Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Dem Head Claimed In Aftermath Of Chaotic Caucus: Party Executive Director Is Out, Plus: Special Session Talk, And: Tribune Will Close Saturday
After a train wreck the scale of this month's NM Democratic Presidential Caucus, someone's head had to roll, and it has. Attorney Laura Sanchez resigned Tuesday as executive director of the party and Dem Chairman Brian Colòn immediately named Big Bill political operative Josh Geise as the new ED. Whether Geise will be able to help Colòn steady the ship remains to be seen, but the mob's thirst for retribution will likely be satisfied, leaving Colòn in place to finish out his term. Former State Rep. Michael Olguin, who lost the chairmanship contest to Colòn last April, nor any other prominent Dems, are calling for Colòn's head. After all, who wants the job in light of recent events?
Sanchez deflected rumors of her resignation in the aftermath of the botched caucus, but those rumors turned out to be all too true for the Deming native who was only on the party payroll about six months. She may be relieved to go. Insiders say she had been shut out from party decisions in recent days. Sanchez had to be lobbied to take the job in the first place. But there is no escaping that she and Colon were at the helm during one of the party's most disappointing chapters.
Geise was named "interim" director but last night Colòn indicated Geise will be helping him guide the party through the November election. "I am glad to have him. His experience as the party's coordinated campaign director in 2006 is especially valuable." Said Colon who added that Geise has already started his new job.
Geise has plenty of political experience, including stints on the staff of an Indiana congressman and in the '04 Prez campaign of Joe Lieberman. He most recently served as the early states director for Richardson's' presidential campaign. Before that he was on the staff of the "Victory Group," the political consulting division of Big Bill favored lobbyist Butch Maki.
THE GEISE FILE
While Geise is no novice and should provide a steady hand, he has had his share of losses. In 2002, he managed the unsuccessful ABQ congressional campaign of Richard Romero. And it was the early states--Iowa and New Hampshire--that delivered devastating blows to Bill's Prez effort as Geise served as early states director.
The thirtysomething Geise is credited with bringing home a crucial election win last year for the spaceport tax in Dona Ana county. In 'o6, when he served as head of the coordinated campaign, Big Bill secured an historic 69% gubernatorial re-election win.
Colon and Geise will be glad to leave behind the botched caucus, but they and their party face a new and historic challenge in 2008 as they contest three open US House seats and an open US Senate seat. If they thought party performance was watched closely during the caucus, they ain't seen nothin' yet.
Big Bill has one thing going for him--oil prices back near $100 a barrel and natural gas prices that continue to soar. Those are two huge income drivers for state government and despite repeated warnings from conservative state senators that the state's economic sky is about to fall, it isn't going to happen until these energy prices peak and/or we spend ourselves silly. Of course, a slow economy or recession could slow the collection of other taxes, offsetting the energy levies.
While Richardson could have some luck overcoming the money argument as he weighs a special legislative session for his health care reform package, another significant obstacle is the element of his program that makes health insurance mandatory. If he can make the case that the money is there and compromise on the mandatory aspect, he might get somewhere. The buzz around the Capitol is that the Guv could announce this week when and if he plans to call a special.
RED LIGHT RUNNERS
Are red light runners and the big brother cameras tracking them in ABQ really worth all the attention they are getting when we have armed robbery stats like this? Is the fixation on the cameras hiding the fact that the Duke City has a long-standing serious crime problem that demands priority attention? We're just asking, but we hope those seeking the mayor's job next year are listening.
Late Breaking: Mayor Chavez is resuming the red light camera program.
THE TRIB'S FATE
LATE BREAKING: THE TRIBUNE WILL PRINT ITS FINAL EDITION THIS SATURDAY
They're not letting the ABQ Tribune die in peace as seen by this latest desperate effort to breathe new life into the afternoon daily. This latest plan speaks of canceling the print edition and making the Trib an on-line newspaper.
The Justice Department continues to look at the plan by Trib owner E.W. Scripps and the owners of the ABQ Journal to end publication of the jointly owned Tribune, but continue a business partnership that has Scripps getting 40% of the Journal's profits.
By the way, Tom Carroll, president of the DW Turner public relations firm that also tried to put together an offer for the Trib, has left the company. Company owner Doug Turner says the departure was amiable and that Carroll wanted to go out on his own. Carroll is well-known in NM political circles, having worked for ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez as well as serving a short stint as executive director of the NM GOP.
This is a rare photo we thought you would enjoy. It's a pic from the Rio Grande Sun of legendary Rio Arriba County Democratic political boss Emilio Naranjo. The 91 year old former state senator is shown casting his ballot at the February 5th NM Dem Prez caucus. Naranjo was dethroned as boss in the 90's, but he was with the winner this time. He said he voted for Hillary who carried the state and Rio Arriba.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2008
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