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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Latest Prez Action: Hill Hits Tube; NM Black Leaders Back Barack, Plus: Big Election Reform Bill Stumbles At Roundhouse, And: Our Bottom Lines 

TV insiders say Hillary Clinton will join Barack Obama on the New Mexico TV airwaves beginning today and it will be game on for the February 5th NM Dem Presidential caucus. Obama already has a health care ad running. We are told his next one will be aimed at young Dems, a group he has had success with in other early primary states. Obama operatives also say he plans to add to his field operation here and use direct mail and phone banks to move the vote.

Hillary is not going to have as an extensive field operation as Barack, but she will make a NM visit before the February 5th voting. An announcement is expected soon. The AP initially reported (and we blogged) that she would be here no later than today. Clinton's campaign later said that is not the case. However, spokeswoman Kristin Lee, fresh on the scene from the Nevada caucuses, also did not rule out a visit by President Clinton. If Hill and Bill do double-team us with two separate visits, they will get a boatload of free media. Obama is also expected to stop here.

There's more campaign news. Two of the state's most prominent African-American politicos, State Treasurer James Lewis and the state's first African-American state legislator, Lenton Malry, are both supporting Obama. Malry told me he wants Obama to aggressively court the Hispanic vote here. The campaign will announce some endorsement news this afternoon, and word is Malry may get his wish.

Insiders tell us that Ed Romero, who headed up Big Bill's financial team for his now ended Prez run, was spotted in Nevada last Friday morning having breakfast with other political heavies that just happened to include Hillary Clinton, President Clinton and daughter Chelsea. Romero is a former US ambassador to Spain. He is now raising money for Hill.

Laura Sanchez, executive director of the NM Democratic Party, informs that the NM caucus will cost the party about $250,000 to $300,000. The party is having fundraisers to pay the bill.

Here is a list of voting places for the Feb. 5th election at which 26 national Dem delegates are at stake. Polls will be open from noon until 7 p.m. Only registered Dems can vote.

TWENTY PER CENT OR BUST


If you're one of the many candidates for the US Congress in New Mexico this year our best advice is that you get to work on snaring 20% of the delegates to your party's March 15h pre-primary convention. It is looking less likely that the Legislature will pass a bill that would easily allow candidates who are denied a spot on the June ballot at the pre-primary to get on the ballot by collecting additional petition signatures. The AP reports on a measure sponsored by State Rep. Jose Campos, chair of House Voters and Elections. The money line comes from Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, who talks about delaying action for another year.

Campos' bill says candidates may start gathering the signatures only after the (pre-primary) convention, and must turn them in to the secretary of state within 20 days. "I'm not going to go along with that," the Senate's Sanchez said in an interview. He said that in the interest of fairness the law should be restored to what it was before the change, "and if we need to work on it more, we can do it in the 60-day session" next year.

Next year? But it is this year when all three NM US House seats are open and a bunch of non-incumbents are scrambling to get on the ballot. Next year won't matter. House Speaker Lujan who is guiding the northern Dem congressional candidacy of his son, Ben Ray Lujan, isn't crying in his bottled water over Sanchez's statement. "Next year" is just fine with him.

GOING HOLLYWOOD

They can argue whether the state is offering too many financial incentives to attract Hollywood to New Mexico, but it's hard to argue with the results. From the Guv:

SANTA FE- Governor Richardson applauded the announcement that four movies filmed in New Mexico have received a total of 14 Academy Award nominations... The films include Best Picture nominee “No Country for Old Men” which tied for the lead with eight nominations. “These nominations highlight the quality of the projects we are attracting to New Mexico..We can say with proven certainty that New Mexico is a world-class film destination.”

Richardson says since he took office, 90 major feature film and television projects have been shot in New Mexico. The Legislature decided this year not to cap the financial incentives offered to Hollywood.

LYNDA AND JOSHUA


We told you recently how the news that State Senator Lynda Lovejoy would have a Democratic primary foe flew under our radar. We asked the Alligators for help and they gave us some. Lovejoy is being challenged by Sandoval County Commissioner Joshua Madalena, a member of the Jemez Pueblo who was just selected as county commission chairman. Lovejoy. the first Native American woman to serve in the Senate, was appointed by the Guv in early 2007 to fill out the term of Leonard Tsosie who resigned to take a seat on the Navajo Nation Council. Joshua Madalena is a cousin of State Rep. James Roger Madalena. Lovejoy was also once a state House member as well as a Public Regulation Commissioner. Because of her long track record, she enters the Dist. 22 primary race as the favorite for the Indian Country seat, but we are putting this one on our watch list.

THE BOTTOM LINES

He spent it all. Big Bill's Prez campaign has a debt. $22 million isn't what it used to be...

I was just scanning my January 21st blog where we gave Roswell State Rep. Dan Foley a promotion to House Minority Leader. He is the minority whip. Tom Taylor is the GOP leader...

And the quote of the day comes from another Roswell area lawmaker, Rep. Keith Gardner, who told Chaves county constituents visiting the Roundhouse: "Normal people in Santa Fe is a rarity."

Of course, Roswell is an oasis of normalcy, even if half the economy there is based on a belief in UFO's and space aliens. In New Mexico, "normal people" may be the ultimate oxymoron.

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