Monday, April 10, 2006

Going Into Labor; Top Union Endorses Dems; A Few Surprises, Plus: The Folly Over Foley, And: My Bottom Line For A New Mexico Monday 

There were a few eyebrow raisers when one of the top NM labor unions tied to the Dems came out with its endorsements for the statewide June 6 primary races. Eyebrow raising enough for me to mull it over with Carter Bundy, head gun of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) who detailed the reasons why Geno Zamora got the 12,000 member union's nod for attorney general and why Gary King did not; why Dem Jeff Armijo was shunned in his bid for state auditor with D Tom Buckner getting the green light and why dark horse secretary of state candidate Letitia Montoya was the favorite over Stephanie Gonzales and others.

First to Geno. Bundy recalls Gary King's record in the state legislature fondly, but said Geno "worked hard for the endorsement."

"It was a really tough decision and we toyed with the idea of doing a dual endorsement of Gary and Geno, but in the end Geno won out. He has been an advocate for us." But Bundy added that if Gary wins the nomination, he can be assured of "our full support." Dem AG candidate Lem Martinez never made it on the union's radar because he has supported privatization of some government services outside of public safety.


The most interesting endorsement by the union went to Tom Buckner over Jeff Armijo for Dem state auditor. "Tom is easily the most qualified for the job," declared Bundy.

He refused to comment on the backroom controversy swirling over Armijo in the Democratic ranks, but I will.

It seems Jeff, to put it charitably, is seen as a bit unpredictable by some of his party brethren who have been complaining about him behind-the-scenes for months. As the only Hispanic in the race, he stands a good chance of going all the way. Another Alligator said Armijo's support of a past budget from ABQ Mayor Chavez that labor said would mean layoffs also hurt Armijo who has family ties to the mayor.

For his part, Buckner, the deputy superintendent for the state regulation and licensing department, has taken it where he has to if he is to have any chance at the upset. He is accusing ABQ travel agency owner Armijo of having no plans to be a watchdog as auditor and invokes the names of indicted ex-Treasurers Vigil and Montoya and tries to tie Jeff to their infamy. Frontrunner Armijo is laying low.

As for the R's, their candidate, Dan Alvarez, agreed to be placed on the June primary ballot, but wants the state GOP to find another candidate for the general. However, Alvarez is now saying if noone can be found he will stay in the race.

And what do all these endorsements mean beyond a nice press release and a write up in your little ol' blog? Well, practically speaking not a whole lot more, not until later anyway. The union, says Bundy, may throw some primary cash at the candidates, but not much. Still, word about the favorites does go out to the thousands of union households in these down-ballot races and one supposes that can't hurt, especially in a close battle.


Rep. Foley
It looks as if GOP State Rep. Dan Foley, archrival of Big Bill, is going to have the last laugh this time. The Dems boasted here recently that they would throw everything they had at Foley to keep him from getting re-elected. But it looks like everything was a whole lot of nothing.

First, Dem challenger Wanda Valentine failed to file a declaration of candidacy and will be tossed off the ballot. Not that she had much of a chance of beating Foley, but Republican Steve Gavi, with the help of the D's, might have had at least a shot at the upset, but he too fell on his sword by failing to file proper petition signatures. A court ruling is expected to kick Gavi off.

Foley was most recently in the news for having the NM National Guard perform a fly over at the opening of a Roswell car dealership whose owner is a big contributor to Foley's campaign. Gavi got off a parting shot after he ended his candidacy telling the Roswell Record that Foley had the ability to get dubious flyovers, but not funds for a Veterans Service Center.

Whatever Foley's follies, they are not going to be vetted by voters this November thanks to his befuddled opponents. It also means Big Bill can look to have more salt thrown in his eyes by the combative onetime Marine and insurance company owner. Meantime, the Guv can continue to do payback by vetoing Foley's capital outlay bills.


I knew I was going to hear about it when I blogged here were no elevators in Hobbs, so when GOP U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce got stuck in the Capitol elevator with some colleagues, I speculated that the Hobbs native could have been freaked out more the than others trapped because he was in such unfamiliar confines, but reader Tom Williams, Hobbs native and now of Philadelphia, e-mails this in:

"Joe, I lived in Hobbs for 18 years. I can assure you that the Broadmoor Building, a five story structure, had elevators, the only place that did....I am embarrassed to admit, though, that trips to Albuquerque in those days sometimes included elevator riding for the pure fun of it in the building at San Mateo and Central. It seemed like an immense skyscraper to us at the time."

That reminds me of ex-ABQ Mayor Jim Baca who recalled that he used to get thrills as a kid riding the escalator up and down at the downtown Sears Building. But the guy with the biggest elevator thrills these days is Big Bill. He gets a ride anytime he wants to the coveted Fourth Floor of the Roundhouse.

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