Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's Special Session Or Bust For Big Bill; Rules Out Delay, Plus: Nastiness In The North, And: Our Bottom Lines For a New Mexico Thursday 

It's Special Session or bust for Big Bill, a decision not without its share of political peril. The NM Governor Wednesday rejected political scuttlebutt that he would decide against a special because his health care reform plan is still opposed by key state senators.

"There will be a special session. There's no question about that," Bill told reporters.

The Guv will meet with senate leaders today to discuss details of a special, but he is indicating he has not lost contact with political reality and will try to cut a deal on health care before calling lawmakers back to Santa Fe. He said he he hopes to establish "working groups" of lawmakers to try to resolve disagreements over health care.

Those working groups will take time, so don't look for a special in the next week or two. Capitol chatter still points to a June special, following the primary election. That would give legislators a chance to campaign. All 112 legislative seats are up for election this year.

These "working groups" could be interesting to watch. Unless they come up with a working plan, Bill will still be faced with the spectacle of a special session where the senate meets and then immediately adjourns.

This is a governor who has extracted much from the Legislature, but this may be his biggest challenge yet. Even many Dems question why he is pushing so hard when the Dem presidential candidates have made health care a focus and promise, if elected, they will work for a national solution. Bill says the uninsured can't wait that long for a solution.

Does Richardson win and get a substantive health care plan, or does he settle for a fig leaf at a special and take it up again at the regular '09 session? Or does he fight tooth and nail at the special and walk away a loser, shrinking his governorship for its final two and half years? One of those outcomes will be the subject of a future blog. We just don't know when.


It's not everyday you see this kind of gubernatorial power exercised, but it was necessary.

Governor Richardson has ordered state police to block access to a high-stakes bingo parlor built in southern New Mexico by Oklahoma's Fort Sill Apache Tribe. Richardson says he was forced to take action after receiving no assurances from the federal government that it would either approve or reject the tribe's plans for a gaming operation at the site.


ABQ Mayor Marty travels to Santa Fe today to beseech Big Bill to save the red light camera program from the legislative axe. Remember, Marty. Bill is the Guv. That's the guy elected by all the people of the state. You are the mayor, elected by the people of one city. Just a negotiating tip that we thought might come in handy.


It's getting nasty in the north. Since we broke the news that Dem congressional contender Jon Adams has filed a court challenge over the nominating petitions for Dem rival Don Wiviott, the rhetoric has notched up. Said former assistant attorney general Adams in a news release:

Lawyers for Wiviott have been calling Adams "almost nonstop", and they have been repeatedly threatening to subpoena and depose Adams, even though all the information about the signatures is in the lawsuit, and Adams' signatures are not in issue. This is about the integrity of the process, and we should let the courts decide it, win or lose, without the tactics of harassment and intimidation."

Wiviott's camp hits back calling the 33 year old Adams "a fringe candidate."

He's a fringe candidate throwing around bizarre and baseless charges. We are confident we have sufficient signatures. We will follow the process."

Relishing all this from the sidelines is Dem frontrunner Ben Ray Lujan and Santa Fe County Commissioner Harry Montoya, as well as other northern hopefuls. A court decision on Adams' challenge is now expected by March 7th. Wiviott has filed a motion to dismiss Adams' complaint.


Readers let us know we didn't do a very good job Wednesday of describing our turnout analysis for the Dem primary in the Southern congressional district. They were right.

The main point is that Dona Ana County has the lowest per capita turnout of any county in the state in primary and general elections. Dona Ana County Commissioner Bill McCamley is probably not going to get a big bounce out of there in his race against Harry Teague. Teague is from Lea County and is expected to perform well there and in the other "oil" counties of Eddy and Chaves. In fact, even though those three counties have about 35,000 registered Dems and Dona Ana has 47,000, historically, considerably more votes are cast in the three SE counties than Dona Ana.

As for the Teague campaign lowering expectations for the March 15th preprimary convention where ballot positions for the June 3 primary will be awarded, we turn to the mailbag where one of our Alligators weighs in.

"I was expecting Teague to dominate the convention, and his contention that McCamley had been in the race longer is not a significant enough factor to account for Teague losing the nominating convention. Even with the lowering of expectations, I think a loss by Teague will bolster McCamley and make him far more viable in the primary than I would have considered him before..."

Agreed. Teague, because of his superior financial resources, remains the frontrunner for the June 3rd primary, but a preprimary convention win by McCamley would give him an opportunity to recast the race, but he will still need funds to do it. The Teague camp says they also expect to place second at the preprimay because convention delegates tend to be "liberal activists" more supportive of McCamley.


Scroll down to Monday's blog for details on our College Challenge. A $500 first prize is being offered and a $150.00 second prize. Here's a report on it from the NMSU student newspaper, the Round-up.

Sander Rue
That ABQ West side state senate seat being vacated by Joe Carraro who is running for the ABQ congressional seat drew another R hopeful this week. Sander Rue, 54, who has twice run unsuccessfully or the ABQ city council, hopes he can change his political luck and win the GOP nomination for the senate chair. Already campaigning for the GOP nod is attorney David Pyne.

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