Monday, July 02, 2007
Double Trouble At The Roundhouse: Reps Vigil And Foley Under The Scope, Plus: Big Bill's Billfold; Is It Thick Enough?
It's double trouble at the Roundhouse. Dem State Rep. Richard Vigil of Las Vegas and GOP Rep. Dan Foley of Roswell are the ethics poster boys for the summer of '07 and that could mean trouble for both when the summer of '08 rolls around. House Speaker Ben Lujan has stepped in to apply a bit of discipline to fellow Dem Vigil, but state GOP lawmakers and their party have remained mum on Foley, leaving it to his hometown newspaper to admonish the temper prone solon and urge Roswellians to "think long and hard" before re-electing him.
First, the details on Vigil who is the brother of ex-NM Treasurer Robert Vigil who is doing prison time for corruption. Lujan says--at Vigil's request--he has removed him from the House Education Committee and the Legislative Education Study Committee. This, in the aftermath of the indictment of Roberta Vigil, Richard's wife. She's charged with fraudulently spending bilingual education money from the West Las Vegas School District. Some of that cash was made available to her in a special appropriation by none other than hubby Richard. Isn't that special?
Meantime, northern Alligators of the Gallinas River variety report that the name of Sam Vigil, no relation to Richard and who represented District 70 before Richard took him out in '98, is mulling over a possible primary challenge to Richard. Another possible primary name the Gators sent down the river is that of former San Miguel county District Attorney Jesus Lopez. Isn't he the son of the legendary Mama Lucy" whose named played a central role in the politics of the 70's? He is, says no less an authority than former NM GOP Guv Dave Cargo.
As for Speaker Lujan taking some action on Richard Vigil, House Majority leader Kenny Martinez may have run a lousy campaign to unseat the Speaker last December, but his harping on ethics may have played a role in getting Ben to take notice of Vigil. One Smiley Gallegos is enough for anyone.
On the Foley front, state R's may be quiet as church mouses about their wayward son, but Foley's alleged flying off the handle over the treatment of his own son at a Roswell basketball game, has the Roswell Daily Record stepping into the breach. The paper says spitting at a cop, disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer, are not endearing political traits to the good folks who populate cowboy country.
Foley's district should think long and hard about whether he is the best choice to represent them in Santa Fe...Elected officials should be masters of diplomacy...the art of compromise is the key to success. Predictions of political demise aren't the way to win over other legislators. Verbal assaults are no way to persuade the governor to rethink his policies. And failing to recognize the authority of police officers is no way to set an example for our community's youth.
There's a recipe here for a food fight in primary '08. That is, if any prominent R has the stomach for it. Hey, maybe a tobacco chewing Roswell cop will run and he and Foley can engage in that old western pastime-- who can spit their tobacco juice the farthest. Big Bill would kick in the spittoons for that one.
BIG BILL'S BILLFOLD
Not bad. After mismanaging expectations and floating the rumor that Big Bill was close to beating the fundraising totals of Dem Prexy rival John Edwards in the second quarter, NM Governor Bill Richardson recovered with the news that while he couldn't beat Edwards' $9 million, he has raised about $7 million, topping his first quarter total of $6.2 million. Edwards' six-month total was $23 million, compared with more than $14 million for Richardson, putting in perspective where the Guv stands.
Much has happened in Bill's first six months as a Prez candidate, but in reality not much has changed. He began his quest knowing that it would take a major error by one of the leading contenders if he was to break out of the second tier of candidates. That mistake has yet to come, but history says it might, and by raising a decent sized campaign kitty the Guv is able to stay in the race and wait for it.
While Richardson was spinning that it was a brand new day for his candidacy, his critics were less euphoric, as this e-mail from an Alligator deep in the South Valley of ABQ illustrates:
"The Guv got a late start during the first reporting period, thus the second quarter produced less money per day than the first which suggests a slowing of contributions. I admit to expecting less in total not just less per day. However, the amount will only prolong the death throes of the Billy delusion. The next report should show his fundraising finally relegating him to the dustbin of history."
"The Billy delusion?" Is that copyrighted?
Another emailer points out that Richardson has a total of 38,000 contributors, but Edwards, who the Guv hopes to displace from the #3 position, has 100,000. That seems to indicate the Guv is adept at hitting up big donors, but has work to do in exciting the grass roots about his candidacy.
Still, Big Bill lives to fight another day, and that surpasses the expectations of many pundits. If he keeps going, we may have to get the Honda road ready for a trip to Des Moines--Iowa that is.
It appears that ABQ Dem congressional candidate Martin Heinrich who, like the Guv, was sending out a flurry of "Help me" messages in the closing days of the second quarter will meet expectations for his campaign, but not blow the doors off. He's expected to hit the $150,000 level when he makes his report public at mid-month, according to insiders. Heinrich isn't talking yet.
We're told the ABQ city councilor had raised about $120,000 as of a couple of weeks ago, even though he did little fundraising in April. But will $150k or thereabouts be enough to discourage another Dem from getting in the race for the right to take on ABQ GOP US Rep. Heather Wilson? The answer is....drumroll please....maybe. Democrats seem more wary than energized by the too-close-to-call Wilson '06 win, and Heinrich has much to prove. But you already knew that.
US ATTORNEY SCANDAL UPDATE
Must reading from McClatchy Newspapers on a new development in the NM US Attorney scandal. NM GOP attorney Pat Rogers is back in the spotlight. Read all about it.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2007
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