Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Pete: "I Am Indeed Running," Plus: Big Bill's First Prez Day Highlights First Lady, And: News From The Roundhouse On Your Tuesday Blog
With speculation continuing despite his assurances that he is a candidate for re-election in 2008, NM GOP Senator Pete Domenici is saying it again. In a letter this month to top NM Republicans the 74 year old six term lawmaker declares: "I am indeed running for re-election in 2008!" He then states what is news to us: "Yes, the list is already growing of potential opponents strongly considering a run against me." Who might they be, Pete? We haven't heard of any. But he could be right. Back in June Big Bill, reacting to the GOP decision to put John Dendahl on the ballot to replace Guv candidate J.R. Damron, let word out that as payback he would seek a rival for Pete.
(Pete said Monday of Bill's Prez run that he will add "some real color, some real strength...He's going to be a real competitor. I hope so." Pretty nice words. Maybe the two political titans will make peace again.)
Of course, raising the prospect of a tough race is an age-old gambit when candidates are looking for cash which Pete made a pitch for in his letter. Also of note, there was not one mention of Iraq in the litany of important issues he listed. Will it also be missing in the '08 campaign? Domenici and his fellow R's can only hope. Or maybe Pete and some of the other senate legends can march down to the White House and tell the President the American people want this no-end-in-sight war over. What will it take? Ninety percent opposition, instead of today's 70 percent?
Without the war, Domenici will be a prohibitive favorite for another six years. Even then, the road may be a tad rougher as cries of, "Give someone else a chance," start to resonate, especially with younger voters not as aware of his lifelong record of achievement and who may be prone to support a new face.
Domenici was marked for retirement in the national media following the Dems takeover of the Congress and the last time he ran, in 2000, he indicated it was his last time at bat. He may have to write a few more letters between now and '08 to keep the jackals at bay.
BILL'S NEW WORLD
Mrs. Big Bill
Big Bill was his polished pro self Monday as he faced local and national media in Santa Fe in his first day's outing as a candidate for President of the USA. There was a wee bit more seriousness on his political mask as his high noon comments were carried nationally by four national cable TV news networks along with the three ABQ network affiliates. (A cool sidelight was the live stream of the news conference on the KOB-TV site. We need more of that.) Bill broke no new ground, but he did introduce his better half to the nation which leads us to this...
NM First Lady Barbara Richardson made her first statement about her husband's Prez candidacy at the news conference. It was an important moment because of the cyberspace chatter over the Guv's "demeanor" towards women, a subject covered here Monday and one we will undoubtedly hear more about from rival camps if Bill climbs higher up the campaign ladder. Barbara sent a solid message of support, pointing out that the couple have been "together over 40 years." The soft-spoken spouse added: "We have had great experiences together in public life and I look forward to this next one."
It will indeed be "great experiences," but it will also be a sacrifice, as she will face with her husband the trial by fire that awaits him if his quixotic quest captures America's imagination.
Another woman prominent in Big Bill's life, Light Governor Diane Denish, felt the need Monday to reiterate her support for the Prez bid of the state's #1, perhaps because it was the reports of her statements in late '05 regarding the Guv's "touchy" ways that were cited on major Internet blogs Monday and cast a minor shadow on an otherwise sunny day,
"I am in full support of Governor Richardson’s decision to run. He is an exceptional governor and I have every confidence that he’s got what it takes to be an exceptional president. I am committed to doing everything in my power to help his cause," exuded New Mexico's #2.
The Guv and Denish had labored behind-the-scenes talks with the ABQ Journal editors over the orignal "touchy" story, but it made print and since has been used by Big Bill's foes, as it was on the day of his announcement.
Meanwhile, ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez announced Monday he will start raising money for a 2010 Guv run. He said Di forced his hand by announcing her own Dem '10 run earlier this month. Marty's timing, however, could have been better. It came on the same day reports circulated of financial woes at city hall. It was attacks on his budget and tax policies that many believe cost the mayor the Guv job when he last sought it in '98. Also, by announcing amid the intense coverage over Big Bill, Chavez may have lost some impact. Hey, put that checkbook away, Marty. All the advice here is free.
By the way, the last thing any of the Santa Fe wall-leaners expect is for Bill to pass his Guv power off to Diane while he is off Prez campaigning. Juggling is a gubernatorial specialty. He will have no problem keeping abreast of any possible "movidas" being plotted in the shadowy sections of the storied Roundhouse.
It was first things first for Big Bill's brand new campaign. And that meant money raising. The Alligators chime in that calls were going out to financial "whales" in the state and they were being asked to come up with $25,000 each, maybe more. An individual is retricted to $2,100, but the Whales could call on their well-off friends to reach the goal. They also report a Big Bill Prez fund-raiser is already set for February at Sandia Casino. Watch your wallets, New Mexico. Here he comes again!
One of the better lines heard on the street on the Dem Prez race: "There's so many candidates in this thing, it looks like "American Idol."
NOW WE PAUSE FOR THIS COMMERCIAL MESSAGE:
I am proud to be a native New Mexican and to be a product of our public schools. I attended the University of New Mexico both as an undergraduate and as a law student. As an attorney with over 17 years experience, I will bring a common sense approach to dealing with the unique hurdles and challenges faced by our rapidly growing community. I have long advocated for open government at all levels and will do the same on the School Board. We must have better administrative accountability from APS. Tax dollars must reach the classroom. Safety must be a paramount concern...Together we can achieve great things. (The election is Feb. 6. Click his logo for more.)
THE BLOG ROLLS ON
Thanks, Marty. Now back to the action. Look out when an issue polls well. The politicos are on it like that stuff on a stick. Not that the methamphetamine problem in NM isn't a problem; it just seems we have a lot of folks going after this thing from a lot of different directions. The latest is Dem U.S. Rep. Tom Udall who wants to eradicate this menace on Indian land. Earlier it was GOP Rep. Steve Pearce joining with Big Bill to bust the meth heads and give them treatment. And before that Senator Bingaman...Alright, you get the idea...
What some NM Republicans don't get is the prominent role House Minority Whip Dan Foley retains on the state's TV screens during the legislative session. The new House Minority Leader is Tom Taylor of Farmington, who made a one-day tube splash at the session's opening, but has apparently lost his vocal chords. Taylor pledged a "middle of the road" approach, but does conservative firebrand Foley of Roswell represent that? Taylor apparently thinks so as he has ceded the TV stage to his #2.
SO LONG, TSOSIE
Our Monday report on the departure of State Sen. Leonard Tsosie was confirmed Monday as he resigned in a letter to the secretary of state. Speculation continues on who will replace him in the Legislature's upper chamber. Attorney Tsosie was elected as a delegate to the Navajo Nation Council and had to give up the senate seat if he wished to serve in that body. He was sworn in Monday. (Unlike the senate, the insiders tell me that Navajo Council job pays a salary.)
Tsosie represented multiple counties in the state senate. The county commissions from each will send a name up to Big Bill who will make the final pick. Most think a Navajo, like Tsosie, will be appointed, but there are some pushing for a Pueblo Indian to get the nod. I am told, and I believe accurately, that no Pueblo Indian has ever served in our state senate. I do know that they did not get to vote in NM until the late 1940's. We'll keep you posted.
MY BOTTOM LINES
Just what was Big Bill's winning re-election margin? The ABQ Journal said the Guv won with 68 percent, the AP said it was 68.8 and rounded it up to 69 percent. In a set-up piece it did on the Legislature, the New Mexican gave the big Fella 70 percent.
Well, our expert in such matters--"Daddy Donisthorpe,"--father of NM GOP lobbyist Bruce Donisthorpe and husband to ex-state Senator Christine Donisthorpe of Farmington--has combed through the final canvass sheets from the November election and says his official ruling--drum roll, please--is that Governor Bill claimed 68.81 percent of the vote. That means--(another drum roll, please)--the AP reporting a 69% victory lays claim to the accuracy prize.
Maybe that will cheer up the wire service's Santa Fe reporter, Barry Massey, who has been sidelined with a broken leg due to a skiing mishap. If not, maybe we can get Big Bill to sign his cast. How's that for a dream come true, Barry?
I'm Joe Monahan blogging and reporting from Albuquerque, NM. Send your news and comments via the email link at the top of the page.
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2007
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