Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Exploring With Big Bill, Plus: Vacant Legislative Seats Set To Be Filled, And: On The Holiday Party Circuit
Just what is this "exploratory committee" that Big Bill is expected to announce in early January as he eyes the 08' Dem Prez nomination? First, it's a way to get to announce your candidacy twice--once when you form the committee and again when you "formally" throw your hat into the ring. Second, it will allow the Guv to begin the arduous task of raising the millions of dollars needed to run for the nation's highest office. Remember, that million or so bucks left over from his state Guv campaign cannot be used for the federal Prez battle.
Here's how the AP describes exploratory committees:
"Under federal election law, an exploratory committee allows an individual to travel and gauge the level of support for a candidacy without formally declaring themselves a candidate and adhering to all the federal rules of fundraising. An individual who spends money only to test the waters - but not to campaign for office - does not have to register as a candidate under the election law."
And who will sit on Big Bill's committee? Probably big name supporters and donors you have heard of. Perhaps types like ex-Ambassador Ed Romero and attorney Paul Bardacke both of whom have been closely associated with Big Bill's past campaigns.
The day-to-day committee activity will be run by the Guv's ex-chief of staff and campaign chairman Dave Contarino who is expected to set up shop in ABQ. National operatives can expected to start drawing paychecks from the committee soon after.
Big Bill starts way, way back in this deal. In fact, he draws only 1% of Dem support in the latest poll. But the numbers don't mean much at this point. What does is running a mistake free effort and establishing credibility early in the key primary states like Nevada and New Hampshire.
Here's an example for you of a Web site touting an exploratory committee. It's from GOP Arizona Senator McCain.
FILLING THE SEATS
When we last left you there was no clear frontrunner to replace resigning and longtime Dem State Senator Joe Fidel, but that has apparently changed with the Cibola County Commission set to hold a special meeting late today and, according to insiders, perhaps recommend Cibola County Manager David Ulibarri as their choice to replace Fidel who served as chairman of Senate Finance and in the upper chamber for 34 years.
Big Bill will choose the senator's successor from recommendations submitted by the county commissions of Cibola, Valencia and Socorro counties, so there is no guarantee that the eventual appointee will be a Cibola County resident. However, Cibola makes up the lion's share of the district and it can be expected the Fidel replacement will likely come from there, putting Ulibarri on the most favored list.
And how about Dem Hector Balderas's northern state House seat? According to a Santa Fe Alligator, Hector, elected as state auditor in November, has now officially resigned the seat. This is also a multi-county legislative district so the county commissions from each county will make a recommendation to the Governor. Tomas Garcia, a deputy district director for U.S. Rep Tom Udall, is expected to get the nod from the Fourth Floor to fill the seat and it may come by Friday.
And how will the new lawmaker representing the Balderas district vote in that December 18 Dem state House caucus in which Speaker Lujan is being challenged by Rep. Kenny Martinez? The betting crowd would say Lujan, but it is a secret ballot. And how is the race going? Martinez and Lujan continue to work the phones and email with Lujan last publicly speaking to the matter on this blog and predicting he has the votes to retain the title.
The politicos love to party and they are at it again this Xmas season. Here's deputy ABQ city attorney and former city councilor Pete Dinelli with current Councilor Sally Mayer and ABQ transit director and ex-councilor Greg Payne yukking it up for the cameras at the annual holiday bash thrown by Kurt and Barbara Lohbeck.
We didn't see ABQ Mayor Chavez on the scene, but we could have used him as a chaperone. This trio was having way too much fun.
We welcome aboard the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy as our latest advertiser and thank them for their support. The coalition provides funding and free training and technical assistance to volunteer adult and family literacy programs throughout the state. It's a nonpartisan, private, and nonprofit organization During the 2005-2006 program year, 1,258 volunteer tutors contributed over 195,171 hours to 4,670 adult literacy students.
Last year the Coalition for Literacy granted $398,000 to literacy programs across New Mexico. Check them out by clicking on the banner. Perhaps you will find you are interested in taking part.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2006
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