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Friday, August 14, 2009

Jeff's Summer Of Health Care Heat, Plus: Some Insider Polling On NM's Mood, And: The Hungry Alligator 

Sens. Bingaman & Reid in ABQ
Here's an insider pic of NM senior Senator Jeff Bingaman and US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at an ABQ fund-raiser held for Reid Wednesday at the Embassy Suites hotel near downtown. It was hosted by Bingaman and the state's other Democratic senator--Tom Udall. Reid is expecting a tough re-election bid next year and picked up some campaign cash from New Mexicans at the $500 a pop event.

Bingaman and Reid are all smiles here, but Jeff's ABQ office has not been a citadel of joy lately. His staffers have been deluged by Obamaites seeking a personal appointment with Bingaman to lobby him on health-care reform. Bingaman took a hit from the left when he declared that the public option component of the health bill is in deep trouble, but he did not issue a plea for the public to support it. Bingaman's people say while he supports the public option, he is busy negotiating a bill as a member of the so-called Gang of Six. They argue it is the job of the President and the Democratic National Committee to do the heavy lifting on the messaging and Bingaman's job to help craft the bill.

The impact of the departure of Republican Pete Domenici from the US Senate is already being felt as we watch the funding levels for the national labs scrutinized in Washington, but we also note that Leader Reid is from a western state--Nevada--and Obama will keep an eye on us because of our swing state status in the presidential re-election puzzle. We are not without voices at the table.

OUR MOOD

How about some June polling numbers from a top-level state Republican who was curious about our mood. They gave us a peek at some of the Q an A:

Is the state headed in the right direction? 44%--right direction; 43%--wrong direction

Next Candidate for Governor--Dems want someone who has previously been elected by 52% to 30%

Next Candidate for Governor--Republican voters want someone who has not previously been elected but, rather someone who is an outsider with business experience by 51% to 33%

46% of people (both parties) believe that the economy is either very good or somewhat good while 52% believe that it is somewhat poor or very poor

The reason 46 percent still think the economy here is still in good shape probably speaks to the large government employment base. So far, major government job losses have been avoided.

OFFICIAL STATE SYMBOL?


Reader David Hadwiger sent us this note a couple of months ago about our insider sources we call "Alligators." The note seems even more appropriate as we prepare for an October special session of the Legislature to grapple with a big budget shortfall:

I wanted to endorse your alligator picture from January for the official symbol of the state budget crisis. The house is the state budget; the alligator is the economy. The alligator is at the door and it's hungry.

David, that Alligator is so hungry it would eat one of our Roadrunners--the New Mexico State Bird.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2009
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