Friday, December 12, 2008

No Delay For GOP Chair Election; Weh Cancels Meet Over Rule Change, Plus: Big Bill Rebuts Regent Gallagher Email; Calls Most Of It "Fiction" 

Pearce, Weh & McCulloch
Post-election upheaval continues in the ranks of the NM GOP with Chairman Allen Weh backtracking and canceling a planned Saturday meeting of the GOP Central Committee at which he was planning to ask that the January 10 election of a new chair be delayed for up to a month. Weh's proposal was met with a firestorm of criticism, including from outgoing Congressman Steve Pearce and Farmington doctor Allen McCulloch, who could end up being the two major chair candidates.

McCulloch said a delay would risk continuing "the old 'let's fight each other' attitude." McCulloch, who was the GOP's 2006 US senate nominee, also cited the upcoming legislative session, which starts Jan. 20, as good reason for keeping the election on January 10.

In his notice canceling the meeting, the GOP said: "The Chairman was contacted by several members, many of whom were supportive of his efforts and the proposed rule change, to express their concern for having a meeting at an inconvenient date such as this, and he opted to defer to their wishes."

There was speculation that Weh was moving for the delay so more opposition to Pearce would surface, but not all agree. One Central Committee member e-mails:

The delay had nothing to do with who is to be elected as the new chairman. It has everything to do with Weh’s desire to influence what happens at the next Republican National Committee meeting which will happen after Jan, 10th and before the middle of Feb.

Weh argued he was asking for the delay because the chair campaign now coincides with the holidays and would be too rushed. He said his support to move the election to early January two years ago was a mistake.

Meantime, 36 year old Isaac Chavez of Dona Ana County says he will run for the party's vice-chair slot which is up for election along with party chair. He says the GOP needs more Hispanic representation if it is going to turn itself around. Chavez is in real estate. He ran for a seat in the Legislature against Dem Andy Nunez.

John Padoven, who served briefly in the NM Legislature in the 70's, is back in town and has been indicating he will run for party chair. Outgoing state Senator Diane Snyder has been mentioned as another potential contender, but clearly Pearce and McCulloch are the two major possibles. McCulloch has filed party paperwork making his candidacy official. Some of his supporters have said Allen could get out if Steve gets in. Steve is expected to get in.


NM Oil and Gas Association president Bob Gallagher has got it all wrong on why he was ousted as a regent at NM State University, says the Guv's office. In reaction to Gallagher's e-mail to energy industry types and blogged about here on Thursday, the Guv's office hit back hard, saying a recent Richardson-Gallagher meeting was tense, but not laced with profanity as Gallagher charged. Guv spokesman Gilbert Gallegos leads the counterattack pack on this one:

Gallagher is tailoring his...mostly fictional version--of the meeting so that it puts him in a favorable light with his employer, the oil and gas industry...Gallagher requested the meeting...not the other way around. Gallagher was waging a campaign to keep his seat on the Regents...Unrelated to the regent issue, the Governor did question Gallagher’s recent attacks...against the Administration’s handling of oil and gas industry regulations meant to protect the environment. The Governor raised the issue because...it was Gallagher who worked with the state to forge a compromise rule for oil pits. After that very public process, Gallagher changed his tune and went on the attack...

It was after that discussion,..certainly not profanity-laced, contrary to Gallagher’s crude characterizations, that Gallagher pled for the Governor to allow him to keep his (Regents) seat...He even vowed to tone down his public remarks regarding oil and gas...The Governor informed him...he had decided to give somebody else an opportunity...The Governor also informed Gallagher that he was not happy with the way Gallagher handled the (NMSU) presidential search process.

The Governor...made it clear to Gallagher that his decision was not contingent on Gallagher changing his tone (on oil and gas) in exchange for retaining his regent position...The Governor encouraged Gallagher to “do what you feel you have to do” on behalf of his oil and gas clients, but that it would not change the Governor’s position on either responsible protections for the environment or the regent decision.

Dr. Estevan Rael-Galvez
Our recent foray into the byzantine history of the New Mexico lieutenant governorship brought a number of comments. It's the case of how many Light Guv's went on to become NM Governor. New Mexico State Historian Dr. Estevan Rael-Galvez is one of those weighing in. Take it away, Doc:

...Regarding a Lt. Governor succeeding to the office of the Governor, I was sent the following posting made on December 2, 2008.


“We've long thought that no NM lieutenant governor has succeeded in becoming governor for the term following the governor he served under. But syndicated columnist Jay Miller recently wrote that Ezequiel C. de Baca served as the state's first lieutenant governor in 1912 and in 1916 was elected Governor. However, he died, in 1917, only six weeks after being sworn in. The history books confirm the story. It's true that C de Baca was the only Lt. Governor in state history to pull off the feat, although others have tried. Diane Denish could become the second if she gets to finish out Bill's term and is elected in her own right in 2010”

I write to add to the ongoing discussion and perhaps correct the history books you cite. After Lt. Governor Ezequiel C. de Baca became Governor in 1916, his sitting Lt. Governor Washington E. Lindsey became the next Governor after Baca’s death in 1917 and served as Governor, 1917-1918.

Later on Andrew W. Hockenhull served as Lt. Governor under Arthur Seligman from 1931-1933 and served as Governor from 1933-1934. Tom Bolack served as Lt. Governor under Edwin L. Mechem from 1961-1962 and served as Governor in 1962. This information was gleaned from the Secretary of State’s New Mexico Blue Book 2007-2008 Secretary of State.

Based on the preceding, Lt. Governor Diane Denish will be the 5th Lt. Governor to succeed to the Guv's office as a sitting Lt. Governor though she will still hold the distinction as first woman governor of New Mexico.

OK. So that is a list of all the Light Guv's who went on to the top office. But how many NM lieutenant governors were successful in getting elected governor immediately after serving under their governor? That was our original point. Excluding Light Guv's who became governor thru death or vacancy, it appears C de Baca is the only one to do so and Diane Denish would indeed be the second if she were to be elected in 2010.

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