Tuesday, August 21, 2007
AG King Moves To Clear Big Campaign Debt, Plus: 2010 Or Bust--Another Early Entrant, And: Press Bashing In Cowboy Country
New Mexico Attorney General Gary King appears poised to make a major dent in a $330,000 debt left over from his 2006 campaign, as politico and former US ambassador to Spain Ed Romero has joined forces with well-known trial lawyers Turner and Margaret Moses Branch to throw a $1000 a person dinner for King at the Albuquerque Country Club on September 11th. (Invitation here.)
The cash meter spun crazily on the AG's race last year as Republican Jim Bibb pumped in money from out-of-state interests. King ended up spending $611,000 on the contest, including $130,00o in personal loans.
King's predecessor, Patricia Madrid, took heat for taking major contributions from lawyers who later were awarded contracts for legal work. King's campaign reports, like previous candidates for the AG's office, are heavy with lawyer contributions. That attorneys are sponsoring the AG's debt retirement dinner is also not unusual, but because King has been front and center in espousing tougher ethics laws, the R's are giving it extra scrutiny. King, who recently told us he will not make a 2010 Guv run, can be expected to tread carefully.
2010 OR BUST
The politicos just can't seem to restrain themselves. First, Diane Denish becomes the earliest ever official candidate for Governor by announcing her 2010 bid for the Dem Guv nomination in January, a full three and half years before the primary election. Now, Santa Fe Sheriff Greg Solano is today expected to become the first official candidate for the '10 Dem nomination for lieutenant governor. Apparently the numbing amounts of money needed to run for office is a major driver of the early announcements, but that doesn't mean it isn't way too early.
It's particularly trick for the popular Solano who is sheriff of a county whose major city, Santa Fe, is in the midst of a crime wave. Even though he is not directly responsible for the city crime beat, his early start could raise questions on how committed he is to his job versus raising money for his candidacy.
Expect the 2010 race for light guv to get very crowded since it, like the Governor's job, will not feature an incumbent. 2006 Democratic attorney general candidate Geno Zamora tells me he is considering the race, as is former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron. The Alligators also are circulating the name of Brian Colón, chairman of the NM Dem party, as a possible contender. And there are many more. But please, can't we first deal with 2008?
THE COUNCIL CAMPAIGN
The endorsement of Rey Garduño by outgoing councilor and Dem congressional candidate Martin Heinrich isn't so much about how many votes it may deliver to the retired University of New Mexico employee, but what it says about the state of the campaign in the liberal SE Heights district. Heinrich wants those liberals for next year's June primary and can ill afford to be backing losers, so the assumption is that Garduño is on his way to consolidating the large liberal vote in the district which includes the university area.
If that is the case, the question will be whether Garduño can reach the 40% mark on October 2nd and avoid a run-off election with one of his three rivals, ad agency owner Joanie Griffin, toy store owner Kevin Wilson and CNM board member Blair Kaufman. Wilson is the lone R in the contest.
Already facing charges for picking a fight with Roswell cops at his son's basketball game, combative GOP State Representative and House Minority Leader Dan Foley is picking another one with the Roswell Daily Record. Foley has shut out his hometown newspaper, refusing comment to them because he and his supporters believe the paper is biased. But the Record, established in 1891, has seen and heard it all before and reacted mildly in an editorial published last month.
The Foley press bashing may help him rally his base supporters, but the ink-stained wretches have lots of time and barrels of ink on their side. That's something prospective GOP opponents of Foley may be pondering as they weigh possible '08 primary challenges. Stay tuned.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Have you seen "Obama Girl?" She's the latest Web sensation and you'll see why.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2007
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