A political soap opera, some would say circus, that could land New Mexico in the national spotlight broke out late Tuesday in the ABQ NE Heights as Anita Ogle, wife of GOP State Rep. Rory Ogle who is accused of beating her up, told me she is seriously considering running against Ogle for his House seat.
Also, reliable Republican sources tell "NM Politics With Joe Monahan” that GOP Chair Allen Weh and GOP Bernalillo County Chair Ken Zangara pressured Ogle to resign at a Tuesday lunch, but Ogle refused. But politicos assessing the Anita Ogle statement say the end game is near.
"I think if Anita announces for sure that she is running, Rory will quit," a Republican legislator told me. "There's just too much damage she could do."
Anita Ogle told me she has contacted a lawyer in preparation for divorcing her husband , a freshman Republican. And she claimed she has been abused at his hands for years.
But how much damage will it take for Rory to see the light? Anita Ogle may not care. "I am considering running for the seat if he resigns, and I am considering running as a write-in candidate against him if he stays in” the race, she said from her home where she is nursing a broken wrist as a result of last months fight with her lawmaker husband.
TIME TICKS DOWN
The clock is now ticking fast with the GOP desperate to get rid of the baggage Ogle represents. If he does not resign by the end of the month, they are stuck with him, but Anita Ogle may represent the way out. "Top Republicans could endorse her over Rory giving themselves protection from the Democrats who want to say the party condones domestic violence," analyzed another R.
For her part, Anita Ogle told me domestic violence against New Mexico's women would be her top campaign issue if she indeed does make the run.
The 53 year old computer instructor at ABQ's TV-I has never run for office before. But she said she considered running when the seat her husband now holds became vacant. "Actually, I was the one who was going to run but we adopted a child so Rory did it, but I did half the work and am responsible for getting him elected,” she declared.
New Mexico political history is filled with the fantastic but true and the Ogle saga is another chapter. Rory Ogle is now about to face backbreaking pressure from the nation’s second largest political party. It is hard to imagine him staying the course. But if he does, it appears he will have to do so against the woman who, by order of a temporary restraining order, he cannot go near for the next six months.
One of the things keeping Rory in the game, according to friends and insiders, is the support of State House Minority leader Ted Hobbs and other GOP legislators such as ABQ's Janice Arnold-Jones. "Ted wants Rory's vote for his re-election as House Minority Leader," said a top R.
But a Republican lawmaker fresh from a couple of committee hearings in Santa Fe reports Ogle will be a pariah if he shows up for the January session. "No one is going to touch him politically. The consensus is that he should resign." He told me.
NATIONAL BLACK EYE?
If Anita Ogle runs expect New Mexico to be splashed across the national news channels and expect a myriad of women’s rights groups to endorse her cause and possibly campaign for her. And why not? NM ranks near the top in he nation in cases of domestic violence against women. And while the Dems have been, for the most part, holding their fire on the Ogle affair (AG Madrid the big exception)you can expect much louder volleys if Ogle stays in the game in the Fall.
GOP leaders Weh and Zangara have stepped up the plate to quash the coming wrath, But they, and the rest of the Republican Party, is paying a price for the year long infighting that has hobbled the GOP. One of the ironies for Weh is that he had the support of the Dendahlites for State Chair in May but now finds himself on the other side of the fence from them on the Ogle affair. Perhaps he now knows how Chair Ramsay Gorham felt.
There may be two Republican parties at work here but it will be just one party that pays the price at the ballot box if Ogle vs. Ogle becomes the premier race of Campaign 04.'
Make our site, WWW.JOEMONAHAN.COM, one of your favorites and e-mail a link to interested friends. Interested in advertising to NM's large political community? E-mail me from the top right of this page, or call 505-243-4059 for details.
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2004
Not for reproduction without permission of the author