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Friday, March 28, 2008

State Senator Freezes Out Newspaper, Plus: Free Rides Abound; 51 Legislators Unopposed, And: Homans Back In Bill's Embrace 

Sen. Adair
Besides being in one of the hottest primary races of the year, GOP State Senator "Lightning" Rod Adair is hot under the collar about the treatment he's received from his hometown newspaper--the Roswell Daily Record. In fact, Rod is so hot he is letting the paper cool its heels. In a letter to constituents, Adair writes:

...I know that whatever I do as your state senator will not be accurately reported in the Roswell Daily Record, but in fact will be grossly distorted....After much prayer and reflection, I have concluded it would in fact be a disservice to you to continue to do interviews with a medium that admits it will deliberately misrepresent the truth and provide distorted stories without warning you of its bias,. Accordingly, I have made the decision to refuse interviews or take calls form the Roswell Daily Record. (Full PDF is here.)

Adair has not spoken with the paper for six weeks. He is especially upset over the paper's coverage of a lawsuit that was filed against him by the American Civil Liberties Union and which eventually Adair won. But the bad blood seems to have become worse when the widow of Cory Beck, Dana Beck, took over as publisher of the paper after Cory's December 2006 death. The paper maintains its coverage has been fair.

Adair, a longtime GOP power in Chaves County, is facing his stiffest primary challenge yet. He is opposed by former Chaves County Commissioner Rory McMinn. It's not unheard of to have politicos refuse to talk to news outlets that they feel are hitting them too hard--former ABQ Mayor Saavedra often refused to speak to the ABQ Journal--but most of them eventually miss seeing their names in the paper and relent.

With Adair stiff-arming the press and McMinn getting ready to unload, Roswell is home to a race that can't be missed.

THE COMFORT ZONE

The Adair-McMinn face-off is the exception, not the rule of Legislative Campaign '08. It just keeps getting more comfortable--perhaps too comfortable--to be one of the 112 members of the NM Legislature.

Fifty-one legislators—33 in the House and 18 in the Senate—have no primary or general election opposition...Those legislators represent almost half of the 105 races in which an incumbent will be on the ballot. (AP)

Twenty-eight of the free riders are D's; 23 are R's. Many other legislators have only token opposition. No wonder not one state lawmaker took a risk and decided to seek one of the three open congressional seats this year. They are becoming a risk averse bunch. Do you think the redistricting following the 2010 census will give us more swing districts and therefore more competitive elections? Not when it's the legislators themselves who control the redistricting. It is fear at the ballot box that keeps politicos on the straight and narrow and it is no fear that leads to trouble.

BILL'S EMBRACE

Ah, the warm embrace of Big Bill. Dozens of journalists have felt it and gone to work in Bill's bureaucracy. Now, one of the original Friends of Bill is back in the fold and getting another bear hug. Rick Homans, former Economic Development Department secretary as well as onetime director of the Spaceport Authority, has been named Taxation and Revenue secretary, replacing Jan Goodwin who moves over to the NM Educational Retirement Board as its executive director. Rick left state government for a business venture that didn't pan out. In 2001, he ran for mayor of ABQ and more recently flirted with a run for the ABQ congressional seat. But it is by Bill's side where he is most comfortable. Maybe they can have cigars together on Friday afternoons. As for Goodwin, she gets high grades for her performance at tax and rev, but will have to make do in her new gig. The boys are back in town.

CARVILLE STILL SLASHING

Longtime Clinton political associate James Carville won't let it go. The Ragin' Cajun was back blasting Big Bill for his endorsement of Obama, telling Larry King Thursday night that Richardson was guilty of "misrepresentations" in his endorsement intentions and should apologize to the Clinton gang.

No question that Bill looked pretty political for backing Obama over the wife of his old boss, but he's not the only guy who worked for the Clintons who is now backing Obama. Carville made his point when he went over the top and dubbed Richardson "Judas" when the endorsement news first broke. Now, Carville, and by association the Clintons, risk looking pathological. There's also the question of Carville's standing. He's a bright guy, but is without portfolio. He makes big bucks consulting overseas, but has never held a government position or even been elected to the local school board. His last big win stateside was the '92 Clinton campaign.

Hillary unleashed her fury on the Guv when he called to tell her of his endorsement decision, and Richardson took his medicine. It seems likely that Hill got Richardson out of her system with that call and the good chuckle she had when Carville made his Judas reference. It's hard to believe she is encouraging Carville to continue his Richardson bashing. If the attack dog has indeed broken his leash, someone might want to call the pound. And if that doesn't work, the guys in the white coats.

THE BOTTOM LINES

It is Eleanor Chavez, not Eleanor Sanchez, running for the Dem nomination against incumbent ABQ West Side State Rep. Dan Silva. She is a longtime community activist and the director for the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees in NM. I got Eleanor mixed up yesterday with Eleanor Sanchez, a raven-haired beauty who worked for years and years as a top aide to the ABQ city council. The last I heard that Eleanor was working at UNM....

Thanks to the NM Bankers Association for their recent hospitality when I keynoted one of their convention days. And a shout-out to the UNM students in political consultant Dan Gutierrez's sophomore poly sci class. We had a good time dishing La Politica with them Thursday, even if I did end up with a $20 parking ticket. If that doesn't make you feel right at home at UNM, nothing will....

A tip of the hat to photog Mark Bralley for assistance this week.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2008
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