Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Pete And Jeff And Their Buddy System, Plus: The Latest Candidate Comings And Goings; Warm Up With Your December Blog
Domenici & Bingaman
A couple of years ago it looked as if the decades long collegiality between New Mexico's two U.S. Senators might be in jeopardy, but with Campaign 06' rapidly nearing it appears to be love and peace again between R Senator Domenici and D Jeff Bingaman who is is seeking a fifth, six year term to the senate. How cozy are the two senators whose combined tenure in he World's Most Exclusive Club suprpasses that of any other state's delegation?
"Jeff is mainly vulnerable from conservative Eastside R's and D's. It's natural for him to court Pete who can give him valuable cover with those constituents and its equally natural for Pete to warm up to Jeff as the R's come under fire for skyrocketing energy prices. Past differences are overcome by that equation," analyzed one campaign veteran.
Pete is chair of Senate Energy and Jeff, once the chair himself, is now ranking Dem. Earlier this year they banded together to pass an energy bill that Dems roundly criticized for being too friendly to major energy corporations, but one that Bingaman nevertheless supported, earning Pete's gratitude not to mention that of NM's oil and gas industry.
THE BUDDY SYSTEM
The Energy and Commerce Comittees recently held a joint hearing on high energy prices featuring the heads of the major oil companies who were later accused of lying to the senators when they testified they never met with Vice-President Cheney's energy task force in 2001 to plot energy policy. Then the news broke that that was not the case and it was Pete and the R's on the hot seat for refusing to have the oil execs take formal oaths at the hearing.
Not to worry. Jeff was quick to join Pete in signing a letter asking for answers from the oil bosses and not raising a stink about the oath-taking. It was nice cover for the senior senator.
Insiders in D.C. say Pete, as in the past, will not get active in the campaign against Bingaman. There is really no pressure for him to do so as the Bingaman race is not targeted by the national R's.
When it comes to being in the U. S. Senate membership has its privileges. Mutual back scratching apparently being one of them.
COMINGS AND GOINGS
Coming onto the scene: Dem Jeff Armijo, a member of the ABQ TV-I Governing Board, now campaigning for state auditor. But one branch of D's says Armijo, who is in the travel biz, is not their favorite and they are looking to recruit another candidate, but there's no rush of applicants. Outgoing auditor Domingo Martinez is reportedly looking to get into Santa Fe county government when his term ends next year.
Dem Al Park is staying put. He says he will seek re-election to his ABQ State House seat after flirting with the notion of running for attorney general and then state treasurer. It's probably the smart move as both races were an uphill climb. He has raised over six figures for his campaign treasury, leaving him an odds on favorite for another House term and time to mull a future run in more friendly territory.
Finally, an R wag e-mails in his campaign slogan for GOP Guv hopeful and Santa Fe radiologist J.R. Damron: "He can see right through Bill Richardson." Hey, that and $10 million and it just might work.
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2005
Not for reproduction without permission of the author