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Monday, August 07, 2006

Indictments in Courthouse Case "Unlikely" Before Election Day, Plus: Dendahl Slips...Again, And: Blog Photo Contest; The Winners Are... 

A key issue overhanging Campaign 06' is that federal investigation into alleged corruption in the construction of two Bernalillo county courthouses and the Metro jail. Now a reliable source says do not, repeat, do not expect any indictments in the matter before the November election.

"One of the same prosecutors who is involved in the retrial of (ex-Treasurer) Vigil is also working the courthouse case." This Senior Alligator says that means the indictments, if there are to be any, would come after the Vigil retrial (set for September 5) and very likely after the fall election.

Announcement of indictments during the middle of the campaign could have an impact on the overall mood of the voters.

Again, our customary caution. That a wide-ranging federal investigation is underway has been confirmed. (ABQ Journal investigative reporter Mike Gallagher updated the probe {PDF} over the weekend.) However, the only ones who know with certainty whether there will be indictments, or whether indictments are being pursued, are those directly involved and they are not talking. But the political impact on the campaigns of any developments in the case is of such significance it cannot be ignored.

MOVING AGAINST MARTY

Fans of GOP ABQ Congresswoman Heather Wilson are not letting Dem ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez slide for his endorsement of Wilson foe, Patricia Madrid. They are saying there are some reasons for that endorsement that the mayor and Madrid would rather go ignored. From the email:

"Marty endorsing Patsy is not a shocker, considering she refused to investigate the mayor's famous ABQPAC. Unlike the Vigil corruption scandal, there is no doubt (attorney general) Patsy was asked to investigate both the ABQPAC and the ABQ police evidence room scandals. In both cases she let Marty slide. In the end, her choosing politics over ethics will cost her this and future races."

Chavez was reprimanded by the city Board of Ethics for his role in ABQPAC. The police evidence room scandal involved the stealing of evidence and cash. No one was ever prosecuted.

Chavez, a veteran player of hardball, is sure to press his attack on Wilson and continue to call on her, as he did last week, to repudiate the "radical" candidacy of GOP Guv nominee John Dendahl. And Heather is just as likely to continue pounding the ethics hammer on Madrid. Her latest attack ad shows huge pictures of ex-Treasurers Vigil and Montoya. Just in case you forgot. The ABQ Trib's Kate Nash has more.

DENDAHL'S FAULTY DANCE

While Chavez was being ripped for his Patsy play, candidate Dendahl was playing right into his hands...again. NM school teachers are to blame for poor student test results, Dendahl declared, because they are too busy teaching "sexuality, self-esteem and socialism."

State GOP chair Allen Weh moved to distance the party from the remarks asserting that those are "John's individual remarks." Surely Heather will also be asked what she makes of the comments, complicating her efforts to position herself as a "moderate" voice. And one wonders what NM GOP senior U.S. Senator Pete Domenici thinks of these lastest "remarks."

Dendahl's red-hot rhetoric is escalating talk that Big Bill's chances of receiving over 60% of the vote are rapidly going from long shot to quite likely. He seems to know it too as he campaigns for the Dem Prez nomination with impunity.

Dendahl's past political dances have been as a party chairman and took place on the small floor of partisanship. But now, on the brightly lit stage of La Politica, he is faltering. The only good news is that his implosion is coming in August, giving him a bit of time to get his dance steps corrected. But he sorely needs some lessons.

AND THE WINNERS ARE...

There's no shortage of witty political observers, and we laughed aloud reading their entries to the Blog Photo Contest. Last week we asked readers to write a caption to the off-the-wall photo of Big Bill sporting a hairnet with his hand submerged in a batch of genuine Dona Ana county pecans. We promised a free lunch to the top two entries, and the winners are.....

Hope Garcia of Rio Rancho, NM topped them all, submitting not just one caption, but several, all of them genuine rib-ticklers.

"I know there's a Snickers bar in here somewhere."

"This is the last time I play 'Truth or Dare' with John Dendahl."

"All of these nuts make me feel like I'm still in Santa Fe."

"This is good practice for raiding the Permanent Fund again."

Hope, you outdid yourself. You have the pick of the menu at the famous ABQ Barelas Coffee House.

And we were won over by the way Patrick Adler of Toronto, Canada wove NM politico Manny Aragon into the picture:

"Sure they're high in fat....but Manny said he'd treat me to my next round of Lipo!"

Very clever, Patrick. And with all the Prez candidates on the Slimfast, quite timely too. If you can't make it to ABQ for your free lunch, we'll ship you a bunch of green chile.

BIG BILL'S "OFFICIAL" PIC

In a sidebar to this, while the contest was underway what popped up in the email? Why, it was a brand new picture of Big Bill from the Guv's office, with a message asking the media to use it as a replacement for other stock photos. It's a darn good photo too, but where's the hairnet?

Thanks to all those who entered the contest. We'll have more fun stuff for you soon. Meantime, email me your political news and gossip from the link at the top of the page.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2006
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