Tuesday, January 10, 2006
No Free Rides For Our U.S. Reps, Plus: Big Bill's Cabinet Shuffle, And: The Campaign Early Bird; You're At Ground Zero For La Politica
All three of NM's U.S. House Reps have apparently been denied a free re-election ride in 06'. Word comes to us from up on the hill in Los Alamos that the GOP has finally found a taker to challenge Dem Rep. Tom Udall. He's Ron Dolin, assitant director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory's Center for Homeland Security. Dolin has made tentative steps toward a candidacy and is expected to make it official, according to insider R's.
As for Udall, this one looks like another cakewalk. He easily took out R challenger and San Juan County District Attorney Gregory Tucker in 04' and a similar result can be expected again in the heavily Dem north. But Udall's congressional career has been bittersweet; easy re-elections letting him concentrate on his work, but bitter because his work can be largely ignored in the GOP-controlled Congress.
The GOP's Steve Pearce faces token Dem opposition this go round, while ABQ Rep. Heather Wilson will again have to pony up big dollars to retain her House seat. By the way, Heather's Dem rival, AG Patsy Madrid, plans to post some big fundraising numbers in the report due out soon. That from campaign insiders who say showing dough now will make it easier to raise more later.
BIG BILL'S SHUFFLE
Eddie Lopez, Jr.
Late Monday Big Bill announced a rare cabinet shuffle with General Services Department chief Eddie Lopez, Jr.(I believe the lone Republican cabinet secretary) moved over to run the NM Regulation and Licensing Department. The superintendent of that agency, attorney Arturo Jaramillo, takes over GSD. Santa Fe was abuzz with the word most of the day and the Guv's office confirmed it after business hours.
Alligators at the Roundhouse were quick to point out that Lopez was having some tense relations over his department budget with the Legislative Finance Committee and that other cabinet secretaries have been grumbling about his "overreaching." And another weighed in that the "Save Smart" program, announced by the Guv to save millions on state purchases and under Lopez's supervision, has not lived up to expectations and was found to be wanting by the LFC as well as the target of criticism from the NM biz community which felt it was being squeezed out of lucrative state contracts.
Lopez also made headlines defending Big Bill's controversial purchase of a $5.5 million state jet which was purchased through GSD.
Lopez, son of the late, legendary Santa Fe State Senator Eddie Lopez, still retains cabinet rank, but the department he takes over does not have as powerful a presence. Still, he gets to keep a high-ranking job, not bad for an apparent demotion. As for the Guv, the shake-up is better now than later in the campaign when the R's could make more hay about the downsizing of one of their own.
CAMPAIGN EARLY BIRD
Who is the earliest bird of them all? When it comes to paid advertising for this year's campaign it's none other than GOP State Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons who has put up a billboard on North I-25 in Albuquerque proclaiming that he is "Working for Education." Of course, Big Bill was the very first with paid ads, but they came late last year. Lyons has reason to get an early start. There's only been two GOP State Land Commissioners, including him, since the Great Depression.
Still on that Land Commissioner duel, we told you recently that San Miguel County Commissioner LeRoy Garcia was another of the Dems, besides former Commissioners Baca and Powell, who were in the Dem race. But Baca e-mails that "a little birdie" informs him that LeRoy is no longer running. If so, that would be good news for Baca who is working to consolidate the Hispanic vote behind his candidacy in what he now says is a two man race.
I am getting inquires from the political candidates about advertising here for the June primary and I welcome them. All I can say is get the ads up early. We sold out the last couple election years. To get started drop me an e-mail for further info. It's a good deal since your ad is guaranteed to reach guaranteed voters.
And, as always, e-mail your latest political news from the top of the page. Thanks to the Alligators for the work on the Eddie Lopez Jr. story. When it comes to late-breaking political news, we are 24-7. But you wouldn't have it any other way, would you?
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2006
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