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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Diane D's Holly, Jolly Christmas; A Million In The Bank And Friends To Help Spend It; Top Women Dems Regale Light Guv; Come On, Let's Party Some More! 

DA Brandenburg & Rep. Picraux
I had a two pronged agenda Monday night. Dash through the desert to the Dem Diane Denish announcement party at Sandia Resort and Casino and then head south to Isleta Casino and Resort for the Xmas show of the nationally acclaimed Brian Setzer Orchestra and a complete escape from politics. But knowing me as you do, you bet correctly that I never did escape the politics. Truly, I am a condemned man, selected by the Gods to demonstrate to others the dangers of a one-track life. But it's really not so bad. Kind of like being consigned to a velvet cage. So come on, let's party.

It was the top NM women political players who dominated the scene at the posh and new Sandia hotel where Governor Stuwart Paisano greeted one and all and where an in-the-round buffet was laid out with people moving around it like a human Lazy Susan. It's where I ran into Dem Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg and ABQ State Rep. Danice Picraux.

Perky Kari was all grins and in the holiday spirit. I did not want to crash the mood by asking why in God's name we can't get a drunk driver's blood test back within 24 hours like they do in the real United States. So I didn't. And Danice was too cheery to ask about power struggles in the House Democratic caucus so I bit my tongue on that one too. I did inflict some discomfort by insisting on a camera phone photo, but I think it looks pretty good, don't you?

TIS' THE SEASON
Archuleta-Loeser & Cordova
I had never met the female power duo of the Bernalillo County Commission, Deanna Archuleta-Loeser and Teresa Cordova, but there they were beaming from ear to ear. And why not? The political pros downplayed their performance expectations. But a year into their terms, so far, so good. For Denish too. She has raised a million bucks, none of it her own money and is unopposed for the Dem Light Guv nod.

After all the welcome pulchritude, I headed over to testosterone alley where holding forth was living legend lobbyist Robert McBride, ABQ Metro Court Judge Ben Chavez ("I've handled 8,000 cases in my first year!") and ABQ District Court Judge Michael Kavanaugh. He was collecting petition signatures for his wife, newly appointed ABQ Metro Judge Julie Altweis. The new job will be like a vacation for Julie who has for years worked the violent crimes beat in the DA's office.

With the clock ticking toward Setzer hour, I looked for the Queen Bee herself, but the lonely ballroom podium signaled I was going to miss her. I spotted blogger Chantal Foster of Duke City Fix and thought she might be able to fill me in later on, but she said she is pretty apolitical. However, she did offer to get me a doggy bag from the buffet. I declined the gracious offer and headed for the exits prepared for my complete escape from La Politica.

NO ESCAPE!

At Isleta a long line snaked from the "Will Call" window. As we joined the merry makers we immediately spotted ABQ GOP State Senator John Ryan. (Yes, a swinging R) and now I'm thinking "Godfather Part III"--"Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in." But it was I who chatted up politics with John and wife Melissa as we waited for the big show. (It was terrific.)

The evening concluded with late night hamburgers at the famous Frontier with Green Party friends. All in all I ended up meeting members of all three parties and attending two others. That's five parties on the night of my attempted escape from the lure of La Politica. The Gods would be proud.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2005
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