Monday, June 12, 2006

A D Soft Spot? Auditor Nominee Armijo Could Take Some Hits, Plus: GOP Chair Weh Weighs In On Senate Race Fallout 

Jeff Armijo got out of his Democratic primary for state auditor with no problem, but he may not be out of the woods. Alligators on both side of the aisle say the ABQ travel agency owner could be subjected to an R campaign to "Trujilloize"' him. The reference is to the 2002 General Election when Pat Lyons hit heavy and hard on Art Trujillo's drunk driving record, sending out mail hit pieces that showed mug shots of the former Democratic Party chairman. The attacks are credited for allowing Lyons to become the first GOP state land commissioner in 20 years. Armijo, an elected member of the TVI Community College Governing Board from ABQ's West Side, who was hit by Buckner over speeding tickets, does not have a record like Trujillo's, but there is an issue that could subject him to some withering attacks ala Trujillo.

Some top Dem insiders say Armijo's relationship with indicted ex-Treasurer Robert Vigil will be the likely subject of any hit pieces. Vigil is quoted on FBI tapes saying Armijo is a candidate he would like to help out financially. Armijo says he received a $50 donation from Vigil and he describes Vigil as a "friend."

R sources report GOP auditor primary nominee Dan Alvarez is getting out of the race which his heart was never fully in and that the GOP Central committee will name a replacement. That replacement will be faced with am uphill battle as no R has taken the slot since the 60's.

Armijo, a Socorro native and president of a family owned ABQ travel agency, faltered a bit in big Bernalillo county primary night where foe Tom Buckner held him under 60%, perhaps because media coverage of Vigil was most intense here. But in the statewide total Armijo brought it home with a landslide, garnering 62%.

Armijo, 36, impressed party insiders with his determination and winning personality on the campaign trail. He is heavily favored for victory in November, but he may face a test if the GOP can convince its party faithful that funding their auditor hopeful could give them another Pat Lyons.


NM GOP Party Chairman Allen Weh is not taking lightly charges reported here Friday that the party did not stay in a neutral corner in that GOP battle for the U.S. Senate nomination. Weh blogged in that supporters of unsuccessful senate hopeful ABQ GOP State Senator Joe Carraro have it wrong; that the party did not work it behind-the-scenes for winner and Farmington doctor Allen McCulloch.

"The NM GOP worked very hard to treat all the candidates neutrally and, as might be expected from political types working very hard to win, they all at one point or another thought the party was helping the other guy. We really did a "a dance down the middle" on this one. In reality, the outcome of this race was largely determined by McCulloch's superior fundraising, which should be no surprise to your readers. I am confident that we'll have this campaign on track and on message in relatively short order."

Supporters of Dem Senator Bingaman can enjoy the GOP side show while they worry about McCulloch and whether he will put any of his personal fortune into this race, possibly shaking up the perception that the race is a complete cakewalk for NM's junior senator.

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