Wednesday, June 15, 2005

In the Lyon's Den; Land Commissioner Post Eyed By D's; Can They Take The R Out? Plus: Blogging At Tiny's In Santa Fe; Witty Women And Good Enchiladas 

Martin Heinrich
NM Dems are licking their chops over the prospect of taking back the State Land Commissioner's office from Pat Lyons. After all, they assert, the former state senator winning in 02' was a fluke. Only one other R has won the spot in recent memory. That was back in the 80's and that too, Dems claim, was a fluke. With that as a backdrop, there won't be any shortage of candidates for the powerful position. One of the contenders could very well be liberal Dem ABQ City Councilor Martin Heinrich who is telling friends he is serious about running. Heinrich's statewide name ID went up couple of notches recently as he became the prime mover behind the proposal to increase the minimum wage in ABQ. That won't make him many friends with the conservatives, but if he ends up as the only liberal in the race it could serve him well.

The road to the nomination won't necessarily be easy. Liberal ABQ Dem State Sen. Cisco McSorley found that out when longtime Dem politico Art Trujillo easily beat Cisco for the D nod, only to go on to lose to R Lyons after attacks on Trujillo's past record. It was an upset and one that top Dems don't think will stick. But Lyons has already accumulated a large cash balance, positioned himself as no friend of Big Bill's (Does that help or hurt?) and enjoys loyalty among R's and the business community. But a statewide race with an untarnished Dem will pose a special challenge for Lyons even as he ably supervises the state's land and the oil and gas leases that have generated millions for state coffers during this multi-year energy bull market. Heinrich has been active in environmental groups and is employed in that field.

A Heinrich-Lyons showdown would provide a real clash of philosophies but former San Miguel County Commissioner Leroy Garcia will try to prevent that as may NM Expo (Fair) manager Fred Peralta. Both are eyeing the D run for Land Commissioner with Leroy telling associates he is a definite go.


A number of interesting subjects came up during my recent visit with the Northern New Mexico Press Women including this one: If blogs are being asked to disclose their biases or their potential conflicts of interest, why not the corporate media? What do the big local and national newspaper chains own, besides their newspapers, that may set them up for a potential conflict? Do readers deserve to know so they can decide for themselves? How about the big TV chains too? Just asking. The press women's group is headed up by Carol Clark of the Los Alamos Monitor and includes among its members writer Anne Hillerman and Emily Drabanski, editor of NM Magazine. We had the meeting at the decades old Tiny's restaurant in Santa Fe which I am glad to report is still serving pretty good enchiladas, but ignore the coffee.


On the subject of women in the media and related fields, veteran GOP PR operative Whitney Cheshire has been hired to spin for the mayoral effort of ABQ GOP mayor candidate Brad Winter. Whitney comes to Winter from the State House and also from a brief stint at the state GOP. She has been around the mayoral track before, flacking for R Mike McEntee who ran four years ago. Another veteran female operative, Dem Bridget Cusick, is managing Mayor Marty's campaign and also handling the spin doctoring.

Keep the politics coming. Email your comments, news, complaints or whatever else is on your mind. I look forward to hearing from you. Back at you tomorrow.

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