Friday, April 20, 2007
Rivals Of GOP Chair Weh Toy With Challenge; We Have The Scoop, Plus: Rick Homans, We Hardly Knew Ye, And: Bill To Start Prez TV
With time running out, rivals of NM GOP Chairman Allen Weh are toying with challenging him, but it may end up as a message-sending mission, rather than a seizure of leadership of the state's minority party. The potential challenge went public for the first time last night in Los Alamos where some 50 party loyalists gathered at the invitation of Los Alamos GOP County Chair Ron Dolin who had billed the event as a forum for "candidates" for state GOP chairman.
Truth or Consequences realtor and '06 GOP Public Regulation Commission candidate Earl Greer showed up and told the gathering that he has called a meeting of GOP county chairmen for the eve of the state central committee session at which the chairmanship will be decided. Our sources on the scene report that Greer said only if the county chairs push for a leadership change would he become a candidate. Sending another mixed message, our sources report Greer invited Weh to attend his meeting. How would a county chair wanting to dump Weh feel saying it in that setting? Not good. But Greer's soft-shoeing, according to insiders, is to avoid further tearing apart the state GOP which has been afflicted by factional infighting.
Meanwhile, Weh, hitting it hard in advance of the April 28th GOP meeting, told the party faithful the main reason he deserves to be re-elected is because he is "a good fund-raiser." Also on hand was Bernalillo County GOP Chair Fernando C de Baca, fresh from a hard-fought and successful effort to retain his title. He told me on his way to the Atomic City that he too has contemplated a run against Weh because "the party needs reform," but he prefers that Greer, who has already been working the 351 committee members, carry the ball. (State Dems also pick a chairman on the 28th.)
THE WOES OF WEH
Weh is heartily supported by ABQ GOP U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson, but that is one of the reasons Weh is hearing the mumblings of discontent. Like Greer, he has called a meeting of all GOP county chairs. His is set for the morning of the convention. He hopes to tamp down discontent before balloting gets underway.
He will likely hear complaints at that meeting that the GOP has "become the party of Heather." Several GOP officials outside of Bernalillo county tell me they see the party as too devoted to Heather's re-election bids and not those of their local contenders. They want party resources more equitably distributed. Weh and Wilson have a long relationship and she was instrumental in getting him elected as chairman.
With GOP Senator Pete Domenici and Rep. Wilson seemingly under siege from the US Attorney scandal, Republicans want to avoid a public food fight over the party leadership, but those who have felt excluded may feel empowered by the troubles of Pete and Heather and find this a good time to demand, if not the chairmanship, a bigger piece of the pie. Weh, a retired military man, has managed to avoid the political land mines inherent to the top job. With his chief patrons in Washington weakened, he will have to dodge a few more to keep his spot on the playing field of La Politica.
GONZALES DOWN; IGLESIAS UP
Meanwhile, on the banks of the Potomac it was a sour day for Attorney General Gonzales, which means it was a sweet one for former NM US Attorney David Iglesias. The latest on the scandal beat at KOB-TV's newly redesigned Web site.
BILL'S TUBE BUY
He needs name ID in the key primary states, so here comes early Big Bill TV. He'll be first up in Iowa. See the ads here.
HOMANS GOES HOUDINI: DISAPPEARS
Rick, we hardly knew ye! No sooner had Economic Development Secretary Rick Homans floated a trial balloon for the Dem nod for the right to take on GOP Rep. Wilson than he sticks a pin in it and walks away. He had good reason. Homans will leave the economic desk to become executive director of the NM Spaceport Authority at his current salary of $136,500. That ends his barely week old flirtation with the congressional seat. What's Heather going to think, Rick? That you're a love em' and leave em' guy? What's that? You say check with wife Jan? Gotcha. But didn't you already know you were going to get that big job before you flirted with Heather, or were you playing with Big Bill and the bloggers to get some attention? No problem. Heck, we do it too, but he doesn't sign our paycheck, at least not until he wins the White House and we say, "Bill, remember all those nice things we wrote about you?...No, not THOSE things--the NICE things.
Not to worry, worried Dems. There's a Tingley Beach boatload of other possible contenders for Heather's next War of the Roses, including ex-UNM Prexy and Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera who is working the D.C. circuit to drum up support. But we're picking up signals that the powers-that-be may try to clear this field for ABQ Dem City Councilor Martin Heinrich who heads to D.C. next week. We remain a bit skeptical, as clearing a field of Democrats is as easy as getting a Sandia bear to part with a pot of honey. Our traditional "stay tuned" is quite in order.
This is the home of New Mexico politics, and we're glad to have you with us. News? Comments? Criticism? Interested in advertising here? Drop me an e-mail from the link at the top of the page. Until then, I'm Joe Monahan, reporting to you from Albuquerque, NM.
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2007
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