Monday, January 09, 2006

Goodbye Greg, Hello Gordon? Race On To Become Freshest Face At Roundhouse, Plus: Heather & Steve In A Shaky House; Come Blog With Me! 

Gordon Rowe
Who will be he freshest face at the Roundhouse? According to insiders, it just might be Albuquerque Public School Board member Gordon Rowe. But they caution this one is too tough to call. While they believe Rowe has a good shot to get the nod, the deal is not done.

Rowe is one of several GOP hopefuls lining up to replace ABQ GOP State Rep. Greg Payne who bid adieu to take a $96,000 a year job as ABQ Mayor Marty's transit director.

Now it's up to the Bernalillo County Commission Tuesday night to name a replacement. Will it be Rowe? They could do worse. Reached via cellphone while driving through Las Vegas, NM, Rowe told me he has sent a letter asking for the slot. GOP Commissioner Michael Brasher could be one vote for Rowe, but he needs three. Dem Commission Chairman Alan Armijo could be another. He has worked closely with the school board member in his role as a lobbyist for APS. Brasher is general manager of APS Radio station KANW- 89.1 FM.

Of course, the Dem controlled commission could always opt for a D for the seat, but if they did, that Dem's stint would be short-lived as they would surely be defeated this year in the Republican dominated NE Heights district.


Rowe informs that he has no baggage with the GOP having stayed out of the various Byzantine power struggles that have afflicted the state's minority party. "I am a moderate on social issues and a fiscal conservative," the real estate attorney and businessman explained. "I have an interest in education but also would like to advance business issues."

No tirades from Rowe on abortion, gay marriage, or preaching for the teaching of "intelligent design" theories. He is cut from the GOP center.

As for Payne, his litany of past sins have been well-documented and continue to be fodder for longtime foes. But voters vetted the negative against Payne and decided to elect him. That basically takes his past off the table. It's how Payne handles his new job and whether his performance earns him re-entry rights to the bright lights of our beloved La Politica or just memories of fleeting glory.


Will the shake-up in the U.S. House leadership impact NM GOP Congressman Steve Pearce? Friends of the two term lawmaker are watching the turbulence in the scandal-wracked chamber carefully. They say Pearce has close ties to Acting House Majority Leader Roy Blunt (He visited Pearce's district in a show of support) and can be expected to support the Delay protege in the upcoming leadership duel.

Pearce's support of Delay has not presented him with the problems it has Heather since he hails from a much more conservative district. Syndicated columnist Jay Miller notes the sophomore Congressman's somewhat rapid rise in the Delay-run House: "Pearce vaulted over nearly all members of the House Parks Subcommittee of the House Resources Committee to become its chairman early last year."

The first feather in Pearce's cap came early in his first term when he joined a short list of other freshman members to be tapped as an Assistant Majority Whip.

While Pearce may be concerned about the future House leadership, it appears he can relax about his 06' re-election prospects. His only D opponent is political unknown Al Kissling of Las Cruces.


There's good news and bad news for ABQ GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson in the U.S. House upheaval that caused Rep. Tom Delay to give up his House Majority leader slot as the flames of the Abramoff scandal leapt ever higher. The hard-right policies of Delay never wore well in Heather's moderate district, and with him gone she will not have to worry about being tied to him during the campaign. The bad news is that D opponent Patricia Madrid will have an opportunity to tie Heather to the "corrupt Congress." Still, it won't be easy. Attorney General Madrid's own campaign fundraising and connections will get equal scrutiny if and when she unloads on Heather. Sounds like the makings of some pretty nasty TV spots from both sides.

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