Associates and those in the know expect to spot an independent streak in new state senate majority leader Michael Sanchez when he assumes his power position in mid-January. "He is a bright guy who will put together his own staff and will not take all his signals from the Fourth Floor," analyzed one Dem party insider. Dem Sanchez, an attorney and brother of former NM House Speaker Raymond Sanchez, was not the first pick of Big Bill for the job. But then critics assert the Guv should have nothing to do anyway with who gets leadership posts in the independent legislative branch. Some Santa Fe alligators are saying Light Guv Diane Denish was in on the Sanchez win late in the game when Big Bill's horse, Sen. Phil Griego, faltered in the stretch.
During the holidays the scurrying will continue over who will lead the key senate and house committees. Senate Finance is being vacated by legend Ben Altimirano who will will become President Pro Tem. John Arthur Smith of Deming and Pete Campos of Las Vegas are said to be two serious contenders who will lobby Altimirano and Sanchez, among others, to lead the most powerful of that chamber's panels.
DEMS GET IT ALL?
And talk of a GOP-Dem coalition once again in the state senate is dying down. Richard Romero who did the deed with the R's is now gone and, according to insiders, the will just does not seem to be there. Manny Aragon is also gone and it was his personality and power that prompted the latest bout of NM coalition politics. If Altimirano and Sanchez run the senate without the R's it will be good news for Big Bill. How does it look for a guy who is running for Prez not to have his own party handling and holding on to power? He inherited the Manny-Richard thing, but it's his watch now and coalition politics do not send a signal of gubernatorial strength to Dems nationally. Of course, something crazy could happen to revive the coalition and that's what will keep us all paying attention when the solons reconvene.
Another Sanchez, John Sanchez of Los Ranchos, is apparently building a home inside the city of ABQ limits, according to friends. That means the speculation about John seeking the ABQ's Mayor's office in 05' will heat up again. But what about a nice fat federal job to fill out Sanchez's thin resume? Don't count the 02' GOP Guv candidate out. White House political guru Karl Rove has always taken an interest in the ABQ North Valley roofer and onetime state rep.
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