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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Capitol Steps: NM Freshmen In The House In D.C., Plus: Reaction To US Attorney Job Story, And: Washington Insider Blogs of "Long Cold Winter" For GOP 

Here's one of the fist pics of newly minted NM congressmen-elect Ben Ray Lujan and Martin Heinrich. The two Dems were hanging out on the steps of the Capitol Monday with other incoming House freshman and having their class photo taken. Heinrich is in the right corner while Lujan is at top left next to the woman in the yellow dress. Our other freshman, Dem Harry Teague, was also there.

Heinrich has already hired a chief of staff, Steve Haro, 31, who served as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Western Regional Political Director. Insiders say Lujan will bring to his congressional offices several staff members who work for him at the NM Public Regulation Commission. He has not announced a chief of staff pick yet. The new congressmen are attending orientation sessions in D.C. this week.

US ATTORNEY ACTION

We received some good stuff from the legal beagles in reaction to our Tuesday piece on who Obama, in consultation with NM Dem US Senator Bingaman, will select to be the new NM US attorney. All this was sparked over speculation that---Holy abominations!--the current GOP US Attorney could keep the position. ABQ Defense lawyer Ray Twohig was among several making the following point:

(Current GOP US Attorney Greg) Fouratt was appointed by the federal district judges. The US attorney general made the interim US Attorney appointment of Larry Gomez and when his time ran out the judges had the choice under the statute, and named Fouratt. The state's senior senator now has the prerogative, and that's Jeff Bingaman.

And another e-mail on this important plum job from a legal insider close to the action:

"Fouratt ....was never confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee as (Republican) David Iglesias was. He's just Christmas help until the next administration comes in. If he had a hope and a prayer of going in to the next administration, even if it were Republican, he'd have to be recommended by Bingaman, vetted by the transition team, nominated by the President then confirmed by the US Senate like everyone else. With all that happened with the US Attorney Scandal, the Democrats want and need to clean house.."

"Christmas help?" Yeah, that's the La Politica needle at its best, politics fans.

All of this got confusing because of the US Attorney scandal in which David Iglesias was forced out and another nominee was never sent up to the Senate by the White House--the usual course of events. Our interest was also sparked when several newspaper editorials popped up recently urging the new Dem President to retain the current GOP US attorney because he has done a good job prosecuting political corruption cases. Dems are not about to let that happen because in the USA "to the victor, go the spoils." And they should.

WHAT WENT WRONG?

"A long cold winter" faces New Mexico Republicans, says one of our top GOP Alligators in Washington who closely monitors the action here. He weighs in with his deep on the inside take for you on the election that was.

(GOP US Senate candidate Steve) Pearce) lacked funding, messaging and a real campaign team. (Udall) ran a smart campaign, reinvented himself without being adequately called out, had the bucks, the environment and the Obama/Richardson ground operation.

State R's are in complete disarray and I don't see a bench to fix it in the near future. The Obama camp took what we did in 2000 and 2004 and made it better. The McCain camp wouldn't know a get-out-the-vote effort or ground game if it bit em in the ass. It not only hurt hem, but R candidates across country. I'm actually surprised we didn't lose more House seats.

(Southern NM Dem Congressman-elect Harry) Teague will have that district for as long as he wants it, and will be a good Member. ) GOP US House candidate Ed) Tinsley couldn't have run a worse campaign. Bad candidate, bad campaign. (ABQ Dem US Congressman-elect Martin) Heinrich could be vulnerable in 2010 as he'll go wherever (US House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi tells him to go. But see bench comment above, who takes him on?

(ABQ GOP US Rep.) Heather Wilson is done. The games she and her crew played post primary on Pearce were deplorable. A losing primary candidate who works internally to ensure their opponent loses the general election to prove a point will be remembered in any future Republican primary. The only thing she didn't do was publicly endorse Udall.

A long cold winter faces NM Republicans, maybe nationally as well.

Folks, that's the kind of stuff you get only here. It's why this Web site is the undisputed home of New Mexico politics.

KING'S RULE QUESTIONED

Not all are happy with NM Attorney General King's move to force certain political nonprofits to register with the state as political action committees, a story we blogged Tuesday. Charlotte Roybal of Santa Fe says Gary is disappointing her:

"Joe: Now that we have (Dem) Jerome Block Jr on the Public Regulation Commission, I see Gary King as a total opportunist. He did nothing (to stop Block) in his role as AG before the election. As far as I am concerned, he is not doing his job as AG and has NO business running for Governor..I always supported him in the past and will not again.. The old guard ways of Northern NM is not the way we want to elect officials.

King for Governor? He did a poll earlier this year and has run for the top job twice before. He previously told us he is not interested, but circumstances change and so can political minds.

THE BIG DISCONNECT
Rep. Arnold-Jones
Time for the bizarre case of the soon-to-be out-of-power State House minority whip Dan Foley of Roswell. He's trying to excuse Republicans for the state budget crisis by attacking overpsending by Governor Big Bill and the Dems. But didn't Dan and his gang join with the Dems and vote for most of those Big Bill big state budgets that Foley now claims are to blame for the projected $500 million budget shortfall? They sure did.

ABQ GOP State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones tells us she and other R's are hopeful that new GOP House whip Keith Gardner, along with minority leader Taylor, will usher out the blame game era and usher in some constructive conservatism. The new team takes over in January.

MORE ON MAYOR MONEY


Here's more for you 2009 ABQ city election watchers on the complicated money rules for the mayor and council races. We will have continuing coverage right here...

THE BOTTOM LINES

It was an interesting piece that story we put in our Tuesday bottom lines about the abandoned town of Kingston in southern NM. But the mining outpost was not the largest town in the state in its heyday in 1890, as the article said. That word from Inez Russell of the Santa Fe New Mexican who forwards this research Anselmo Arrellano:

"By 1890, San Miguel County was the largest and most populous county in the New Mexico Territory. Extending from the eastern flank of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the Texas Panhandle border on the east, the county boasted 24,204 of the state's 153,593 residents. Las Vegas was the largest city in New Mexico, followed by Santa Fe and Albuquerque..."


She's right. The mining boom made San Miguel a wild and busy frontier town. The politics over there are still that way.....We've never seen "Gordon" spelled G-o-r-d-E-n. But that's how NM US Marshall Gorden Eden spells his name. Former ABQ Journal editorial page editor Bill Hume says he was often tripped up by the spelling as we were when we blogged about a potential successor to Republican Eden who will be headed toward the exits now that a Dem prez has been elected. I hope he or she has an easier name to spell....

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2008
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