Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Why Wait ? Heather To Bring VP Cheney To ABQ In May, Plus: Blog Report On Rep. McCoy Seat Stirs Waters; Need A Political Fix? You've Found Your Shot 

After she raises a bunch of bucks from his visit next month would ABQ GOP U.S. Rep Heather Wilson please put a word in with VP Dick Cheney in support of our NM air bases? We don't feel like living in ghost towns. The renewed talk of shutting down Kirtland in ABQ is enough to make the plunging stock market look like economic progress.

Insiders report Heather has indeed lined up Cheney for a May fundraiser as she prepares for yet another re-election cycle. Didn't the last one just end? It comes at a tricky time for the tenacious and studious Congresswoman who last year dispatched her Dem opponent in a landslide. Dems have been hammering her to reject the Bush proposal to allow individuals to invest their Social Security taxes in the currently disliked and distrusted stock market. Heather has stayed firmly neutral, although she appeared to reject the notion back in 98'.

But perhaps in a sign that she is not completely tone-deaf to the situation, she has taken a high-profile and decided turn to the left on proposed Medicaid spending cuts, loudly defending the state-run health program for the poor. Wilson voted for a round of Medicaid cuts before apparently changing her mind. She did not explain her switch. Could it be a prelude to her throwing in the towel on the stock market/Social Security proposal which is unpopular in all polls? There's no immediate pressure. The Dems have no definite candidate for Heather to face in 06.'


Some Republicans took "NM Politics with Joe Monahan" to task over our report that former D.C. Heather Wilson staffer, Republican Karin Foster, may be eyeing a race against GOP freshman ABQ State Rep. Kathy McCoy. Our critics have been getting personal too, but we wouldn't be here if that made us back off from doing our best to tell the real inside stories of NM politics.

Foster reportedly says she will not make the run next year but, according to State Rep. McCoy and Washington sources, Foster has indeed seriously weighed a candidacy.

Here's how McCoy put it in an email: "Joe, this surfaced early in the recent (Legislative) session. At that time, I asked Karin directly whether it was true. She said she wanted to run at some point, but not in the immediate future."

So, according to Rep. McCoy, Foster told her she wants "to run at some point." And Washington sources reaffirm that Foster told Congressional staffers last year that she was going to run.

So why does it matter that a GOP political unknown contemplates a challenge to an incumbent R state Rep? Because it addresses the current status of the wing of the NM GOP led by lawyer/lobbyist Mickey Barnett. Remember, it was that wing that last year fielded primary opponents against several Republicans causing major party disruption and generating coverage of the strife in major NM media. McCoy trounced her Barnett-faction opponent in the 04' primary. Her predecessor, Rep. Ron Godbey, also held off a Barnett backed challenger.

The important question for NM politics is will it happen again? Some insiders feel the Barnett wing, hit hard by Mickey's loss for re-election as GOP National Committeeman and the Legislative retirement of ally Joe Thompson, has had its last hurrah when it comes to primarying fellow Republicans. They further speculate that the vociferous response to the McCoy report and the possibility that Foster would be a Barnett backed contender may be a result of the GOP finally trying to exercise some discipline and heal a party that was torn asunder. But for the healing to begin, the hurting has to be stopped.


To the politicians trying to make the reporting of this story a motive for personal attacks, I again paraphrase the late, great Harry Truman: "I never give them hell. I just tell the truth, and they think it's hell."


You may have seen the late and legendary lobbyist Pancho Padilla quoted here Monday as saying, "I won the Legislature." It should have read, "I own the Legislature." The error was due to a Starbucks induced caffeine overdose combined with a 300 mile drive to Dona Ana County during which I experienced several interesting hallucinations which someday I hope to have explained. Meanwhile, thanks to the many readers who pointed out the Pancho error.

Send me your notes, comments and news via email from the link at the top right of this page. See you tomorrow.

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