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Friday, January 08, 2010

Foley Foils His Own Comeback; Wanted Rio Rancho Council Seat, Plus: No Tidding, And: City Hall Doings 

Foley
The political comeback plans of controversial former Roswell State Rep. Dan Foley have been foiled. Foley showed up at the city clerk's office in Rio Rancho Tuesday to file for a city council seat in the March 2 election there. However, City Clerk Roman Montoya tells us Foley failed to bring with him the required proof that he is registered to vote in Rio Rancho. He was denied a spot on the ballot for the council district being vacated by Larry Naranjo. Foley moved to the City of Vision last year.

Foley was the target of one of the most expensive opposition legislative campaigns in state history when he sought re-election in '08 to his Roswell seat. Foley's foes spent over $250,000 to oust him in a bitter GOP primary contest in which Dennis Kintigh emerged as the winner and Foley's eventual replacement at the Roundhouse.

Foley, an insurance agent, then moved to Rio Rancho, but controversy continues to be his trademark. He was busted for speeding and for failing to remove official state representative license plates from his pick-up truck. That was the latest in a long line of transgressions for the onetime House minority whip that has kept his name splashed across the front pages. In June of '07 he was arrested for interfering with his son's basketball game. A mug shot from that incident was flashed across TV screens statewide in paid TV ads in that rough and tumble '08 primary.

The intense emotion Foley generates among his rivals has not completely abated. They continue to operate a Web site critical of the former ten year lawmaker. But Foley fans give him credit for helping to rid the state housing authority of corruption and for being a formidable public spokesman for Republicans.

Despite his foul-up in filing for a Rio Rancho council seat, there are still rumblings that Foley could take a stab at the Rio Rancho state House seat held by Democrat Jack Thomas. But this week's incident shows that the comeback trail for this volatile character of La Politica is looking ever longer and steeper

SWISSTACK VS. OWEN

Swisstack & Owen
Rio Rancho Mayor Tom Swisstack has filed to run for a four year term and drew only one challenger--former GOP Mayor Jim Owen who Swisstack has previously defeated for the post.

Democrat Swisstack enters the race as the favorite, although the recession ravaging Rio Rancho in the form of foreclosures and unemployment will give Owen some talking points. We'll keep you posted.

Meantime, the first mayor of Rio Rancho, William Howden, 70, has been charged with sexually assaulting a seven year old relative. Howden is in jail facing kidnapping and sex crimes charges. He is being held on a $100,000 cash bond. He became Rio Rancho's first mayor in 1981. The new city had a population then just shy of 10,000. Today Rio Rancho is a city of 80,000.

ANYTHING YOU CAN DO...

Remember the song that goes, "Anything you can do, I can do better?" Well, that's kinda what were getting from GOP Guv candidate Janice Arnold-Jones. She says she is outdoing presumed Dem Guv nominee Diane Denish and releasing all of her campaign contributions and contributors as they come in. Di is voluntarily releasing quarterly reports--which is more than is required by state law. From the Janice spin room:

Janice Arnold-Jones has listed financial contributors to her campaign on her website, www.janiceforgovernor.com. "Posting the names and amount donated by our financial contributors is the most transparent way a candidate can operate. Our approach exceeds what the other campaigns for governor are doing, including that of Lt. Governor Denish. We will continue to post the name and amount donated by every financial contributor as the campaign progresses...It is my sincere hope the other candidates will match our level of transparency.

With the state submerged in ethics scandals, all the candidates are being prodded to early report their campaign money. The next state report isn't due until April. Denish has been voluntarily releasing quarterly reports. Will Janice force Di's hand and get her to release her contributions as they come in? And what about the other candidates, especially the ethics-obsessed campaign of GOP Dona Ana County District Attorney Susana Martinez. Will Susana show us the money? And what about the fellas? Where's the money machismo from Allen Weh and Doug Turner? Come on guys, impress the gals by flexing those financial muscles--in public.

NO TIDDING

How do you scare the bejesus out of nine top NM lobbyists? Try shouting out loud that their client, real estate giant SunCal, will not lobby the upcoming session of the Legislature for passage of a TIDD, a $408 million tax incentive measure.

Well, the lobbyists have indeed been scared because SunCal confirms it will not be back in Santa Fe this year asking for approval of the TIDD. But hold on. SunCal's Vanessa Alarid tells us the nine lobbyists will still stay on the payroll! How's that for economic stimulus?

The TIDD has already been defeated twice at the Roundhouse, including at last year's regular session. Maybe sometime in the future the third time will be the charm. Those seat-warming lobbyists will apparently be at the ready.

SunCal has had a peck of financial trouble. The huge tract of land it is trying to develop on ABQ's West Side could be turned over to creditors. Those financial problems and an electorate in no mood to give tax breaks to big business made another effort at passing the TIDD ill-advised.

PONDERING GARY

In discussing the possibility of former NM Governor Gary Johnson seeking the presidency in 2012, we didn't note that he might actually seek the Republican Party nomination. Because of his crusade for drug legalization, he appears to have more appeal as a third party candidate. If he sought the GOP nomination and ran in the New Hampshire primary, his campaign would likely end there with a big loss. But if he was running as a third party contender, it would seem the chances of keeping a quixotic campaign going for a number of months would be much greater. Just some thoughts, but not inspired by any whiffs of Acupulco gold...

WAITING GAME

One of these days the Santa Fe housing market is going to turn around. These are not those days.

KEN AND RJ

It took a Republican mayor to turn around the political fortunes of Ken Sanchez, the new president of the ABQ city council. When he asked in the past for his fellow councilors to advance him, they balked. His close relationship with Mayor Chavez was viewed with suspicion. But with Chavez gone and GOP Mayor RJ Berry in, Sanchez was able to finally ascend to the presidency. No wonder Sanchez and Berry are getting along so well in the early going. That should continue for a while, at least until Sanchez announces his own bid for mayor for 2013.

DARREN DOINGS

The flurry of TV appearances by new ABQ public safety director Darren White is no surprise to White watchers--he has always been a media maven--but as the administration goes forward speculation about any political future for White will increase. And now that Sara Lister, his campaign manager for his unsuccessful 2008 run for the ABQ congressional seat, is an administrative assistant on the 11th Floor, the speculators have more reason to stay in business.

White has also moved in Erin Kinnard Thompson as a $55,000 a year administrative assistant. She served as public information officer for White when he was Bernalillo County sheriff. And he earlier hired ABQ Journal crime reporter T.J. Wilham to a new PR position solely devoted to public safety. Sounds like Darren has ripped a page from Big Bill's PR playbook.

THAT'S COOL

The Roswell Daily Record snapped this dazzling end of year sunset. It's a nice way to head into the weekend.

Thanks for checking in here this week. We appreciate your company.

I'm Joe Monahan, reporting to you from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2009
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