Wednesday, March 15, 2006
The Jeff Jiggle: A Little To The Right, But Always End Left, Plus: R's Lose State Auditor Candidate, And: My Bottom Lines For A NM Wednesday
He's not exactly in Heather Wilson (R-NM) mode--making big splashes to show he is a "moderate," but Dem U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman, up for re-election this year, is doing a bit of positioning of his own. After turning off liberals but pleasing conservatives by voting last year for a bankruptcy bill liberals said was punitive to consumers and then teaming with GOP Senator Domenici to pass an energy bill they deemed too friendly to big oil, the libs have been thrown a Bingaman bone to chew on.
Jeff was one of only ten senators to vote earlier this month against renewal of the Patriot Act; an act that has been scored on the left for being a threat to civil liberties since it was first passed following 9/11. Oh, almost forgot. The left wasn't too happy either when Jeff refused to support a filibuster against Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. Maybe he will give them another gift to make up for that one.
Not that the liberals have much to howl about when it comes to the four term NM senator and Silver City native. The liberal Americans for Democratic Action give him a 2005 ranking of 95 out of 100. That's up from his 04' rank of 90. So while it may not seem so on a couple of high-profile issues, in the end the Jeff Jiggle is a pretty stationary dance.
Meanwhile, three R's are vying for the nomination to take on Bingaman, but several R predictors say Bingaman will lead the D ticket this year. "Richardson is tough to beat, but Jeff will be even tougher. He isn't mired in the local issues," analyzed one who believes Bingaman will out poll the Guv.
BEAUTY AND THE BLOG
But enough about Jeff. The real star in his office these days is Allison Block, the 2006 NM Cherry Blossom Princess who works for the senator as a legislative correspondent. The Santa Fe beauty with brains is a UNM grad who will be feted by the New Mexico State Society in D.C. and represent our state at the national festival. Sorry guys, I do not have Allison's number, but I understand she likes to dance and travel. Remember, you didn't hear it here. And Jeff, hire a security guard for the extra office traffic.
A FREE DEM RIDE?
It may be a free ride for the Democratic nominee for state auditor. NM GOP Chairman Allen Weh told me Tuesday that Dan Alvarez, the lone R seeking the post, is dropping out of the race because of "family considerations." Alvarez recently returned to the scene after a stint in the National Guard. The party is researching the rules to see if they have time to get a replacement candidate on the ballot. If not, Dem Jeff Armijo or Tom Buckner will become the next state auditor succeeding retiring Domingo Martinez. Armijo, say party insiders, is the favorite for the nomination.
MY BOTTOM LINES
Chris Garcia is the new "personal assistant" to Governor Big Bill. Now, you long-timers probably raised your eyebrows and said: "You mean Chris Garcia, the former Prez of UNM, is going on staff to the Big Guy?!" Fear not. Chris is doing fine and I assume picking up a nice check from the university. It's ABQ South Valley native Chris Garcia, no relation to UNM professor Garcia, who will be doing the assisting. He worked in the Guv's campaign and for his now defunct political action committee, Moving America Forward. Chris replaces Rochelle Thompson who is moving on. I wonder if we could get Rochelle to write a book in time for the 08' Prez race...
Siri Khalsa has been a personal assistant to the Governor since he took over. She is well-known among insider political types for her quiet competence, winning personality and for representing the Governor's office and the state with class. Maybe she should run for something...
Early Monday morning readers may have seen here that Rep. Terry Marquardt challenged Ted Hobbs for House Minority Leader in 04'. It was Brian Moore of Clayton who made that challenge...We haven't hit the ABQ radio ratings in a while so here are the latest top five stations hot off the Nielsen presses:
KKOB-AM--8.3 share, KMGA-FM (Magic 99)--6.2, KLVO-FM (Regional Mexican)--4.7, KKOB-FM--4.6, KABG-FM (oldies)--4.5, KBQI-FM (The Big I)--4.5.
MY BOTTOM, BOTTOM LINES
It's Kansas Senator Pat Roberts as headliner at the NM GOP's Annual Lincoln Day Dinner this Saturday at the ABQ Marriott. R's were hoping to line up Florida's Mel Martinez, the first Cuban-American senator, but had Roberts as back-up. His will be a timely appearance as he chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee. We imagine GOP ABQ U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson will be paying close attention to his speech. She broke ranks with the White House over its domestic eavesdropping program and called for more congressional oversight, but Roberts' committee voted along party lines to reject a proposed investigation of the administration's warrantless surveillance of Americans. It voted instead to create a White House-approved subcommittee to oversee the operation.
I know, I know. We've got to do a preview of the D & R pre-primary conventions set for this weekend. Check back tomorrow to see if I got my act together on that one. Meanwhile, thanks for spending part of your day here.
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2006
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