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Thursday, August 06, 2009

While Heather Waits So Does Money In GOP Guv Race, Also: Will Latest Light Guv Hopeful Last? And: Bernalillo County Clerk is Carrying; Find Out What 

Heather Wilson
Allen Weh, Susana Martinez, Janice Arnold-Jones and Doug Turner--all possible or already GOP Guv candidates--all have a common problem. Each of them is likely to have a hard time raising significant money until ex-ABQ GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson ends her flirtation with a candidacy. Heavy hitters we have spoken with are holding back their wallets and purses, and it's all about Heather. They still think she is the R's best chance to put this race on the map and they aren't going to let the cash flow until she issues a Shermanesque statement ruling herself out.

For Weh, a businessman with personal wealth, the issue is not as urgent. Also, PR company owner Doug Turner will be able to get in-kind support from his company. For Arnold-Jones and Martinez the cash question is more acute.

This, of course, is all to the benefit of Wilson. If she plans a run, pros say she is going to need $4 to $6 million and the longer that money stays available to her, the better. Maybe it causes some resentment in GOP ranks, maybe not. Backers of Wilson argue she has paid her dues and has a right to take her time in considering a run.

How long can Wilson wait? Quite a while, actually. In the not so distant past, formal announcements have come about one year from the date of the election. Following that guideline, she could easily wait until mid-November to make her move. That still gives her plenty of time to raise money and collect petition signatures and she already has heavy name ID. Not that she will wait that long to make a decision, but why not?

NO CONTEST

Longtime NM reporter and syndicated columnist Sherry Robinson says she doesn't get all the fuss being made over Heather. She thinks a Denish-Wilson contest is a loser for the R's:

Wilson is a smart lady with name recognition, but her strengths end there. For starters, Denish has only to refresh her memory of former Rep. Pearce's campaign attacks on Wilson. Second, while Denish has deep roots in Hobbs and is right at home in rural New Mexico, Wilson is a carpetbagger from Albuquerque...

ANOTHER R RUNNING

36 yar old Nathan Krekula of Hobbs says he doesn't like the way Big Bill is running the state, so he's seeking the 2010 GOP Guv nod. Krekula is a Wisconsin native who teaches biology courses at the University of the Southwest. He says oil and gas jobs are going away because of state rules. Check out his Web site for more.

CAMPOS COMING IN
Rep. Jose Campos
State Rep. and longtime Santa Rosa Mayor Jose Campos says next Tuesday he will join the Conga line known as the Democratic race for lieutenant governor, but a healthy dose of scepticism greeted his announcement.

Isn't Jose the chairman of the powerful House Voters and Elections Committee and won't that panel be right in the middle of the 2011 task of redistricting all of the state's legislative and congressional seats? Would Jose really want to miss out on that powerful assignment? He would, if he gave up his House seat . And didn't he flirt with running for the southern US House seat for a couple of days in the '08 cycle, only to pull out, complaining of a back injury?

Then there's that other Campos--Jose's cousin, State Senator Pete Campos, who has also been flirting with a Light Guv run. Some family rivalry here? Along those lines, there was some speculation that Jose would indeed stay the distance in the Light Guv race and that his wife, Christina, an administrator at Guadalupe County Hospital, would make a run for his House seat. Gotta love that scenario.

Whether Jose stays the course or not, he does have the issue list that will likely dominate the next election:

Job growth, economic stability and improved quality of life through the expansion of renewable energy, innovation in education and vocational training, and the promotion of high quality, accessible, and affordable health care.

Oh, he forgot one--ethics.

Right now, the race for second banana is still somewhat unfocused with top pros pointing to Lawrence Rael and Brian Colon, both expected to soon formally enter, as the duo with the best fund-raising prospects. And in a race as crowded as this one is getting cash could be what will make or break our merry contenders.

By the way, Brian Colon, who insiders said had planned to announce that he will resign as Dem Party Chair Wednesday, will do so Friday. The Alligators report there was some back and forth on the exact date of the resignation as the competition heated up as to who would replace him. The salient point: Colon is headed for the exits and the Light Guv race.

A NEW NAME
Huerta
The two heavies seeking the Dem chairmanship are Sandoval County Dem Chair David Montoya and former Santa Fe County Commissioner Javier Gonzales, but a couple of members of the 400 member State Central Committee who will pick the new chairman, have a brand new face their pushing. He is 23 year old Michael Ray Huerta of Las Cruces. From there, reader Raul Sentano e-mails the party would benefit from a southern candidate and:

He can win. After only being a Democrat for three months, Michael came in and beat over 10 other candidates for the single spot of National Convention Delegate...He can help please progressives and gays. Michael is openly gay and has been involved with progressive causes, as well as GLBT causes across the state. Now that Victor Raigoza is not running, Michael can win over the far left base of the party.

The Democratic Party is a big tent and Diane D and Big Bill are going to have to herd everyone in.

THE BIG BILL BEAT

With his legacy on the line, Big Bill took to the tube Wednesday to unveil yet another round of initiatives to address the latest dreadful stats revealing that only 54 percent of New Mexico students complete high school, compared to about 70 percent nationally.

The Guv is now trying to bring back students that were lost. His plan calls for getting 10,000 high school drop-outs their degrees, largely through on-line courses and by the end of his term next year.

He also mentions that achievement gap between Hispanic Anglo students. The Anglos graduate at a 64 percent rate and Hispanics at about 50 percent rate. He calls for:

The establishment the Office of Hispanic Education at the Public Education Department. The office will liaison with the Hispanic Community to engage in meaningful ways to address the achievement gap.

Meanwhile, that drive by some ABQ West Side residents to form their own school district separate from Albuquerque Public Schools continues. Dan Serrano of CASA--Citizens Advancing Student Achievement--says the proposal has been drafted and presented to Secretary of Education Veronica Garcia. He says the group's study shows a West Side district could be formed without raising taxes, that the property tax base is broad enough to fund a new school district. It will be up to Garcia to decide whether to advance the proposal.

WAS IT THE KOREANS?

Was it because North Korea did not want Big Bill that he was not selected to help free two American journalists, and nothing to do with the controversies dogging him here at home? From CNN on Bill Clinton getting the assignment:

Some heavyweights were turned down by the North Koreans: former Vice President Al Gore, a co-founder of the media outfit the women were working for when they were arrested, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations whose previous missions to North Korea included negotiating the release of a detained American...The former president's combination of stature and "unofficial" status made him the best choice to undertake a mission that the United States and North Korea agreed should be cloaked in a label of purely "private and humanitarian.

WHAT ABOUT US?

Reader and health care personnel recruiter Kevin McMullan took exception to this info on the planned upgrade of the Guadalupe County Hospital we received from Washington recently

The hospital is the only emergency care facility over the 275 miles between Albuquerque and Amarillo

Says McMullan:

Not correct. Dr Dan C. Trigg Hospital in Tucumcari has an emergency department.

We hope we don't have to visit either, but glad they are there.

HEADED SOUTHEAST

Let's head south from Tucumcari to Carlsbad. While ABQ is preparing for an October mayoral election, Carlsbad, like several other NM cities, will do their local elections next March. Reader Mario Salinas in Carlsbad says the early action is underway:

Incumbent Mayor Robert Forrest is not running so we have several maybes. Jeff Diamond, councilman and past Eddy County Dem Party Chairman, has stated that he is running. Also, Manny Anaya, past councilman who gave Forrest a good scare last election, has also said maybe. Another maybe is Dale Janway, a past councilman and so far the only GOP possible...

Mayor Forrest is a Republican.

THIS CLERK IS CARRYING

Not all of New Mexico's female politicos are on the campaign trail these days--although it sometimes seems that way--Bernalilo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver will be decidedly off the trail come around October. She is expecting a new addition then, but like a true politico her baby shower will be held at the home of Traci Cadigan, wife of ABQ City Councilor Michael Cadigan who is seeking re-election in October. Maggie, married to Big Bill aide Allan Oliver, joked about the soon-to-be new arrival:

Yes, he will be registered at birth but will be held in suspense until his 18th birthday-- Ha! He is due in October, just after the City Election. :)

Well, there won't be too much suspense about his registration--Maggie is a dyed-in-the-wool Dem. Did you notice she said "he" when referring to the new baby? What, she didn't want any suspense? Guess the Clerk gets enough of that on Election Night.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2009
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