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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Al Park's Place: It's High-Rent, Plus: Senator Pete Plays Odd Man Out, And: Land Commission Race Goes Catty; It's New Mexico's Hump Day Blog 

He's in no danger of overtaking Big Bill in the fundraising department, but with nearly $200,000 in his campaign war chest ABQ Dem State Rep. Al Park appears to hold the top spot in the campaign kitty contest among the 112 NM senators and representatives. To top it off, the ABQ attorney is unopposed for another two year term this November to his SE Heights seat.

Where did he get all the cash? Much of it came from his short-lived bid for the Dem nomination for attorney general last year, a race he dropped out of when it became clear Gary King was going to be the man to beat, but Al never did spend all that much. A big chunk was raised with the help of Big Bill.

Park was still raising money in May, taking in about 5 grand, according to state reports. He doled out little, giving small donations to State Reps Debbie Rodella and Nick Salazar.

Friends of Park say he still sees a political future for himself beyond the lower chamber of the legislature and the campaign cash will help keep him in the game.

PETE: NO PIED PIPER


Meanwhile, another politician with higher ambitions, Light Guv Diane Denish, has raised a boatload of money too, even as her top of the ticket compadre, Big Bill, takes in millions. Diane has $750,000 in cash, but unlike the primary, she will not be cutting any TV spots for the fall face-off. "I might use the money for something else someday," she recently joked. Could 2010 be that close? And could there be some staff changes coming for the state's #2? Could be, say the Alligators. We'll keep you posted.

What's Pete waiting for? The state's entire congressional delegation is lined up to protect the pristine Valle Vidal wilderness from gas drilling, with the notable exception of the NM senior senator who is also chair of the Senate Energy Committee. He says he is waiting for a federal report that he believes will "probably" recommend against the drilling, but because there is a shortage of natural gas he is hedging. But drilling in Valle Vidal is dead and there would be a political firestorm if the senator holds up consideration of the Rep. Udall sponsored measure which has already passed the House. Here's more from the Washington Post.

Earlier this year Pete tongue lashed energy big wigs for outlandish profits. Maybe he's just trying to play nice with them now before joining the rest of our federal reps in protecting this state treasure.

LAND COMMISSION CAT FIGHT
"Zoe the Cat"
It's appropriate that there be a "cat war" in a race featuring a Lyons. Yes, Democratic land commissioner candidate Jim Baca's shameless pandering for the votes of animal lovers, and anyone else willing to overlook his prickly personality, has dragged his "Jerry the Cat" into the tussle.

Now from the home of incumbent GOP Land Commissioner Pat Lyons comes "Zoe the Cat" who, like Jerry, informed the blog that he is ready to support his owner. However, there's a caveat as revealed in this letter Zoe sent Lyons and forwarded here.

Dear Beloved Owner,

I am pleased to offset the shameless vote seeking of your opponent and will gladly let my image be used to show that you have an open heart toward us furry creatures. You have been very good to me, but I do have one minor complaint. Pictured on your Web site below your biography is a lovely photo of "our family." There we all are-- Kimberly, Daniel, Pat, Amy and Sandy. But, gracious master, "we" are not all there. I am nowhere to be seen.

I understand that Jerry the Cat was treated in a similarly disrespectful fashion when his owner complained that he was "the only one around" when his wife and family were out of town. Jerry received an apology and extra wet food for a week. Frankly, I believe I am owed the same. Yes, I am ready for a cat war and will give my all to scratching Jerry's fur with fury, but I need some lovin' first.

Sincerely,
Zoe the Cat

Thanks for the heartfelt thoughts, Zoe.

Will the Lyons family issue an apology to Zoe? Will she be included in future Lyons family photos? Or will Baca's Jerry the Cat be spared the cat war? We are on this like a wet blanket, not that our feline friends want to be anywhere near that.

This is ground zero for New Mexico politics. Email your latest news and comments from the top of the page.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2006
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