle.”

Here’s why:

“Many thought the progressive state senator wouldn’t be able to launch a serious congressional campaign. Some view him as undisciplined. He was facing the possibility of another progressive candidate getting in the race. And, ultimately, he’s running in a moderate district and he’s a lefty’s lefty.

“But Griego has run a surprisingly disciplined campaign. He’s working hard. He hired a good campaign manager. His media has been polished. Griego gathered enough early support to keep other progressives out of the race and win the backing of a high-profile national progressive group.”

That’s what builds the organization necessary to make a candidate the frontrunner in his race – and Griego earned such status this weekend.

Griego won the Democratic Party’s preprimary nominating convention, getting the votes of 41 percent of State Central Committee members to Marty Chávez’s 33 percent and Michelle Lujan Grisham’s 26 percent.


Griego’s win doesn’t ensure victory in the June 5 primary by any means, but it proves that he has built the type of strong, enthusiastic organization a candidate needs.

“My victory today reinforces the Democrats’ desire to nominate a candidate with the broadest Democratic coalition, solid progressive record and strong campaign organization,” Griego said in a news release following the vote.

Chávez Campaign Manager Alan Packman said in a news release that his campaign was “pleased with the strong show of grassroots support for Marty’s campaign.”

“These conventions have always been dominated by the types of insiders most likely to support Sen. Griego,” Packman said. “Marty’s strength is with everyday people who know his record delivering results for New Mexico’s families as mayor.”

Lujan Grisham characterized her support at the convention as “solid,” saying, “We are in a great position, with the most money and resources, to surge into the June primary election.” She promised “an aggressive primary campaign.”

The 1st District primary remains winnable by any of the three, but Griego’s efforts have put him in just about the best position he could hope for at this stage in the game.

Balderas can’t be counted out

Meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate primary, Martin Heinrich did exactly what he needed to do at the convention – win – but Hector Balderas did better than many anticipated and proved he can’t be counted out.

Heinrich won 55 percent of the vote to Balderas’ 45 percent.

U.S. Senate candidate Hector Balderas

U.S. Senate candidate Hector Balderas

The New Mexico Telegram’s Matthew Reichbach, who was at the convention, wrote that Balderas’ “passionate base” of supporters ensured that Heinrich’s victory was “smaller than expected.”

The Balderas campaign touted quotes like that in a news release. The candidate took a shot at Heinrich, who has raised lots of money from political action committees.

“I am so honored and humbled by this tremendous outpouring of support,” Balderas said. “New Mexicans from across the state stood up today and sent a message that they wanted a senator who was going to fight for them, not for the special interests.”

Heinrich went to Facebook to say, “Momentum is on our side, and I just know that we are going to win this race.”

The reality? Time is on Heinrich’s side, as are the majority of people who voted in the preprimary on Saturday. Heinrich remains the frontrunner and has the advantage.

But Balderas’ supporters showed more enthusiasm. That, coupled with the good press about his showing, presents Balderas with an opportunity.

Expect Balderas to start raising more money and gaining in the polls. But he’s currently way down in the fundraising race. He doesn’t have to raise as much as Heinrich, but he has to raise enough for TV ads. And he has to start doing it now.

My prediction: The race will tighten before June 5. The only question is how much.

Other results

Here are the other results from the convention:

  • In the 3rd Congressional District, incumbent Ben Ray Luján won the votes of 92 percent of delegates. Harry Montoya failed to get the 20 percent needed to win a spot on the primary ballot, getting 8 percent. If Montoya wants to stay in the race he will have to gather additional signatures.
  • In the 2nd Congressional District, the same is true of Frank McKinnon, who won the support of 12 percent of delegates to Evelyn Madrid Erhard’s 88 percent. But McKinnon isn’t going to try to stay in the race. He pledged support for Madrid Erhard on Facebook after his loss.
  • In the Democratic Court of Appeals primary, both candidates won a spot on the ballot. Monica Zamora won 63 percent to Victor Lopez’s 37 percent.

17 thoughts on “Griego earns title of CD1 Democratic frontrunner

  1. Thank you again for proving my point, Dr. J; Anything you have specifically chosen not to believe, regardless of any evidence for or against, is automatically “debunked” or a “left wing talking point”, and you frequently provide as evidence in your favor links to articles that, had you actually read them with a dispassionate mind, you would have discovered were rife with evidence that what you have chosen to believe is, in fact, the opposite of what is actually real.  It is easier for you to dismiss the very concept of confirmation bias – the very trait you are demonstrating and a basic tenet of modern psychology – as a mere left wing talking point than it is to develop mature debating tactics and practice elementary research techniques.  Incidentally, I find it interesting that you demonstrated this by linking to an article addressing another topic over which you frequently claim authority but demonstrate little actual knowledge.

  2. Wow, Doc, you really do have the most incurable case of confirmation bias I have ever seen.  Simply because you can’t tell the difference between a metaphor and a direct statement nor the difference between something you’ve chosen to believe a word or phrase means and something that it actually mean does not mean that your pre-existing opinion is automatically correct.  Belief is not fact, insistence is not proof, and opinion is not evidence.

  3. Oh, I see IP, so if I were to dismiss everything you say as a knee-jerk bunch of left wing soundbites from MoveOn, DailyKos, or Rach Maddow, then I would not be talking about you personally, but your words.  OK, got it, I understand your personal definition now.

  4. Dr. J:
    This is the second time you have so delightfully proven yourself wrong on your usage of this exact phrase; as you demonstrated, I attacked your words, not you personally (though I’ve noticed that you are one of many here who has a strange habit of equating the two).  It is true that I did then not respond to your post itself, but in order to do so, your commentary would have needed to possess some sort of argument; it’s hard to disagree with facts or evidence – as you invited me to do – when you completely fail to present any.  Simply parroting substance-free right-wing sound-bites is not the same as “evidence” just because you happen to already believe them.
    Incidentally, after the GOP pre-primary, I am willing to amend my earlier statements about Janice Arnold-Jones; while I am still not (yet) optimistic that she can win a primary – being rather too sensible to be acceptable to the ever-increasing conspiracy-obsessed bulk of her party – the fact that she can garner 62% support among the party establishment shows that they, at least, are perhaps finally realizing that running fringe candidates that in no way represent the views of most New Mexicans is hardly a winning strategy, and should she manage to convince the voters of her party of the same, there is hope that there will actually be a first district candidate worth voting for come November.

  5. IP says:  “I’m going to ignore Dr. J’s knee-jerk soundbites that appear to be definition-free strings of words that appear to be culled from the average story on World Net Daily,”   So is this attacking the messenger (knee-jerk soundbites, etc.) or the content of the message?  Did IP take on the content of my comments for facts, evidence, or even agreement with his own ideas (which apparently they are), or did he or she take me on personally?  Ad hom= “attacking an opponent’s character rather than answering his argument.”  So what is your definition IP?

  6. Er, Dr. J, you might want to learn what an ad hominem attack is before you try to use it as a catch-all phrase to dismiss criticisms of your fact-free sound-bites; furthermore, you might actually want to read what I wrote rather than what you had already decided I wrote; specifically, that Janice Arnold-Jones’ virtues are exactly the reason that while she could clean house in a general (against both Senator Griego and Marty Chávez), it’s a moot point since she’s probably far too sensible to stand a chance of winning the primary.

  7. I will ignore the aside attack, ad hom, on me and just say it is obvious IP and I are in full agreement on Griego and his supporters.  You have made my point IP, because I would not count that lady out, she has much to recommend her and against Griego she is a shoe-in.

  8. I thought it was really sad that some of Balderas’s supporters choose to make it a racist thing. Then resorted to the you are not from here thing. It really divides the Democratic Party and has no place in civilized society.

    Balderas might reconsider the company he keeps before he is permanently damaged by them.

    Good luck to ALL!

  9. I’m going to ignore Dr. J’s knee-jerk soundbites that appear to be definition-free strings of words that appear to be culled from the average story on World Net Daily, and merely focus on the rather amusing e-mail blast the Griego campaign sent out the night of the convention:
    “We’ve overcome the odds, and are beating back the establishment candidate in the race thanks to your support.”
    Senator Griego – or more accurately, whichever member of his campaign staff wrote this particular bit of fluff – seems to be as in need of a dictionary as the good doc… or, for that matter, as in need of one as Griego perennially is.  This is the party convention, Senator; if you win that, you are – by definition – the “establishment candidate”.  There is a very short list of people in the Party I will never work for (again), and Senator Griego is one of them; he is undisciplined, he frequently makes statements that send general election voters scurrying firmly into the other camp, and – hyperbole aside – while he is the perfect person to hold the fourteenth district, he really is too liberal for the first congressional district.  More importantly, he more often than not tends to hire people just as blinded by their idealism as he is.
    Unfortunately (since Commissioner Lujan Grisham doesn’t stand a chance), the alternative is Marty Chávez… who, incidentally, is one of the other two people on that list of folks I refuse to work for.  Our only saving grace is the the two GOP candidates most likely put up a serious challenge either dropped out already or never ponied up in the first place, and their only remaining good candidate is someone who would look great in a general election in this district, but that’s because she’s far too moderate for the tin-foil hat brigade that have taken over her party.
    And no, Qui Tam, because most of the rest of us don’t believe in subverting both the democratic and judicial processes just because we might disagree with someone.

  10. Griego wins with “superior organization”, enthusiastic supporters too?  Of course, the far left wing liberals like him have that in abundance, but they lack superior ideas that attract the majority of voters since theirs are so far left, anti-business, and socialistic, and they lack enthusiastic supporters that are not far left wing liberals.  The perfect candidate would be Griego for anyone right of Mao, and that includes most any Repub.  When all the far left endorsements get shown to rational voters, and they hear what Griego would do in Congress (I’m sure he thinks Pelosi is too right wing for him) they will know Griego is not for most people, just ones who think like he does in that liberal fantasyland.

  11. I fail to see the point of all this except for the big party the night before.  If this winnowing does not well, winnow, then it is an exercise in self importance.  It is meaningless to me as a regular voter trying the understand and weigh the candidates on their integrity, record and beliefs.   
    Having said that, I will be hoping and working for Evelyn Madrid Erhart. 

  12. ” [Griego]’s a lefty’s lefty”

    Nonsense. Eric Griego is a true conservative: he believes that by cooperating and working together as a nation we can improve the lives of all Americans.

    That’s an idea that goes back at least as far as a document that begins “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty … .”

    It’s an idea that goes back at least 100 years before that, to Thomas Hobbes, who pointed out that without cooperation, without the recognition of social interdependence – without civilization, that is – life in a state of nature is nasty, brustish, poor, solitary, and short.

    Eric Griego is a conservative because he believes these ideas, these ideas that have kept western civilization going for the last 400 years. It’s the people who believe that the war of all against all is good, who believe in unrestrained competition and winner take all economics, they are the radicals who threaten to destroy this nation.