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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Legal Beagles: No New US Attorney For NM, Plus: Insiders Like Big Bill's Position, Also: Jackson To Resign, And: Pete Says: "Spiro Who?" 

That hot seat known as US attorney for New Mexico will apparently remain vacant until we get a new President, leaving interim US attorney Larry Gomez in charge until then. That's the word from my legal beagles, with one of them explaining the situation this way: "The position requires the US Senate to confirm the White House's selection. That would likely take until early next year, and that would give the new guy only a about a year on the job, hardly worth the effort."

Not to mention that confirmation hearings would reopen the entire US Attorney scandal, not beneficial to Republicans Pete Domenici and Heather Wilson.

Attorney Jason Bowles, who defended ex-NM Treasurer Robert Vigil on federal corruption charges, was one of those being mentioned as a replacement for David Iglesias who was fired from the spot last year, setting off the epic scandal that has entangled GOP Senator Pete Domenici and ABQ GOP Congresswoman Wilson. The legal Beagles say the assistant US attorneys at the office are pleased that Gomez will evidently stay in charge, avoiding staff changes at least until the next President takes office in January '09.

It was Iglesias's investigation of corruption in the construction of the Bernalillo County Metro Courthouse that sparked the US attorney scandal here when he alleged political interference by Domenici and Wilson. The probe eventually led to the indictment of, among others, former Dem State Senator Manny Aragon. Ever since Aragon and company were indicted, legal speculators have been saying expect more. Will there be more? "It has been dead quiet on that front," reports one insider. But that may just be the calm before yet another storm.

BILL'S WORLD

It's hard to argue with the political pros now saying they like the position of Big Bill in his long shot quest for the Dem prez nomination. The Washington Post's political blog sums up the conventional wisdom on the current state of the Guv's candidacy.

"Organizationally, Richardson is in surprisingly good shape in Iowa. He has 11 field offices in the state just one less than Clinton and four fewer than Edwards..Richardson has done 25 events in the Hawkeye State..Richardson continues to build the kind of candidacy--both financially and organizationally--that will allow him to be a serious presence in the first four caucus and primary states...Richardson is doing everything he needs to do to ensure that if the race takes an unforeseen turn, be it a stumble by a front runner or some other unpredictable event, he is in position to take advantage of it."

Some of the analysis of Richardson's effort has been off the mark because it starts with the premise that he has a realistic chance of winning the nomination. He does not. His hope, as the WaPo analysis suggests, is to be positioned to take advantage of any unexpected turn of events. In that regard, Bill is meeting expectations and maybe surpassing them.

BELIEVE IT...OR NOT

Big Bill told CNN Monday he would rather be Governor of New Mexico than Vice-President of the USA saying he could go ride his horse and get involved in foreign policy "as I have done as Governor." And, of course, we elected the Governor to run foreign policy. Don't you remember that?

SPIRO WHO?

Reaction to our Monday blog reporting the possibility of a primary challenge to NM GOP Senator Pete Domenici came directly from the top. Pete was asked about Spiro Vassilopoulos during his regular news conference with radio reporters and, according to 770 KKOB-AM news anchor Larry Moehlenbrink and Pete's Web site, "Domenici says he is unaware of any possible Republican primary challenge, and says he does not expect to face a primary opponent. However, he notes he has always welcomed competition. " OK. Does that mean there will be debates between Spiro and Pete? We're just kidding....aren't we? Spiro V. says he will decide whether to challenge Pete by the end of the month.

GOODBYE JACKSON TOWN


Speaking of KKOB-AM, it was to that radio station that embattled Rio Rancho Mayor Kevin Jackson revealed Monday that he will soon resign. Jackson is under investigation for misusing city credit cards and is the target of a citizen recall effort. His resignation, despite his initial reluctance, was widely expected. City Councilor Michael Williams, elected deputy mayor by his fellow councilors, is expected to be selected acting mayor when Jackson's resigantion becomes official. A special election will be held in March of '08 where voters will pick a new mayor.

THE BOTTOM LINES

When we blogged NM GOP US Rep.Steve Pearce's finance numbers last week, we threw in a zinger from one of his operatives who said that Democrat Bill McCamley, seeking to unseat Pearce, had to file an amended FEC report because he gave wrong employment info about some of his donors. Now, a McCamley sympathizer fires back: "...Since 2002 Congressman Pearce appears to have filed more than amendments to reports...He has also filed eight documents explaining errors in reports to the FEC, the most recent filed on February 20th 2007." Democrats Al Kissling and Rick Bolanos are also in the race for the Dem nod in the sprawling southern NM district...

Insiders report veteran ABQ Journal city hall reporter Jim Ludwick will leave the paper to take a position with a public interest group. Ludwick came to ABQ from Montana in 1998. He has covered city hall since 2001, including two mayoral campaigns...

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2007
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