Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ABQ Council Races Confound Predictors; Mayor's Race Awakened By Denny's Nightmare, Plus: News From The Long Campaign Trail, And: The Scandal Watch 

While Richard Romero and RJ Berry try to kick-start their ABQ mayoral campaigns against entrenched incumbent Marty Chavez, the Alligators and City Hall wall-leaners are saying there is actually more excitement in the races for city council.

The race puzzling the pundits most is the face-off between incumbent GOP Councilor Don Harris and Michael Brasher, a current Bernalillo County Commissioner who once held the seat occupied by Harris and is now challenging him.

Harris won a run-off to take the seat four years ago and later survived a recall, showing impressive strength. But Brasher has been a major vote getter in the far NE Heights district, which includes Four Hills, for two decades. Predictions are all over the map on this one, making it a race to watch.

In the middle of the city, incumbent GOP Councilor Sally Mayer appears locked in a close battle with fellow Republican Mike Cook for District 7. Mayer is going for a third term. She is being hit for devoting so much of her latest term to animal issues. Cook is an ABQ native and investment adviser who has been active in the district. Another race that has the guessers guessing.

Out on the West Side, the drama continues. Not that incumbent Dem Michael Cadigan isn't the frontrunner. He is. But Republican Dan Lewis is working it hard and now word is that Dem Jeremy Toulouse will also qualify for the ballot. A three way race with two Dems gives Lewis a chance to force a run-off with Cadigan is how the Gators see it. Michael will need 40 percent to avoid one come October 6th.

In the University, Barelas and Downtown areas City Council President Ike Benton holds sway, but he is being challenged in his quest for a second term by Dem Bernalillo County Commissioner Alan Armijo who is term-limited and who is a former city counncilor. Benton is seen having the edge, but he is the first Anglo to represent the district. It's another race that in the early going is unpredictable.

That's four out of five council races on the ballot for the nine member body that look competitive. Now, if they can jump-start that heretofore somnolent Mayor's race, we could really get this election dancing.


The labor union AFSCME, which represents some 3,500 city employees, endorsed Isaac Benton and Michael Cadigan Tuesday but were silent in the all-Republican Mayer-Cook and Harris-Brasher contests. Earlier, the union caused a stir when for the first time it endorsed Mayor Chavez, robbing Romero of a key Democratic support group.


Mayoral challengers Berry and Romero turned to violent crime as an issue, following the audacious robbery at a West Side Denny's that left one woman dead. KOB-TV's Stuart Dyson covered the action. KRQE-TV came with this report on Romero's news conference and Mayor Chavez's rebuttal. Crime is always a big city issue. Any more violent crimes along the lines of the Denny's incident will become part of the narrative to take out the mayor.


Republican Allen Weh scores some
Roswell press as he tests the trail for a 2010 Guv run. How about his old pal, Heather Wilson? Will she get in this thing? ABQ Journal D.C. correspondent Michael Coleman joins the guessing game:

When I reported in December that she was "seriously considering" a run for governor, I was pretty convinced she would. But in subsequent conversations, she's sounded more and more like she was enjoying civilian life and the time it affords her with her two adolescent children. Time will tell.

Our guess? She goes if there are federal pay to play indictments high enough up the political food chain to soften up Democrat Diane Denish. No indictments; no go. Lately, Heather is talking about what she does for a living--national security consulting--and doing it in the Washington Post which can't hurt business.


The ABQ Journal is not looking forward to anything like this coming to ABQ.

HuffPo Launches Local Sites for New York, Denver


Lorene Mills, writing in her newsletter, says of last week's indictments in the regional housing authority scandal:

Why the housing authority scandal is so important is that it’s a combination of all the key issues of the day – pay to play, ethics, oversight, the housing bubble, the bond market, the banking situation – it’s all together in this. Now we find there are links to the CDR scandal,especially in terms of the bond underwriting. Will this be the first of many indictments in our state’s “Pay to Play” scandals?

That pretty much sums up where we're at. If you hear another foot drop, call or e-mail.


How about a political angle on this week's
ABQ appearance of Los Angeles Dodgers player Manny Ramirez. A reader came up with one:

Joe, a daily reader here. And sports fan. Combine the two and I came up with this: If Manny Ramirez should hit a home run while with the Isotopes this week, the home run call could be "That guys gets paid to play, and that one's Manny AraGOOONE!"

The Manny who plays baseball had no home runs Tuesday night. The Manny who played politics had his share of them, but no more.

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