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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Shaking Up The South; Hobbs Mayor Could Be Major Factor In R Congress Race; We Take A Look, Plus: Making Up In Santa Fe 

Mayor Monty Newman
Who says those near-Texans in Hobbs can't have their share of La Politica? They are certainly contributing to this historic year, fielding a US Senate candidate and now, not one, but perhaps two heavyweight congressional contenders. Word is circulating among insiders that Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman is close to joining the race for the GOP nomination for the southern Congressional seat. Newman, a longtime realtor in Lea County, passes the Alligator smell test and gets mentioned here even if he has not made it official because he has a political base, name ID, and the ability to raise money to seriously compete with Ed Tinsley of Lincoln County. Tinsley says he has raised over $220,000 and is willing to commit personal wealth. Insiders tell us that Newman also could draw on personal wealth to finance a campaign.

Newman would also appear to be positioned to be a strong challenger to restaurant chain owner Tinsley because his strongest counties would appear to be Lea, Eddy and Chaves where the pros say 40% of the GOP primary vote will come from.

Hobbs, in far SE NM, is in the middle of an economic boom with realtor Newman benefiting, not to mention all those oil and gas guys celebrating oil prices toying with the $100 a barrel level. That's a lot of potential campaign contributions.

If Newman runs, Hobbs and Lea County will have a full complement of candidates on the field. Congressman Steve Pearce of Hobbs is seeking the GOP nod for the US Senate seat. Hobbs oil man Harry Teague is a leading contender for the Dem nod for the southern US House seat and young Bob Cornelius who hails from Tatum in Lea County is also in the GOP race for the southern Congressional seat.

Hobbs' slogan is, "It All Happens Here." We don't know what they do on Saturday night to keep it hopping, but when it comes to politics, they are living up to their billing.

FIRST GOP DEBATE

Alamogordo Republicans can't wait for the election year to start. The Otero County GOP is sponsoring their party's first debate of the '08 election season, hosting the GOP candidates for the 2nd CD next Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Willie Estrada Memorial Civic Center. Now they have us wondering who Willie Estrada was.

MONEY QUESTION

If the state surplus is forecast to be $369 million and we need $147 in new money for the Medicaid health program and $200 million to finish building the Rail Runner, does that mean the surplus is already spent? If so, that was quick.

MAKING UP

That little tiff between State Senate Minority Whip Lee Rawson of Las Cruces and Fred Mondragón the Secretary-designate for the NM Economic development department, appears to have ended with a truce. Here is a response from Fred's office to Republican Lee's comments on our blog Wednesday saying Fred should not be calling himself the Secretary yet because he hasn't been confirmed by the Senate.

"...Mondragón has been using the title “New Mexico Economic Development Department Cabinet Secretary Designate” on all official correspondence and communiqué since October, shortly after Senator Rawson brought the issue to the attention of EDD representatives at an LFC hearing at which the Secretary Designate was not present. At a subsequent LFC hearing on November 14, Cabinet Secretary Designate Mondragón personally and publicly apologized for the oversight directly to Sen. Rawson and the Committee."

If you get the feeling a lot of Senators, both Dems and R's, are ready to ride herd on the Administration at next month's legislative session, you may be on to something.

THE BOTTOM LINES

An ABQ newcomer, attorney David Pyne, says he will seek the GOP nod for the West Side state senate seat that Joe Carraro says he is giving up to seek the GOP nomination for the ABQ Congressional seat. Pyne has lived in ABQ for about three years. State Rep. Tom Anderson has said he is interested in that seat too, but has not made an announcement.

E-mail your news and comments, and tune in again soon.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2007
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