Since when did conservative GOP Members of the state House support abolishing the death penalty? Since Monday, that's when. The eyebrows arched when it was noted that five R's joined with the Dems to abolish the death penalty on a 38 to 31 vote. Never mind that the measure will die before it gets to Big Bill. How could R's Justine Fox-Young of the conservative ABQ NE Heights, Brian Moore of redneck "Little Texas" and Larry Larranaga of the far ABQ GOP Heights take the liberal position on this litmus test issue of the conservative movement?
Fox-Young ousted fellow Republican Bob White in a bitterly contested primary contest last year after accusing White of being to close to "liberal" Big Bill. It was no surprise to hear White on the end of the phone line late Monday pointing out Fox-Young's anti-death penalty vote and telling me he is contemplating a rematch against her. If he doesn't run some other Republican surely will, claim my GOP watchers. The 25 year old freshman Rep has been held out as a future leader of her party. After her anti-death penalty stance the question now is which one, the D's or The R's?
Insiders were equally stunned by Rep. Larranaga's vote against the death penalty, but they say Larry may be an unlikely candidate for re-election and was simply voting the way he really feels, no matter how out of tune it is with his constituents. Brian Moore from the East side had an easy go of it last year, drawing no primary or General opposition. But against the death penalty in Little Texas? Is Moore's death penalty vote a death wish? Time will tell. R's Teresa Zanetti of ABQ and Dub Williams of Lincoln County were the other two House GOP anti-death penalty votes.
And what about Dem attorney general candidate Al Park of ABQ voting against the death penalty? Even a notable progressive like Al has to know he is playing with fire. Perhaps it's a vote that will go down OK with liberal Dem primary voters in 06, but it was also noticed that possible Park opponent and House Judiciary chairman Joe Cervantes of Las Cruces voted in favor of the death penalty. Whether Park is opposed the primary by Joe, or becomes the General Election AG contender, his vote on is going to be a major issue. Don't say we didn't tell you.THE WEH WATCHChair Weh
Meanwhile, insiders report the Chairman of the NM GOP was not exactly firing up the troops at his recent meeting with House Republicans. They say Allen Weh was asked why he was not more aggressive in attacking Big Bill's policies and holding him accountable. Weh, according to my reliable sources, told the lawmakers that was not his job and that he was concentrating on voter registration.
House Republicans voting against the death penalty, the party chair giving a pass to Big Bill, no heavyweight candidates for Guv or U.S. Senate. That's the state of the NM GOP today. But hey, Bush won NM!
BEHIND THE IMPEACHMENT
Some stuff is briefly mentioned and too quickly forgotten. Take the impeachment resolution introduced in the state House against alleged pot smoking NM Public Regulation Commissioner Shirley Baca. It was only briefly noted, but the Alligators were quick to point out that it was two Native America Reps introducing the resolution. And who, they ask, has Baca been fighting tooth and nail the last couple of years? That would be fellow commissioner, former State Rep and Native American Lynda Lovejoy. Is she encouraging Rep's Begaye and Harrison? We're just asking.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2005
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