Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Back To The Future: Stephanie Gonzales Readies Another Run For Sec. Of State, Plus: We Take You Back On The ABQ Campaign Trail; Let's Blog This Town!
Since 1987 only two women have held the office of Secretary of State in our Enchanted Land, and if Stephanie Gonzales gets her way it will stay that way for yet another four. She had the job for two, four year terms (1991-98') and friends say she is now a definite go for a run in 2006. Kate Nash played around with the possible names back in May when Stephanie stayed on the fence, but my sources say push her off, she's in and she will be the favorite.
Gonzales and current Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron started their unprecedented run of terms in 1986 when Becky won. She did it again in 98', succeeding Stephanie, and took the trophy home again in 02'. Stephanie also goes way back having served as deputy during Rebecca's first term. Big Bill hired Gonzales in 03' as director of the Human Services Department's child support enforcement division, but the lure of La Politica is again pulling her back into the limelight.
The Gonzales go is especially bitter news for Bernalillo County Clerk Marry Herrera who has been cutting a bunch of "public service announcements" and building name ID in vote-laden ABQ, but Mary has little statewide ID and the added disadvantage of coming from the area which has a terrible reputation for compiling election results, despite her generally competent stewardship.
THE ETHNIC FACTOR
If you don't count Big Bill, who is half Hispanic, a Gonzales nomination would give the party at least one well-known Hispanic in a major race. You could say the same if Mary or the other contenders won. Observers think that's important to get the Hispanic vote out in the Fall.
The Guv's blessing is more important for money than for votes in a Dem primary. Let's see which way he leans when influencing the cash handouts. And what about Light Guv Diane Denish, who unleashed unforgettable nuclear warfare against Stephanie when they both sought the Dem nomination for Light Guv years back? Will she be having a welcome back party for Stephanie? Just wondering.
If history is any guide it's good to be a Gonzales and run for the position. A check of the history books (the things I do for you!) shows three different Gonzales' have held the position for a total of twelve years since we became a state back in that glorious year of 1912. And what of Stephanie's soulmate Rebecca? Things are rough for her right now with nothing really to run for. Could she end up cooling her heels as deputy secretary of state under Stephanie?
I'm back on the ABQ campaign trail. Republican Brad Winter, in an officially nonpartisan mayor's race, has cut a 60 second radio more or less repeating what he says in his small cable TV buy. But there is one big difference. On TV he ends the spot by calling himself the "independent Republican." But that phrase is dropped in the radio. Did all the analysts piling on against the slogan persuade Winter to back off? Whatever the case, Dems and conservative R's looking for a candidate are not shut out on the radio, as they were on the tube.
Juan Jose Pena, an Hispanic activist with a following around NM and who unsuccessfully tried to get a ballot spot for the ABQ city council seat representing Downtown and Barelas, is now endorsing Isaac Benton who did make the ballot. Only Hispanics have been elected to the district. That will change this year with either Anglo Benton or African-American Diana-Dorn Jones prevailing. But the Hispanic vote is crucial and Benton is hoping the Pena endorsement will help. Dorn-Jones' supporters say Juan, no stranger to controversy, could lose Benton as many votes as he wins for him.
By the way, there has been one African-American on the city council. In the 1970's Dr. Solomon Brown was appointed by then-Mayor Kinney to fill out the term of Mel Aragon who resigned. I don't believe Brown ran for the seat on his own, thus keeping the record intact of no African-American ever being elected to the panel. Dorn-Jones would be the first since 74.'
Which reminds me, I am having lunch today with my "cousin," Dr. Lenton Malry who was the first black elected to the Legislature from NM. Democrat Lenton, a former Bernalillo county commissioner who now works as the county's neighborhood program coordinator, has served as an analyst for every one of my Election Night broadcasts on KANW 89.1 FM since way back in 88.' Today I will tell him to not spoil the October 4 Election Night by predicting the winners too early.
Get out the credit card, Lenton. Once a politico, always one, which gives you the honor.
Thanks for joining me today. Hope to see you again tomorrow.
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2005
Not for reproduction without permission of the author