Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Heather Headed For Free Ride; Run By Madrid Doubtful; No Serious Foe On Horizon; "It's Disgusting," Grumbles Dem, Plus: Ex-Mayor On Mayor Marty 

Heather & Mayor Marty
They don't pay me to read tea leaves or interpret voice pitch. In fact, they don't pay me for much of anything around here, but I am still going to offer up the opinion that after speaking with Attorney General Patricia Madrid Monday I am nearly convinced that ABQ GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson is headed for the first free ride of her congressional career. Imagine that. No fierce 30 second point-counterpoint TV ads flooding the October airwaves every other year and no Dems banging the drum that 'this is the year' she goes down. It's a status achieved by her GOP predecessors, Steve Schiff and Manuel Lujan, but because Heather lacks their personal connection some thought it might never happen for her. But with President Bush tanking in the polls and gas prices soaring--in other words with Heather perhaps at her most vulnerable--the taxi is rounding the corner offering her a free ride.

The diminutive and feisty Madrid has amply demonstrated she is afraid of no one. But she did everything but take a Heather challenge off the table when she phoned in Monday to comment about the blog and La Politica. While shunning an uphill battle against Heather, the lifelong Dem dangled out a run at Land Commissioner and more dramatically, a primary challenge to Lt. Guv Diane Denish. Be still my heart! That would be a political junkie's dream setting off all kinds of speculation about the future of the Dem party and the Guv's office. Alas, I see that as doubtful as well. The Dona Ana County native also said she just might sit out the 06' cycle and serve on some corporate boards. Her politics now revolves around her political action committee--Justice For America--which she says is encouraging Hispanic women to get involved in politics and government. It has over a hundred grand in the bank.

Alligator Lopez
But back to Heather. At lunch at Barelas Coffee House Tuesday with non-anonymous Alligator and South Valley politico Andrew Leo Lopez and longtime GOP warhorse Bill Turner, conversation turned to our New Hampshire native congresswoman. Lopez pointed to her military veteran status as a not so secret weapon with New Mexico Hispanics. "It resonates with them." He said. We also noted her tendency to get a scare early in her campaigns and then on Election Night close it out big time. Not only is she poised to get a free ride next year, but she appears to be shaping up as the odds-on favorite to replace Pete Domenici someday. Yes, Steve Pearce down south is listening.

But hold it. If Patsy doesn't want to take the Heather dive, what about other Dems? Sorry, no serious takers, according to top D's. "It's disgusting," grumbled one of them when told of my conversation with Madrid. No, he wasn't upset with the AG, just upset that a free ride for Heather, after battling her since 1998, is simply not acceptable. But accept it they must. Ever since Heather Wilson was hand-picked by Senator Pete to fill the Schiff shoes, she has been shadowed by whispers of unworthiness. After seven years, it appears she may be about to dump that baggage and get going on that free ride.


That was some roundtable on the Monday blog dealing with the ABQ Journal poll on the ABQ mayor's race. And we have more. Who better than a former mayor to assess just where things stand? Probably no one. So here's Jim Baca, Alcalde of the Duke City from 1997 to 2001.

"Marty is probably in pretty good shape right now, but with 40% reelect numbers he is not out of the danger of having a run off election. His low reelect numbers are traditional for any Mayor in Albuquerque. No Mayor has ever won a reelection effort, although two have hung out for four years and come back to win again. They are Harry Kinney and Mayor Chavez. Chavez could break that jinx this time around because of the nonexistence of any serious opposition campaigns. It probably will get pretty nasty in the last month however and that is why Chavez might indeed face a runoff," blogs Baca.

I have some more on the ABQ minimum wage hike battle too, but it will have to wait. How about tomorrow? See ya then.

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