Monday, April 11, 2005

The Rehabilitation of Ken Zangara; Embattled GOP Boss Fights Back And Scores Win, Plus: Graves Out As Director Of NM GOP; Details On Your Monday Blog 

That old cliché--the best defense is a great offense--springs to mind after a weekend in which GOP stalwart Ken Zangara, on the ropes in the wake of an investigation of his auto dealership by Attorney General Patricia Madrid, roared back into the headlines of our beloved La Politica by winning another term as Bernalillo County GOP chairman. And it was done on an unanimous voice vote. This, despite banner headlines that confronted Zangara last month when Madrid ripped open his Dodge dealership with a variety of charges of wrongdoing, many of which came from Zangara's customers.

But Zangara countered that Democrat Madrid, who he tangled with in the past, was on a political witch hunt, and his fellow R's apparently agreed as they ignored the controversy and put him back in the drivers seat of their party. Zangara had been thinking about calling it quits and Fernando C de Baca was waiting in the wings as insiders speculated that Zangara might head for the exits, but Zangara decided to fight. Not only is he fighting on the political front, but he has launched an all-out TV ad assault to overcome the Madrid charges. And who is featured in one of those TV spots giving a testimonial to Zangara's dealership? Why, none other than former NM GOP chair Edward Lujan.

Zangara, one of NM's biggest donors to President Bush, has demonstrated that in politics you can die a thousand deaths. His shot at snagging an appointment as a Bush ambassador may now be a long shot, but Zangara's re-election as county chair shows he is ready for more of the rough and tumble of New Mexico politics. To that we say: Bring it on!


The executive director of the NM GOP, Greg Graves, is a tested political pro with years of experience in southern NM, but it apparently was not enough to survive here in the big city. Reliable sources report to "NM Politics With Joe Monahan" that Graves is out as ED. "The reasons why are somewhat cloaked, Joe. But he is out of there soon," a top R reports.

Graves will reportedly head back south after less than a year in the job under party chair Allen Weh, who is seeking re-election to his post in May, so far without opposition. Republicans have been grumpy about the party not holding their own in the slash and burn category with Dem chair Wertheim and will also be looking for a new communications director as they replace Graves.

Weh came in after the coup against Ramsay Gorham and basically turned the party over to the Bush campaign last year. Bush did win NM, but top R's complain that the party has done a poor job recruiting candidates for governor and senate next year and ABQ mayor this year. They are hoping the new blood coming in will start generating some enthusiasm among the party faithful about the prospect of taking on Big Bill and Senator Bingaman next year.

As for Graves, who reportedly banished the reading of this Blog from party headquarters, no hard feelings, Greg. Just think, soon you will be able to read us entirely guilt-free. Hasta La Vista, baby.


Finally, Big Bill wasn't doing his buddy Butch Maki any favors when he made his final decisions on Legislative passed bills Friday. The Guv vetoed the propsoal, covered here, that would have paved the way for lobbyist Maki to start up a phone company to serve the Navajo reservation.

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.

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