Monday, October 08, 2007

Mayor Marty Sets Time & Place For Senate Bid; Big Bill Says Go Ahead; We Peel the Onion, Plus: Readers Blog The Historic Political Week That Was 

Marty Chavez, looking for a quick takeoff and hoping to discourage other major contenders, will formally announce his bid for the 2008 Democratic US Senate nomination Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Eclipse Aviation in ABQ.

The choice of Eclipse, an aircraft manufacturer that Chavez has courted for years and cites as an ABQ business success story, seems, in part, intended to send a warm and fuzzy to the business community and help Chavez with the formidable task of raising the millions of dollars necessary for the run ahead.

"Chavez is the big foot in the race right now. There is no other prominent candidate seeking the nomination. That remains the major threat to him, along with Governor Richardson deciding to join the race if his presidential candidacy sputters in January. The Mayor's choice of a location announcement seems more part of the money game, than vote chasing." Said one of my Alligators.

We might add that the Eclipse backdrop will hold most appeal to conservative Anglo Democrats and Republicans who Chavez believes were key to his 1998 gubernatorial loss. It is not a locale that has any symbolism for Hispanic or liberal Democrats who will dominate the June '08 primary.

I have also learned that Big Bill has communicated with the Mayor, telling him he does not plan to go for the Domenici seat and that "you should run." I am told the message for Chavez was left on an answering machine, as these two power players played political poker at the highest possible level.

"The Chavez camp, like the Heather Wilson camp on the Republican side, have to go ahead and assume Richardson does not end up in the race. The mayor will try to raise big money and create momentum by January so if Richardson does consider a run, it will give him pause as Chavez will already be looking good. But if he isn't, it would make it much easier for Bill to get in," said our veteran Gator.

Not that Richardson would be averse to hurting Marty's feelings. As one of the Senior Alligators (at least 45 years old and 25 years in La Politica) emailed: "I seem to recall Gary King getting into the 2002 Gov's race with promises from Big Bill that he wasn't going to run. The situation was different but don't you think any potential Democratic senate candidate is going to remember that?"

Well, they're sure going to remember it now. King got in the '02 race, but Bill followed and
Gary never even got a spot on that year's primary ballot. Beware the Alligators!


Chavez has had major problems with the large progressive wing of the Democratic Party. They have been banding behind Santa Fe developer Don Wiviott who has pledged $400,000 of his own cash for the race. Can Chavez heal the wounds and start unifying the party, or will more candidates get in and complicate the matter and snare the Mayor in a bloody battle?

Just last Tuesday the city election results delivered a stinging rebuke to the Mayor who now faces an even stronger veto-proof city council. And in the Sunday Journal the union for city police officers took out a full-page ad criticizing the Mayor over his funding proposals for the department. It's a good time to get out of River City, if you can.

Chavez is hoping for the luck of the draw. No other major contenders coming in and Wiviott holding at 400 grand and not gaining traction. Certainly Light Guv Diane Denish is hoping Mrty's luck holds, as Chavez is the chief obstacle in her way for the 2010 Democratic Guv nomination. However, insiders say Denish is a factor dictating Chavez's early senate entry.

The Chavez camp sees a senate run by Di as a long shot, but she is getting pressure from national Dems to consider the race. By announcing before her, Chavez hopes to preempt a Marty-Di primary battle which she would be positioned to win, according to recent polling.

As for Mayor Marty, his Governor chances are now likely history--either he goes to Washington or he loses. If he goes down, he would stay as mayor until December 1, 2009, but A US senate loss would not be a platform from which to launch a Guv campaign.

Both Chavez and Wilson have put it on the line--Wilson more so--by giving up something to take their shot at taking the Senate prize. That tells us both would not cower when called on to defend our small state's interests in the World's Greatest Deliberative Body. Will others emerge who are equal to the challenge?


Check out the Sunday Journal in which Heather Wilson asserts she never, ever has spoken with Senator Domenci about succeeding him in the US Senate. Really? If you believe that one, Steve Pearce isn't bald.

Santa Fe State Senator Grubesic has decided not to seek reelection. One of those seeking to replace the Dem lawmaker has already raised over $80,000, but I keep hearing that Santa Fe Mayor Larry Delgado may get in that race as well...Also, former ABQ City Councilor Eric Griego, who has been telling friends for months that he will challenge ABQ State Senator James Taylor in the June 'o8 primary, is now telling that to news types as well. He is in.

Remember Spiro V? The Republican we told New Mexico about who toyed with the idea of challenging Sen. Pete Domenici for the '08 senate nomination, but then backed off? He's back, and now that Pete is gone he says he wants to get back inthe race.


Lots of excitement and reaction among our readers to one of the most historic weeks in New Mexico politics as Senator Domenici announces his retirement and Rep. Wilson announces her candidacy to replace him. I'd like to share some of it with you, so let's dip into the e-mail bag...


At his announcement Senator Domenici did come up to me and touched my hand...his eyes looked like my father's eyes in the last months of his life... I think that his staff is worried about that...how in the world will they handle this in D.C.? Fifteen months is a long time.

Antonio Gomez:

If there is a better place to get complete, detailed, in-depth NM political coverage, I'm not aware of it. Great reporting and analysis. Denish is sure to cut a deal with Marty in the senate race although I think she is the one politician who would really rather be governor than senator. The only question would be whether Marty would make a deal to keep her out of the senate race and then keep his word to stay out of the governor's race.

Lisa Breeden, state office director for NM Senator Pete Domenici:

Thank you for a really beautiful blog (Friday) on the boss. You obviously wrote from the heart. And most believe we old journalists don't have one. But it takes institutional memory and experience to truly understand politics...


I was listening to the Albuquerque election results on KANW-FM and did not realize how out of touch you and your cronies are...You would not admit you were wrong when you predicted (Councilor) Harris would lose his recall. Then you suggested Bernalillo County Commissioner Michael Brasher will return and take the Harris District 9 seat in two years. Are you a fool or a moron? Brasher does not want the seat or he would have taken it two years ago.

Jerry Wright, owner, ABQ's Great American Land & Cattle restaurant:

Big Bill concedes the Prez race after a fourth place finish in New Hampshire, throwing his support to Hillary. He throws his hat in the ring for Senate, displacing Marty and/or Diane. Bill wins over Heather...Then, Bill gets tagged by Prez Hillary for Sec of State, steps down from the Senate, leaving now Guv Denish to appoint Mayor Marty as Senator, and paving the way for her to get elected to the Guv's chair in 2010.

Carol Clark, Los Alamos Monitor:

I just finished reading your Friday write up of the Domenici event. Your lead is so great and I was overwhelmed when you wrote, "The Senator took no questions. He was in the arms of those who will now finally reclaim him from a lifetime on the political stage."

I remember you saying you aren't a particularly good writer when you spoke to the New Mexico Press Women's Association...You're so wrong, Joe. You reek with talent. Thanks for your superb piece on yesterday's historical event.


Enough already. Domenici's votes have been responsible for thousands of deaths in Iraq.


Charles Coutret:

Thanks for all the great reporting. Assuming Hillary’s position continues to strengthen, and assuming that Bill wants the Secretary of State, then Bill’s future is in Hillary’s hands. One phone call from Hillary telling him that she needs another Dem in the Senate and it’s done. I don’t know that the decision is his to make.

Photographer Mark Bralley at 3:00 a.m. Friday when I posted the wrong date on the Domenici retirement piece:

Joe, I'm still with you...It's Friday, not Saturday....

Susan Walton:

Ride 'em cowboy! Some days I am simply proud to have been at school the same time as you, so I got to know you before you became the NM Dean of Politics! (or are you really called an Alligator trainer?)

Valerie Kimble:

You hit the high notes (Friday)--It gave me goose bumps to read about the dementia factor-- truly the end of an era. And you saw it coming from a distance...great reporting job, Monahan.

Michael Folsom on the emergence of Sheriff White as a GOP candidate for the ABQ House seat:

We, meaning the grass roots, have been telling the establishment that this was gonna happen for years. What we, meaning the Democrats, need is a smart, strong willed young female Hispanic. Lets see if one crops up in the next couple of weeks.

Frank Aranda:

You probably receive a million messages like this but I need to add mine to them. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your commentary on the city election and your daily blog. Incredibly fine work.

Andrew Leo Lopez on the loss of the ABQ Mayor's favored council candidates in the city election:

Marty ran for city council and lost!

Matthew Baca:

Hey Joe...your coverage is as insightful as ever. Tuesday night election returns, channel 13 analysis and you still put out over 2000 words that succinctly describe the new political scene...

Bill Naegele on the choices voters have in the ABQ House race to succeed Wilson:

I'm really beginning to miss (former ABQ GOP Congressman) Steve Schiff...

Helen Laura Lopez:

Your analysis (Thursday and Friday) is as good as you have ever done. Very thorough. I have made it recommended reading for my pals outside of NM.

Thanks for the comments. Your continued interest is the fuel that keeps this blog going. Email us anytime.

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