Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Dateline Gallup: What's Going On There? Plus: Lyons' Land Problems, And: Big Bill's Touchy Photo 

Nearing Gallup,NM
In our quest to bring you the latest La Politica from across our Enchanted Land, today we take you to ethnically diverse Gallup in western NM where a Senior Alligator gives us the lowdown on what is driving the politics of the city of 20,000.

"In Gallup, we have an “old guard’ that is an effective combination of longtime Hispanic and Italian activists that work on a classic patronage model. They have long-standing ties with Gallup’s liquor dealers. We also have a large progressive population created by the influx of educators, medical professionals, religious missionaries and assorted do-gooders. It’s a pretty even split, although on balance the old guard generally wins because politics is a blood sport to them...The in-town Navajos (Gallup is 34% Native, 33% Hispanic, 29% Anglo and 4% Other) could tip the balance toward the progressives, but Navajo's are under registered and politically inactive. Many maintain their voting registration out in the county at their Chapter of origin.

"...The Governor is able to pull off a task that is comparable to holding a ball of shifting mercury in the palm of his hand. He keeps progressives happy by promoting progressive public policy while at the same time keeping the old guard patronage politicians happy by the appointments and the administrative decisions he makes..."

Harry Mendoza, the former chairman of the McKinley County Commission, was elected as mayor of Gallup in a runoff election in March. And in case you didn't know, Gallup and McKinley county are longtime Democratic strongholds.

Have an update on your city's politics? Share it with us.

Pat Lyons
NM Land Commissioner Pat Lyons has sometimes been mentioned as a possible 2010 GOP Guv nominee, but he isn't helping himself any in the way he has handled a Las Cruces land deal involving his office. After being accused of doing a sweetheart deal with a land developer, Lyons on Monday admitted he made a mistake in awarding the developer a deal before the published deadline for proposals to be submitted. He also claims not to know that the developer contributed a bunch of money to a political action committee which right away turned around and donated the cash to Lyons' 2006 campaign.

If Lyons ever does run for Guv one thing is certain--he can forget about accusing Big Bill and the Dems of "pay to play" politics.


Watching all of this from the sidelines is former Dem Land Commissioner Ray Powell, Jr. who
tells me he is ready to tell you that he is planning another run at the office in '10. Lyons can't seek a third term, so it will be an open race. Powell served over 10 years in the land office. He sought the Dem nomination last year, but was defeated by Jim Baca who went on to lose to Lyons.

Veternarian Powell now works for the Jane Goodall Institute which "empowers people to make a difference for all living things."


We blogged Monday that in contrast to the national press, we see the NM press as largely ignoring the political fortunes of Senator Domenici, while ably covering the US attorney scandal. Some of the print scribes answered back that there has been political coverage. For example, they pointed to this March piece by the ABQ Journal's Michael Coleman in which he hits upon Pete's re-election prospects while also covering the outlook for ABQ GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson.

We're political junkies, but my instincts tell me there should be more. Also, what of the non-coverage of the Survey USA poll showing Pete dropping to an historically low approval rating of 54%? Does that go unreported because the poll is "non-scientific" or because it is done for a TV station and no one in the NM press wants to quote another news source? Or are we, as our friend Bruce Daniels at the ABQ Journal might say, "congenitally conspiratorial?" We're just asking...


Yes, it is a depressing no-end-in-sight war in Iraq, but is the end finally coming into view? We think so as top Republicans realize they face another electoral drubbing in '08 if they fail to follow the will of those who put them in power. The system works, but often slowly.


Big Bill says he is a "hands-on"guy, and this photo snapped at Drake University in Iowa by the Des Moines Register continues to prove the point. Please Alligators, hold the ribald comments.

Keep us posted. Send your political news and comments via the email link at the top of the page, and drop in again soon. This is the home of New Mexico politics--www.joemonahan.com

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