Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Bloodsport Of La Politica May Take Ken Zangara Out As GOP Boss; C de Baca Waits In The Wings, Plus: More Insider Stuff From NM's Top Political Blog
The bloodsport of La Politica may be set to claim yet another victim. The insiders say GOP Bernalillo County chair and car dealer, Ken Zangara, appears headed towards the exits and Fernando C de Baca, a South Valley R who ran for state senate last year, appears to be in line to replace him. Zangara has been roughed up bad by his longtime political rival, Dem Attorney General Patsy Madrid. She drew out the long knives and a negative story on his dealership burst into the headlines. "Ken took a severe hit. Not only does it appear he will be exiting as chair, but any hopes he had to become a U.S. Ambassador under Bush are out the window," said one GOP source.
Zangara is one of the best GOP fundraisers in the biz having raised hundreds of thousands for Bush, but this is his second controversy with auto dealerships. In 1992 he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges that he defrauded 80 employees of a previous car dealership out of more than $20,000 in wages and benefits. Zangara was put on a three-year probation and ordered to pay the affected workers $73,000 in restitution.
With Zangara on the political ropes enter Fernando C de Baca who told me: "If Ken does not run I will enter the race for county chair." Zangara is a close friend of C de Baca's, an ABQ native and retired businessman who came up short in 04' in his duel with Dem James Taylor for Manny Aragon's state senate seat. C de Baca says voter registration would be a top priority for him. But don't look for him to knock state GOP Chair Allen Weh, who he's backing for re-election. He does say, however, that the party at all levels needs to be aggressive in the fight against Big Bill and if Weh gets a two year term in April he expects to see the party turn up the heat either thru Weh or GOP surrogates.
Meanwhile, feedback from our story yesterday on how some R's were stunned when self-described conservatives of ABQ's NE Heights, Reps Justine Fox-Young and Larry Larranaga, voted to repeal New Mexico's death penalty. A questionnaire Fox-Young filled out for the ABQ Journal in May of last year has her declaring she would vote NOT to repeal the penalty, unlike the vote she cast Monday. Larranaga was more consistent. He said in the questionnaire he would vote FOR repeal and that's what he did.
It's hard to say what good it's doing for him with the liberal wing of the Dem Party, which often turns out to be the nominating wing, but Big Bill continues to win praise from such unlikely corners as the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. Tuesday they called him the "best" Democratic Guv because he cut taxes for the wealthy in NM. The paper picked up their praise from the conservative D.C. Cato institute which also threw bouquets the Big Fella's way. Now, If Big Bill could just get some praise from all those Hillary fans. Aah, that's a much tougher row to hoe, isn't it?
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2005
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