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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mayor Vs. O'Malley; He Goes Public For Foe Of Council Prexy, Plus: Big Bill Keeps Door Open On Veep Amid Gay Flap Fallout, And: Heather Is Everywhere 

Chavez Vs. O'Malley
They didn't even get to the appetizers. Barely a week after proposing a series of peace lunches with the ABQ city council, Mayor Marty Chavez has openly declared his support for the October 2nd election opponent of City Council President Debbie O'Malley. Chavez is sponsoring a $50 per person August 22nd Corrales reception for Katherine Martinez who seeks to unseat the first term liberal councilor who has become the public face of opposition to Chavez in his third term at the helm of the state's largest city.

O'Malley won election four years ago with 45% of the vote in a four way field. She is favored to win again, although the Mayor's camp is spinning hard that she is vulnerable. The district is much of ABQ's North Valley, populated by liberal Dems like O'Malley. Also, there is an ethnic factor in the heavily Hispanic district. O'Malley's mother is a Romero and as we wrote in May: "Martinez (Katherine Carroll), a Democrat like O'Malley, was born in North Carolina and moved to New Mexico with her native New Mexican husband. She says she has lived in the district only two and a half years, but "it doesn't take long to get to know people."

There has been more of a check on Chavez's power since O'Malley became council president with six of the nine councilors coming together to override a couple of vetoes. But Chavez has a history of intervening in the council races--if not as openly as in the O'Malley case--with little success.

Whether Martinez, government affairs director for the Home Builders Association of Central NM, can pull a major upset remains questionable, but win or lose, Chavez is sending a message to O'Malley by backing her foe, and that message is not peace. This is nothing new for Mr. and Mrs. Albuquerque who have seen this many times before and actually seem to enjoy having the council and mayor at loggerheads as it keeps them both in line. As for those mayoral peace lunches, don't look for Debbie and Marty to be chewing together on the calamari at Yanni's anytime soon.

THE BIG BILL BEAT


From the beginning, the national pundits have pegged Big Bill as a possible Veep candidate, downplaying his chances at capturing the Dem Prez nod. The Guv has done his best to shake that perception, but he left the door open to the possibility this week when he interviewed with the New York Daily News.

The Guv should probably be relieved that the media is still asking him about becoming Veep in the wake of the controversy that shrouded his campaign in the aftermath of his gay gaffe. The Washington Post's political blogger says it's another case of Bill showing a lack of "message discipline."

The gay blogs were up in arms that the Guv did not flatly declare at the gay Prez forum that being gay is a matter of biology, not choice. Bill trotted out openly gay Congressman Barney Frank to do some damage control in hopes of putting the incident behind him.

Richardson also came with two new TV spots Tuesday in Iowa. Perhaps that will divert attention away from the gay flub. He will be sharing tube time there with Hillary Clinton who unveiled her first TV commercials there this week.

SHE'S EVERYWHERE
Heather Wilson
She's recently been in Clovis, Los Alamos and Las Cruces. Now one of the Alligators has an unconfirmed report that ABQ GOP Rep. Heather Wilson has had an appearance slated for Farmington. You know the score, but it bears repeating. Wilson is positioning herself for the US senate seat held by Senator Domenici--just in case. Domenici is indeed running for a seventh term in '08, but frail health is the opponent that could keep him out of the race. He is 75.

Some Democrats complain that Wilson is in denial after having only won her '06 reelect by less than 900 votes and that appearing around the state is a sign of arrogance. But with the Dems set to start a heated primary to see who will win the right to challenge her in '08, Wilson is largely out of their line of fire, giving her the opportunity to roam freely. A US senate opening in NM is a once in a generation event, if that. If Wilson has any ambition for the seat, she must stay positioned, regardless of the current political odds. Ditto for GOP US Rep. Steve Pearce who is doing the same, but further below the radar than the determined congresswoman.

MY BOTTOM LINES

Down south they are starting to line up for the Dona Ana county commission seat being given up by Bill McCamley who is seeking the Dem nomination to take on GOP US Rep. Steve Pearce next year. The first candidate to announce is Dem Vince Romero, a retired Justice department employee...Dem congressional contender Jon Adams is boasting of getting contributions from Republicans. He checks in with the news that he has raised $10,000 for his campaign for the Dem nod to take on Heather Wilson in '08 and that this "shows broad support from independent-minded Democrats and Republicans." Now, if he could only get those R's to switch parties so they could actually vote for him in the primary...

Fans of Heather can catch her act this Saturday at her "Coffee Club" meeting at the ABQ Sheraton Uptown. The price is $30 per person. But 9 a.m. on a Saturday? Heck, at that time, the Democrats are just getting in from the night before...See our revised bottom lines from yesterday (scroll down) for the latest on the ABQ city clerk position. The Mayor has named an "interim" clerk who will preside over the Oct. 2nd city election after which a permanent clerk will be named...

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2007
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