Friday, December 18, 2009

John Sanchez: Stepping Up Or Stepping Down? He Launches Bid For #2, Plus: Fouratt Stunner: Says He Knows Who Will Replace Him As U.S. Attorney 

Some may view it as a step down and perhaps a lost opportunity but John Sanchez, the 2002 GOP nominee for governor, thinks a run for the 2010 GOP nod for lieutenant governor is just the right fit. He tossed his hat into the ring for the #2 spot on the GOP ticket Thursday, making it a four way race with ABQ State Senator Kent Cravens, former Clayton area state Rep. Brian Moore and Santa Fe radiologist J.R. Damron. (ABQ nurse Bea Sheridan earlier announced a run, but has since dropped it, say party insiders.)

But it was another guv run, the prospect of which was first raised here, that the state's political community was most anxious about when it came to Sanchez, a successful roofing contractor who created a splash in 2000 when he upset NM House Speaker Raymond Sanchez for his ABQ North Valley legislative seat. John Sanchez served just one term before securing the 2002 GOP guv nomination. He faced off with an unbeatable Bill Richardson and third party candidate David Bacon. Sanchez scored 39 percent to Bill's 55 percent. Bacon came in with 5 percent.

Sanchez was a political greenhorn then, but he gained valuable campaign experience and name ID from the 2002 fray. He says his decision to seek the second banana spot is motivated largely by a desire to avoid more divisiveness in the GOP than already exists. There are currently four candidates seeking the GOP Guv nod. From our phone conversation with Sanchez:

Joe, this is all about winning. We have a culture of corruption and state spending out of control. We thought it would be in the best interest of the party and the state that I seek the lieutenant governor nomination...My getting in the governor's race would make it even more divisive.

Still, it is Sanchez's private enterprise success--apparently done with not much in the way of government contracts--that give him Guv appeal as the state faces the prospect of rebuilding its jobs base after a brutal recession. But running for Guv would subject Sanchez and his business interests to an intense negative campaign by the Dems. The heat is not as hot when seeking the light guv nod.

Sanchez, who will turn 47 next month, will be formidable. He told us he is prepared to self-finance his light guv effort, but quickly added that he also has a list of 3,000 past supporters to call on. Sen. Cravens and Moore are also high quality contenders so this is going to be a fun race to monitor.

For the Dems, they can be seen as dodging a bullet because Sanchez decided to shoot low.

Are there any more potential surprises before they wave the flag to formally start this 2010 Guv race? It doesn't seem likely on the Dem side as Diane Denish is putting all the pieces together, but there is still some rumbling going on in the R camp about yet another possible late entry. We'll keep you posted.


Gary Johnson, the governor John Sanchez was hoping to succeed in 2002, is back in the 2009 headlines. The Politico wonders if Johnson will emerge as a 2012 libertarian type presidential candidate.


Greg Fouratt
It was a real eyebrow raiser of a speech from US Attorney Greg Fouratt Thursday at the ABQ Economic Forum. Fouratt indicated that he knew who President Obama was going to name to replace him, that he and New Mexicans in general would be pleased with the choice and that the new US Attorney would be on the job in February or March, assuming US Senate confirmation by then.

All this raised the question of how Fouratt, 44, apparently knows who will be his replacement. That announcement is traditionally reserved for the senior senator of the president's party. In this case, that would be Sen. Jeff Bingaman Did Jeff let the cat out of the bag, or is Fouratt speaking out of school?

Fouratt has been at the center of a political storm. The Dems have feared replacing him because of the ongoing federal investigations he has launched into pay to play corruption. Appointing a US Attorney in the middle of these probes is seen as politically sensitive, but now that the White House is ready to move--insiders tell me they have five names on a short list to pick from---are they seeking approval from Fouratt to avoid criticism from him? As weird as that may seem, if Fouratt does indeed already know who will be the next US Attorney, it is not an illogical assumption.

Fouratt is a Republican and one assumes that his replacement will be a Democrat. Whatever the case, Senator Bingaman may want to check his business cards to see that they still say that he's the Senior Senator. After Mr. Fouratt's speech, filled with exclusive info, one wonders who is in charge of announcing what when it comes to the federal establishment around here.


From a Senior Alligator at the Fouratt speech at the Economic Forum:

(ABQ Mayor) RJ Berry was there and so was (Chief Administrative Officer) David Campbell. Berry sauntered in alone, comfortable and sat in the back of the room. No entourage, no body guard. It is a big change.

That unpretentiousness may turn out to be one of the mayor's best assets, especially in sour economic times. But that doesn't mean Berry is without security all together. From yet another Alligator:

Hey Joe, Don't be mislead by your senior alligator re: no security detail for the mayor. Just because they don't walk in with him doesn't mean they aren't lurking in the bushes outside...


Former ABQ Chief Administrative Officer Ed Adams was making $147,000 per year when he left the city's top job. With the ouster of Mayor Chavez, he was reassigned back into the work force. So why is he still making that boffo salary in a lower ranked position? That was the question at the center of this report.


Advocates of carving out a new city from a portion of ABQ's South Valley are hoping for a very low turnout election. And they may get it because the balloting is slated for January 5 and early voting is already under way. Foes of the plan to form a new city say it will mean higher taxes and poorer services. Former Bernalillo County Commissioners who have represented the area joined with current valley Commissioner Art De La Cruz to rally support against the proposal. Supporters of the new city say it will give the generally low-income area more political clout.

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