Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Betting On Bingaman; A Top Insider Sets The Odds, And: Bids In For Plum State Job. It's Summer 2005, Time For a Dive Into The Pool Of La Politica 

It won't come as a shock to you political addicts, but the respected Cook Political Report in D.C. is now upping NM Dem Senator Jeff Bingaman's chances of reelection in 06' from "likely" to "solid." For Cook that means Bingaman is a virtual lock. For some reason Cook and other Washington insiders were thinking that one of our House R's, Pearce or Wilson, would challenge Jeff. That was never taken very seriously down here, but once it became clear in D.C. they started to see the Bingaman reelect in a different light. The only announced challenger to Jeff is political gadfly and R Tom Benavidez who once ran as the Dem nominee against Senator Pete. Still, the Bingaman camp will be on high alert thru the Fall to see if a more serious challenge emerges. But for now, on this first day of Summer, the livin' is easy and the money pile is getting high.

It was interesting to note the 13 names in the running for the plum job of secretary of the new Higher Education Department. The name of Beverelee McClure, prez of Clovis Community College, jumped out because the Alligators reported to us in March to keep an eye on her. McClure served as co-chair of Big Bill's Higher Education Task Force which helped make possible the creation of the new agency. She was in the running to become the Guv's Secretary of Education but lost out to Veronica Garcia. No doubt McClure, who has friendly relations with some key legislators, is ready to make a move. She applied but was turned down last year for the presidency of Austin Community College. The smart money likes her for NM's Secretary of Higher Education. Stay tuned and see how smart they are.


Where do you come down on the argument over Big Bill increasing the number of "exempt" state employees by nearly 50 percent? Those are employees who can be fired directly by the Guv. He started with 292, now there are 437. Is that bad? Not really. Politicians constantly complain about how unresponsive bureaucracy can be. Exempt employees have to jump when the Guv says jump. He can get things done fast that way. If they don't work out the voters can take it out on the guy who rules the exempt employees--the Guv. Now about that doubling in size of Big Bill's office staff. That one puts him back under the gun for being "imperial." Of course, Gary Johnson had little to do as Guv and Big Bill can and does argue he's a busy Guv who needs more staffers. OK. But no rides for them on the new airplane.

Thanks for stopping by on this first day of summer. Let’s meet up here again tomorrow for more on the intriguing world of New Mexico politics. Meantime, emal me your news and comments.

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