Monday, June 13, 2005

Pete's Fingerprints On ABQ Mayor's Race, Plus, Da Plane! Da Plane! Big Bill Battles Back, And: Death Calls For NM Broadcasting Legend 

Pete's prints are now officially on the 2005 ABQ mayor's race. Insiders confirm that fundraisers long associated with the state's senior GOP Senator, Heidi Fuller and Sara Lister, have signed up with Brad Winter, the only R seeking the mayor's chair, and are out pounding the pavement on his behalf.

"This is pretty close to the bone. Does it mean Domenici is fully backing Winter and will be closely involved in the campaign? It sure points in that direction. It's also interesting to hear rumblings from the Republican National Committee in this race and then see Pete's fingerprints," analyzed an experienced R operative.

You may recall Heidi's name from a couple of years ago when she lost her fundraising contract with the state GOP when Ramsay Gorham took over. It was one of the reasons for the internal war that broke out in the party that led to Ramsay's ouster. Those old wounds may be starting to heal under chair Allen Weh who would like nothing more than to see an R in the mayor's chair next year, just in time for the 06' Guv's race.

Winter's challenge, of course, remains uniting the GOP behind his middle-of-the-road candidacy. The additions of Fuller and Lister give him some punch in raising money and it doesn't hurt if people assume Pete is backing his candidacy. How much dough does Winter need? Political pros don't think it's the half million that incumbent Mayor Marty will toss around. They put Winter's needs more in the $300k area. "He'll get 20% of the vote just for being an R. That cuts down the need quite a bit," offered another GOP Alligator.

If Domenici is coming out of the closet for Winter, you might ask: what's in it for him? My insiders answer: how about jobs at City Hall, blocking Mayor Marty from someday taking his U.S. senate seat, and the aforementioned positioning for the 06' Guv's race? Sounds like reason enough to me. But hey, I'm just a blogger in worn out pajamas.


Did Big Bill do the right thing when he cut a radio spot responding to the GOP's effective ad attack faulting him for the state purchase of a $5.5 million jet airplane? Opinion is split, but most pros I spoke with said Big Bill was correct. "Listen, if the charge just hangs out there and is never answered, people start to believe it. This is the kind of accusation that could permanently alter his image and he can not afford to let it go unanswered. Others disagreed, saying the R's had lured the Guv into a back and forth over the plane which can only keep it in the public mind and continue the damage. Meanwhile, the ABQ Tribune was telling its readers the Guv ought to make a “refreshing admission” that he “stepped in it” on this one.


Be that as it may, Big Bill has other arrows in his quiver to fire at the R's. How about that extra $200 million now projected to flow into state coffers this fiscal year? He threw that at them as well as taking time to hit the "nay sayers" over his tax cuts for the well-to-do. He said the extra dough was due to those tax cuts spurring economic activity. Of course, $90 million of it comes from the bull market in oil and gas prices. Still, while Big Bill's plane move may have been a boner, the R's have a long way to go to bring him down on the money issue. Someday the sky may indeed fall, but right now it's raining dollars in our Enchanted Land and the guy forecasting the weather is the one who gets the credit.


TV insiders are mourning last week's loss from cancer of legendary NM broadcast executive Jerry Danzinger. He was 81 years old and had been associated with KOB-TV since 1957. Danzinger worked for the Hubbard family of Minnesota who own the NBC affiliate and he became a major fixture in the field of La Politica as he laid down policy on debate and news coverage and was active with the NM Broadcasters Association.

KOB-TV ruled the NM market until the mid 1970's when KOAT took the lead. KOB won back the top spot about five years ago. KOB's Stuart Dyson reminds us that Danzinger was a scrappy WWII combat veteran who brought his tenacity to the TV industry as he battled longtime competitor and friend Max Sklower of KOAT-TV, another TV executive who brought modern television to NM. Sklower is now retired in ABQ and joins others in noting the passing of Jerry Danzinger and the turning of yet another page in the book of La Politica.


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