Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Weh Says Improbable Is Possible; Forms 2010 Guv Committee; The News & Analysis, Plus: Anonymous Sources: We Stand Behind Ours & Answer The Critics
Allen Weh wants New Mexico Republicans to "Think Different" when it comes to his possible candidacy for the 2010 GOP Guv nomination announced at a Wednesday news conference. That's not a bad idea because if R's don't think differently about Weh's tenure as chairman of their party they could get recurring nightmares. The R's suffered one of their worst defeats in modern history in 2008 with Weh at the helm. Not that Weh deserves all the blame. The party was bitterly divided when he took over the chairmanship from ousted Ramsay Gorham in 2004, but under him it did remain a house divided. His challenge--and it's a big one--is to convince R's to look at his impressive military and business resume, and leave thoughts of the '08 disaster behind. Weh's "Think Different" slogan sold a lot of computers for Apple. We'll see if it works on the campaign trail. (That's kind of a hip slogan for a straight-laced Republican. Did Weh's Apple loving grandkids give him the idea?)
Wednesday Weh, 66, joined ABQ financial advisor Greg Zanetti in forming an exploratory committee for governor (Audio from radio's St. Cyr here). Zanetti has also been emphasizing his military background as a Brigadier General who served at Guantanamo Bay, but Weh, a Colonel in the Marine Corp Reserve, is a combat veteran with two tours in Vietnam, was awarded three purple Hearts, the Silver Star, served in the Persian Gulf War and came back and did a stint in Iraq. And those are only the highlights. If R's were to vote on military records alone, Weh might sprint away.
THE RACE TODAY
Zanetti has the support of longtime R power player Mickey Barnett and others familiar with the game. He does not carry the political baggage Weh does, not having been directly entangled in the internecine warfare that has wracked the party in recent years. But does he have wallet power? Weh could overpower Zanetti in that regard. He has earned significant money from his CSI Aviation which was awarded large federal contracts with the help of former ABQ GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson. If Weh is willing to put his own dollars to work it could help overcome the high negatives he's developed in a significant segment of the party. But relationships in a small turnout primary remain paramount and Weh has much fence-mending to do.
And will it just be Zanetti and Weh for the prize? What about Heather, or even former Southern Congressman Steve Pearce? Weh is an effective fund-raiser and is closely tied to Heather. His entry is being spun two ways by the Alligators. Theory one says Wilson has abandoned any intention to run for governor, knowing the state is deep blue and chances of victory are slim, even with corruption scandals brewing. Theory number two is that Weh could be a place holder for Wilson. He stays in the race and keeps support from falling to Zanetti. In the fall, he gets out and Heather gets in. If we get a three way race with Heather, Zanetti and Weh, pollster Brian Sanderoff says Wilson could have an easy time of it as the two men carve up the right wing vote and Heather takes the middle. She lost a one-on-one US Senate primary last year to conservative Pearce. If you're really Machiavellian, you speculate that Allen is prepared to stay in the fight, beat up on Zanetti, but ultimately take a fall for Heather. Yes, that is genetically conspiratorial.
Among those on hand for the Weh announcement was former ABQ GOP Congressman ('69 to '89) and US Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan (our old boss). Lujan still has ties to the centrists in the state GOP--especially in ABQ--and Weh is hoping to make a play for that vote, despite his conservative bearing.
Despite getting shellacked in the US Senate race last year by Dem Tom Udall, Pearce has the kind of profile that could be dangerous for the Dems. He has appeal among Hispanic men and has a nice base in the south. But Pearce may miss D.C. and be more prone to take on Dem Rep. Harry Teague in 2010, rather than mount a difficult Guv challenge.
Remaining in the shadows is Republican and UNM Regent Jack Fortner of Farmington who made some early noise, but who has been quiet of late. And there is always the long-shot chance of a wealthy independent businessman getting in the deal. ABQ GOP State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones is also mentioned in political circles as a possible player, but the smart money says she won't risk her legislative seat to make a run.
THE CORRUPTION ISSUE
Weh cited the corruption scandals as a key issue for the 2010 race. He maintained he could appeal to Democrats and indys, although he had limited success at that when he was GOP chair. He decried the "incompetence" in government as well and at his announcement surrounded himself with some prominent businessmen and women.
“I'm taking a long hard look at this race because I believe we need to clean up the corruption in Santa Fe,” said Weh. “We need to save jobs and make jobs, and move New Mexico in a better direction.”
But the AP got off a question at the news conference about that pesky US Attorney scandal that bedeviled NM R's last cycle. Weh held his ground and declared he was justified in working to oust US Attorney Iglesias, but it was a reminder that the corruption issue cuts both ways.
No matter who gets in the GOP race or who wins, NM Democratic Party chairman Brian Colon knows his team has a big lead going in, and the chairman was anything but bashful in going after his former counterpart when he learned he would attempt a run. He said:
Weh's tenure as head of the Republican Party consisted of intense infighting, contested and nasty primaries, and catastrophic loses. Why should New Mexican's think he'll do any better in the Roundhouse? Once again it appears we will see the circular firing squad that is the Republican Party of New Mexico at work during the 2010 primary.
That's some clever political rhetoric. With the state's congressional delegation under their complete control, their legislative dominance unquestioned, President Obama highly popular and with Dem Lt. Governor Denish--the only Dem currently in the Guv race--sitting pretty with about $2 million in the bank, Colon and Company aren't just ready for the next battle, they appear to be relishing the prospect. Federal grand juries? FBI probes? Don't you worry your pretty heads about that, New Mexico Dems, says your confident chairman.
Allen Weh has a rocky primary road ahead of him and even more potholes to sidestep if he were to be the GOP nominee, but the first part of winning is showing up on the battlefield. Weh is marching in that direction.
Weh is 66 and would be 67 if he won the Guv nod. That's the oldest Guv nominee our state's major parties would have in decades--maybe ever. Light Guv Denish is 60 and would be 61 if she won the Dem nomination. Increased life-spans and improved medical care have made age less of an issue.
But get this. While writing the above a campaign consultant for Greg Zanetti e-mailed info we had requested. He tells us that today (Wednesday) is Greg's 51st birthday. We can just hear Allen Weh saying: "I've got ties older than that guy..."
Happy Birthday, Greg. You might want to take some of those candles off your cake and start learning how to burn them at both ends. It's a long campaign.
THEY DID WHAT!?
David Alire Garcia
Oh no! An anonymous source is quoted in the Wall Street Journal, America's #2 daily circulation newspaper. Someone call the NM blogosphere police!
More than three months into a medical leave from Apple Inc., Chief Executive Steve Jobs remains closely involved in key aspects of running the company, say people familiar with the matter.
Not another one! This time in the New York Times, one of America's most respected journalistic organs. Someone call the paddy wagon. Looks like we have a bunch of "journalism" criminals on the loose!
For Mr. Stenfors, 38, 2008 looked like a very good year. He recorded a trading profit of about $120 million, and his reward was a handsome bonus, according to people familiar with the matter.
The point being that we have a bunch of wanna be "journalists" running around New Mexico's "progressive" blogosphere who are clueless about how the real world operates and who love tearing down others. But they don't have to worry about ever getting jobs at the New York Times or Wall Street Journal; they are marooned here, funded with sinecures from quasi-secret, out-of-state nonprofit ventures like the NM Independent, led by managing editor and former NM Democratic Party Executive Director David Alire Garcia. They condemn the anonymous sources on this blog and in the nation's leading newspapers, but use anonymity to hide their funding sources and mislead the New Mexican public about their "progressive" and apparently sub rosa mission.
As the kids say, they are sooo busted.
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