Thursday, October 25, 2007

UNM Prez On Board The Big Bill Ship; Writes Check For Passage, Plus: Pete & Heather, And: Another Side of Daniels High Court Appointment 

The president of the University of New Mexico, Dr. David Schmidly, is now officially a New Mexican. We can say that with authority because he has passed the official state residency requirement for highly paid public employees--giving money to Big Bill. It turns out that less than a month after it was announced that he would take on the handsomely compensated job of UNM Prexy, Schmidly coughed up a $2300 contribution to Big Bill's presidential campaign. Some woud call it a rite of passage as everything that moves in this state is subject to the tentacles of La Politica.

Schmidly, a Democrat, gave this explanation for donating to the Guv: "I donated to him because as I’ve met him and heard his platform and his presentation, I resonate with the man, and that’s why I donated to [him].”

Schimdly was president of Oklahoma State University before coming here. That university's student newspaper reported the Schmidly contribution and also took note of the timing of the contributions.

"According to the Opensecrets Web site, Schmidly gave his donation on March 12, which an Albuquerque newspaper reported was the same day he attended his first board of regents meeting and said he had plans to meet with Richardson later. Schmidly said he didn’t remember if he met with Richardson that day."

Four of the seven UNM regents who appointed Schmidly have contributed a combined $8,800 to Richardson’s campaign. The Guv has raised $5 million in his small home state for his Prez campaign.

Will he send his staff trick or treating to get even more? Will they knock on President Schmidly's door? After all, his base salary is nearly $600,000 a year. Maybe he can be persuaded to help other needy politicos.

For now, let's welcome President Schmidly aboard as a full-fledged resident of our Enchanted Land. Just remember, Doc, around here, your checkbook is your passport.


The idea of a Hill and Bill ticket hasn't been talked up much lately, but national pundit and former Clinton adviser Dick Morris predicts a Clinton-Richardson ticket for '08. The bad news for Bill? In recent years, the Morris track record has been muddy.


Senator Pete continues to keep the door open a crack on endorsing GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson in her US senate primary race with fellow Rep. Steve Pearce. Domenici's office said this week:

...At this point he does not plan to endorse. He expressed his hope that the primary campaign proceeds in a manner that will allow the nominee to run a strong race in the general election."

An endorsement of Pearce by Domenici is out of the question. Wilson was made by Domenici when he endorsed her in the GOP primary for her House seat in '98. The question now is whether a Domenici endorsement would help or hurt Wilson. For sure, it would be a controversial and divisive move, but it is early and political calculations by Pete and Heather will continue.


Hillary beats Thompson and Romney in the SurveyUsa NM Prez poll conducted this month, but not Rudy. All the match-ups are here.


Nothing in La Politica is unanimous. We blogged that we did not hear any squealing over the appointment by Big Bill of ABQ trial lawyer Charlie Daniels to the NM Supreme Court seat, even though the seat he will fill belonged to a woman, the late Justice Pamela Minzner. No sooner had the cyberspace ink dried on those digits came this from a legal insider.

"Some women are steamed over the Daniels appointment. They believe it should have gone to either (judge) Linda Vanzi or Maureen Sanders. There is sentiment that Richardson "sold" the seat to the New Mexico trial lawyers to tap their not-inconsequential war chest for his campaign. Women who were supportive are abandoning the Richardson for President campaign as a result, telling campaign callers to drop them from the call list."

We heard the "seat for sale" theory making the rounds before the Daniels appointment, and there's no doubt the trial lawyers have their share of power. If the critics' concern is serious, they could make their case by getting a candidate to run against Daniels next year when he must stand for a contested election. As for Judge Vanzi, she was appointed to her ABQ district court position by Big Bill, so it's not as if she has been completely slighted.

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