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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Pat Rogers Makes Play For Top GOP Post; US Attorney Scandal An Issue, Plus: MoveOn Mocks McCain, And: Joe Carraro Makes Some Noise 

Pat Rogers
Eyebrows are being raised in some GOP quarters at the notion that a key player in the US Attorney scandal, ABQ attorney Pat Rogers, could wind up in the prestigious position of New Mexico Republican National Committeeman. Insiders say former State Rep. and businessman George Buffett will not seek re-election to the post when the party meets in June and that Rogers is currently the only candidate.

Rogers, a shareholder with the well-known Modrall law firm in ABQ, has a long involvement with GOP politics, including his association with ABQ attorney/lobbyist Mickey Barnett. Both men traveled to Washington in '06 to meet with a top Bush Administration official in an effort to get rid of US Attorney David Iglesias. Iglesias said they wanted him out because he wasn't bringing voter fraud cases against Democrats. Iglesias says there was no evidence of such fraud. His eventual firing was part of the epic US attorney scandal.

Rogers is a noted election expert who has often contracted with the state GOP to handle court cases. Barnett has been controversial for primarying fellow Republicans in 2004. His critics also maintain that Barnett continues to exert considerable influence for lobbying clients through a number of GOP legislators and fellow lobbyists. In opposing Rogers, they say they want someone in the committeeman's post who is a "true volunteer," not someone who makes money from the party or advances Barnett's influence.

The names of a couple of other potential committeeman candidates are circulating, but nothing firm yet.

MOVING ON MCCAIN

A hard hitting ad from MoveOn.org is getting the attention of NM GOP Chairman Allen Weh who decried it as a distortion of John McCain's statements. The ad is airing here and other states and will be one of many this election year financed by third party groups who want in on the action. Says Weh: "(McCain) clearly did not mean that we're going to be fighting combat operations (in Iraq) for 100 years. That isn't what he said. I think it's absolutely disingenuous."

We have news, Mr. Chairman. The American people are telling the pollsters and politicans they don't want to be in Iraq for 100 years under any conditions--whether combat or "peacetime." That's why this ad seems likely to draw blood. Take a look.


CARRARO SURFACES

ABQ GOP congressional contender Joe Carraro doesn't have a lot of campaign cash, but what he does have he is putting to use. TV insiders confirm that Carraro went on the air Wednesday with a small one week buy of under $10,000. The thirty second spot touts Carraro's service as a state senator and questions the crime-fighting effectiveness of his GOP rival, Bernalillo County Sherriff Darren White. White is not yet up on TV, but is expected to be sometime this month. Here's Joe's spot:

video

Meantime, in the ABQ West Side State Senate district that Carraro represents, GOP candidate David Pyne came with confirmation of our Tuesday exclusive that he is getting out of the race, leaving Republican Sander Rue as the only candidate--either Dem or R--in the race. Friends of Pyne say the attorney is taking a job in Utah. Rue can start studying the state budget.

UNION MUSCLE

Candidates in a Democratic primary scramble for the endorsement of the big public employee union--AFSCME. Many of its 12,000 NM members are voters and the union can offer campaign manpower. Here are some contenders they recently backed:

Albuquerque Metropolitan Court Judge Benjamin Chavez for District Court Judge in Bernalillo County. AFSCME has also endorsed Judge Elizabeth Whitefield and Judge Clyde DeMersseman in their respective races.

In the Congressional races AFSCME has endorsed Martin Heinrich for CD1, Bill McCamley for CD2, Ben Ray Lujan for CD3, and Tom Udall for Senate. In Bernalillo County, Teresa Cordova for Commission District 2, Deanna Archuleta for Commission District 3, Maggie Toulouse Oliver for County Clerk, and Patrick Padilla for County Treasurer.

AFSCME says 4,000 of its members are in Bernalillo County.

GUNS FOR FOLEY

State House GOP Minority Whip Dan Foley has a primary fight on his hands in Roswell that has him working. Foley, facing off with retired FBI agent Dennish Kintigh, has come with an endorsement from the National Rifle Association. "I'm proud to receive the A+ candidate rating from the NRA. This high rating is an honor to receive." Said Foley.

ADAIR FOR HEATHER

Foley political ally, Roswell State Senator Lightning" Rod Adair continues to work it hard for GOP US Senate candidate Heather Wilson. Adair and State Rep. Keith Gardner are among those hosting Heather at a $500 a person at a Friday lunch at the Cattle Baron in Roswell.

DYSON ON THE SENATE

KOB-TV's Stuart Dyson is back on the campaign trail, so you know the campaign is entering the critical phase. We talked with him about the latest TV spot from GOP US Senate candidate Steve Pearce and how, of all things, he calls rival Heather Wilson a "liberal." Fun stuff to watch.

TAYLOR'S TRAVELS

That Dem State Senate battle between ABQ South Valley incumbent James Taylor and challenger Eric Griego is a pace setter. Taylor's campaign says he is on the door-knocking circuit in the Valley and also has visited Chilili, Bosque Farms, Meadowlake, Armijo, Pajarito and Kirtland. Griego seems to have a different event every day and is also knocking on doors. He had a "Healthy Communities" fund-raiser on Wednesday.

E-mail your news, comments and observations. This is the home of the exclusives.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2008
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