Thursday, April 21, 2005

The New Pope And Big Bill; Not A Heavenly Match, And: Dem Chair Wertheim's Role Questioned, Plus: The Heather & Jeff Connection 

A conservative Catholic Pope and Big Bill is not a match made in Heaven. Last year the Guv suffered a setback when John Kerry lost NM and many Dems assigned a share of the blame to the Catholic church. Some church leaders urged Catholics here not to vote for Kerry because of his position (pro choice) on abortion. Is the same in store for our pro-choice Guv as he advances his Prez ambitions? NM Lobbyist Bill Jordan, a Catholic with a theology background, has our analysis:

"Democrats should be worried about the selection of Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope. He intervened in last years election when he wrote a letter to Catholic bishops telling them that communion should be denied to any supporter of abortion. He specifically mentioned "the case of a Catholic politician consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion laws." That...may have cost Kerry NM because many Catholic voters in the north left their presidential vote blank."

It appears Big Bill will need all his diplomatic skills to avoid a fate similar to Kerry's as he searches for Catholic votes. He seems to know it. In a controversial move, he gave state workers time off to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II.


There's no announced challenger to NM Democratic Party Chairman John Wertheim, but when members of the party's Central Committee meet in Socorro Saturday insiders say there will be rumblings about Wertheim's possible candidacy for attorney general. "If he runs for AG, he will be forced to give up the party chairmanship. It doesn't seem fair that he gets to keep the position if he is going to us it to launch his campaign," reported one source on deep background.

Fair or not, Wertheim is unopposed for another year at the party helm where he was placed with the blessing of Big Bill who also hired John's wife for a nice job in Santa Fe. Wertheim has let his name be floated for the AG spot, but has not said he is running. But he is a carrier of the political bug, having twice sought the ABQ congressional seat. Big Bill legal counsel Geno Zamora and ABQ State Rep. Al Park are both in for AG, with a long list of other Dem possibles.


When we blogged yesterday of those money reports for ABQ Mayor Marty and his opponent, ABQ City Councilor Eric Griego, we wondered where mayoral candidate Judy Espinosa's report was as well as those of city councilors' seeking re-election. Veteran ABQ Journal reporter Jim Ludwick informs that the reports filed were those required of elected city officials. Official campaign reports from all candidates will not be due until later in the year.

So, how come no reports from elected councilors Sally Mayer, Tina Cummins and Dem Miguel Gomez, who are all up for re-election? You mean they did not raise a penny in the first three months of the year? Apparently not. However, Ludwick, on the City Hall beat for five years now, reminds us that each city councilor has a $5,000 annual "discretionary" fund, more than enough to get some "communication" going without having to officially start the money chase. (Councilor Cadigan reported his contributions)

Mayer has a tough re-elect ahead. Cummins, if she goes, will apparently have it easier as she has no announced opponents.


Sen. Bingaman

ABQ GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson is being pounded this week in radio ads for voting for the new, tougher bankruptcy law. The MoveOn PAC made the anti-Heather buy, but their spot fails to mention that NM Democratic U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman voted for the very same bill. The PAC claims: "Our ad campaign will serve notice to politicans in both parties." Of course, it does not. Aren't most of these "PACS" partisan political groups that have more interest in the next election than watchdogging for the public? Just asking.

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