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Monday, November 13, 2006

Skirmishing Starts Over Future Direction Of NM GOP; Party Spinners Clash With Senator Carraro; Plus: Heather & Patsy--Who Got It right? 

In a prelude to what is expected to be calls for change in the direction of the New Mexico Republican party, a skirmish has broken out between current party management and ABQ GOP State Senator Joe Carraro.

Expectations are low, apparently very low, at the NM GOP, says Carraro, and that has him asking whether a recent news release from state headquarters actually bragging about the party's Election Night performance "is a joke email."

The news release claims "Governor Richardson and the state Democratic party failed to alter the political landscape of New Mexico." To which Carraro retorts: "Democrats failed to "alter the political landscape in New Mexico," because to alter it WE would have had to win.

"Are these people just trying to protect their butts or do they really think we are that stupid?" asks Carraro.

The news release also states: "Even with Richardson's millions and the national mood, local Democrats were unable to change the makeup of our state..In this election, we knew we were playing defense and we did it successfully."

But the news release does not mention the pre-election hopes of the GOP to pick up a couple of State House seats--it gained none--nor the epic and history making landslide of Big Bill--69%--or the massive 71% win for Dem Senator Bingaman which has many of the party faithful questioning the focus of the current staff and leadership.

GOP BRIGHT SPOTS

The bright spots for the GOP were the re-election of Land Commissioner Pat Lyons and Congressional Reps Pearce and Wilson. But, Carraro asserts: "Lyons and Pearce won on their own."

Carraro has been at odds with the party management since the June pre-primary convention when he said the party actively supported his Republican rival for the U.S. Senate nomination, Dr. Allen McCulloch.

Carraro and other R's claim the news release was part of an effort by the party to prevent major change and protect the staff jobs and consulting contracts that are at stake. But that may be wishful thinking. Allen Weh is leaving as party chair and many Republicans will be clamoring for a house cleaning to make the party more competitive and more appealing to independents and conservative Dems who are essential to any statewide victories.

Roswell oilman Mark Murphy and Bernalillo County GOP Chairman Fernando C. De Baca are both known to be weighing bids for party chair.

LEADERS PICKED


Meanwhile, the new GOP State House leaders we told you to expect when we blogged Friday were selected over the weekend.

WHO GOT IT RIGHT

It was the closest race in the history of the ABQ congressional district (and they are still counting the final votes), but there were still a few politicos who managed to call the apparent winner in the too-close-too-call Wilson-Madrid contest. Randy Romero, brother of Dem politico Ed Romero, was the most on-target among those I asked for pre-election predictions. In late October he called the race a "dead heat" with Wilson winning with a 50.5% margin. Republican Bruce Donisthorpe also came very close saying Heather would barely win, but she would do it with 50.8%. Wilson is currently ahead by 1,487 votes, or 50.35%. Provisional ballots are still being counted and her margin of victory may narrow even further.

SPACED OUT READERS


What wasn't a good call was running some email Friday morning that I did not take time to edit thoroughly. After a 48 hour marathon of election coverage and blogging, I should have packed it in Thursday night, but I didn't, resulting in a couple of errors from readers who were apparently as spaced out from all the action as your blogger.

One reader, citing preliminary numbers, said it appeared there was a significant number of voters who cast ballots for Governor and Senator, but not in the congressional race. While a lot of the Dems who voted for Big Bill and Senator Jeff went for Heather, there was no major drop off in people actually voting the race.....And another reader e-mail we published said the Democratic leadership will put Wilson on the "Sit and Pick Your Nose Committee," but while the appointment of committee members is formally made by the whole House, the choice of members is actually made by the political parties leadership. The point stands, though, that for the first time Heather will be in the minority.

Thanks to the other readers for correcting the erroneous readers, as even mega does of caffeine could not save me from a post-election delirium Thursday which started to develop while we were on the air at 3 a.m. Wednesday and still partying with Patsy and Heather.

Heather's campaign promised orange juice at dawn to celebrate victory, but the count was continuing when the sun came up. Her nervous supporters were probably making Screwdrivers with that O.J. to calm their nerves.

I finished my blogging and media interviews at 6 a.m. Wednesday. Watching the sun rise, I thought of things other than elections and politics. It was time for that and it was good.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2006
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