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Monday, January 07, 2008

Is it Land Of Entrapment For Big Bill? Odds Grow He Will Finish Term Here, Plus: Roswell Showdown; Adair Challenged, And: Third Party Run In North? 

Nothing tarnishes a political resume like defeat, even one as long and as storied as that of our own Big Bill. With Iowa rejecting his presidential candidacy and New Hampshire poised to do the same, the Alligators are saying the odds of Richardson completing his term as governor here have gone way up. They have plenty of evidence to back them up.

It's always been assumed by the national media and pundits that Richardson was not seriously seeking the Dem Prez nod, but lobbying for the veep slot or secretary of state, but in the wake of a 2% showing in Iowa, the Washington Post's David Broder summed up the current conventional wisdom regarding Bill and the veep speculation.

"Bill Richardson is hanging on, but with only a modest hope of securing second place on the ticket."


Either Clinton or Obama--the likely winners of the nomination--are seen, for obvious reasons, as the least likely to add a Hispanic Dem to the ticket. That leaves the secretary of state possibility, but as ABC's George Stephanopoulos pointed out this weekend, Richardson has hit the rocks with the Clinton camp.

But I've got to tell you, right now, the Clinton campaign and the Clintons themselves are livid at Governor Bill Richardson, because they believe he made these deals with Barack Obama in the Iowa caucuses to throw his support in the places where he wasn't viable to Barack Obama so he could stay in the race.

The Dem candidates did a weekend ABC debate in which Richardson turned in a servicable performance and praised candidates of "experience," presumably including Hillary as well as himself. But even if she warmed to him, waiting in the wings is former Sec. of State Madeline Albright, no friend of the Guv and who insiders expect would vigorously fight any move to name him the nation's top diplomat.

If Obama is elected president, he will be presenting an entirely new face and approach to American foreign policy. Would an old-hand like Richardson fit in? Again, competition would be fierce. That 2% showing doesn't give Bill much leverage.

SENATE SPECULATION

Richardson has been near contemptuous of those who suggest he seek the US Senate seat being vacated by Pete Domenici, but the post might not look so beneath him now that he has been handed his first primary defeat and is on the cusp of his second. Rep. Tom Udall, the likely Dem US Senate nominee, was up in Iowa for the caucuses, keeping a close watch on Bill. Don't think he wasn't wondering about what a wounded Richardson could do. Is it unimaginable that the Guv would go for Senate now that Udall is so far into the run? Call it a long-shot, but so was the Guv's presidential run.

Not a few political insiders can be heard saying that Richardson's rejection of a Senate bid may stand as the biggest mistake of his political career. A Senate seat would give him the national profile he yearns for and would keep him from the national political oblivion he is headed for if he ends up empty handed in the job hunting sweepstakes. The filing deadline for the Senate seat is Feb. 12.

GETTING OUT

The Governor is being advised not to prolong the inevitable and risk looking like Harold_Stassen. He can get away with staying the Prez race until the Nevada caucus January 19, giving his candidacy a test-run in a Western state, not that the results are going to be any different there. If he stays in after that, the New Mexican public will start to turn on him, egged on by state R's who will ask why he is continuing a hopeless bid while there is a Legislative session underway.

Bill Richardson has done just about all you can do in political life, and done it well. Now he must do the one thing the political gods demand of all their subjects--learn to lose.

MACHINE CRACKING?
Sen. Adair
There are cracks in the political machine that has kept two of New Mexico's most controversial lawmakers in power. Word comes to us that Rory McMinn, a former NM Public Regulation Commissioner and two term Republican member of the Chaves County Commission, will challenge State Senator "Lightning Rod" Adair for the GOP state senate nomination in the June primary. Adair now joins his chief Chaves county ally, State House Minority Whip Dan Foley, also of Roswell, in facing significant primary opposition. Foley will square off against retired FBI agent Dennis Kintigh.

Foley and Adair have had many controversies and conflicts over the years, but their political skills have kept them in power. But Foley's arrest on disorderly conduct charges--even though the charges were dismissed--seems to have weakened the duo and attracted strong opponents. Those foes will have to be prepared to attack, as Adair and Foley specialize in hard-hitting negative politics. McMinn, 61, and an oil and gas investor, says he is ready for the game.

"Rod Adair thinks he is the czar of Chaves County and he lets any candidate who wants to run think that they have to go through him. I do not like Tammany Hall politics. I despise that type of politics. There's a public service aspect to this that seems to be missing with some of the incumbents here," McMinn told me.

Adair, first elected in '96, and Foley will have to muster all the money and political acumen they can. There is a yearning for change in the strife-torn county and the McMinn and Kintigh candidacies are its harbingers.

MILLER MULLS


Remember Carol Miller? Not very fondly if you are a northern NM Democrat, but fondly if you are NM Green. The 61 year old says she is again thinking about running. She would need to collect nearly 6,000 petition signatures to launch an independent run for the northern NM congressional seat. She did that back in 1997, garnering 17% of the vote and as a result a Republican--Bill Redmond--defeated ethically challenged Democrat Eric Serna. that's the first and only time a Dem has lost the heavily D district.

The seat is now being vacated by Tom Udall who is seeking the Dem nod for US Senate. Could Miller cause the Dems to lose the seat again? Not likely. Rival Dems would like to make front-runner Ben Ray Lujan into another Eric Serna, and are looking at Serna's ties to the younger Lujan who is a member of the NM Public Regulation Commission. But Serna had decades of baggage; the young Lujan, son of the powerful House speaker, has none. But If Miller does launch a third party bid, Republican Marco Gonzales, the likely GOP nominee for the seat, may want to call Bill Redmond for a history lesson.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2008
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