Friday, August 03, 2007

Santa Fe Cash Party To Slow A Bit, Also: Pete's Latest Polls, And: Barnett And Rogers; The Outing Of Insider Influence 

Few have more practice of doling out the pork than Santa Fe solons, where epic budget surpluses over the past five years have given them literally billions to appropriate. Next year there will be a little less pork to feast on, according to state estimates. Is it the beginning of the end of the pork party? Well, nothing lasts forever, not even oil and gas surpluses. Our political intuition says while a day of reckoning may not be coming, a day of belt tightening very well could be. If so, it could make the 2010 Governor's race a much different affair than either Dems Diane Denish and Marty Chavez are anticipating, and should give the R's a reason to start thinking ahead. Keep an eye on the punch bowl.


Oh, what a tangled web we weave..ABQ lawyers Pat Rogers and Mickey Barnett are back under the bright glare of the US Senate klieg lights. It's the US attorney scandal, of course. These two, particularly lobbyist Barnett, have positioned themselves as Republican king makers. Barnett primaried fellow Republicans in '04 to get legislators to his liking, but he retains ties to the Democratic Governor by serving as the personal attorney to his most favored lobbyist, Butch Maki. It drives a whole lot of Republicans crazy and causes unending intrigue within the state GOP. The extent of the Barnett-Rogers influence with the White House has heretofore been a guessing game, but these unelected officials have been outed by the light of day. And as Martha Stewart might say, "It's a good thing."


In the first poll since his well publicized "break" with the White House on the course of the Iraq war, NM GOP Senator Pete Domenici comes in with a 55% approval rating, up from 51% in the previous survey. The poll was conducted July 13 thru 15. Its margin of error is plus or minus 4.1%, so it looks for now as if Pete has found a bottom. One suspects he got a minor bounce from the change in his Iraq position. But anything below 60% approval is historically low for our state's longest ever serving US senator. Has the incessant drum beat of bad Pete news--the war, the US attorney scandal and the immigration bill--created a ceiling on his popularity? Or can he recapture the glory of yesteryear? The Alligators continue to watch the numbers closely as do supporters of Big Bill who see him as a possible late entrant in the '08 race if Domenici is unable to recover. Please, please, don't say we didn't tell you!


Former NM Assistant Attorney General Jon Adams of ABQ filed federal papers Thursday making him the third candidate to officially seek the Dem nomination for the ABQ congressional seat held by Republican Heather Wilson, according to TV news. Dems were not jumping up and down over the Adams entry which he announced several weeks ago. They said his biggest obstacle will be getting known and then getting 20% of the vote at the Dem party pre-primary nominating convention next spring. Adams, 32, must make that mark to win a place on the ballot. The other contenders, Martin Heinrich and Bryon Paez, are seen as having the organizational ability to hit the needed 20% mark.


We agree with you, Big Bill, that you should have more than one name to choose from when filling a judge vacancy. But tell us what you can do about it.

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