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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Defying Susana: No Back Down From Nina Martinez in GOP Chair Race, Plus: The Tussle Over Tinseltown, And: US House Sleepovers; Time To Get A Room? 

Susana Martinez isn't scaring out Nina Martinez. Despite a letter the Guv-elect and Congressman-elect Steve Pearce sent out this week in support of Monty Newman's bid to become the next chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party, Nina Martinez is not backing off. She says she will fight for every last one of the 331 GOP Central Committee members when they meet in ABQ this Saturday to pick a replacement for outgoing chair Harvey Yates. She circulated her own letter to make her case.

We and others speculated that Nina might bow out of the race in deference to Susana who is, after all, about to become the new Republican Governor. But Nina's message is a fighting one and signals that the internecine warfare within the state party was not swept away when the R's scored a sweeping victory in the Guv's race. Tell us about it, Nina:

Joe, just a note to let you know I have no intention of dropping out of the race for RPNM State Chairman. This is a life long goal for me.

When I was 18, I registered at the San Miguel County Courthouse as a Republican and have worked tirelessly for Republican candidates and principles ever since. I've served as precinct chair, county secretary, state secretary, 1st Vice Chair and now I'm ready to fulfill my dream of becoming State Chair and securing a Republican majority in the NM State Legislature. I believe I'm the most qualified candidate. My opponent has not been active in the party and isn't even a member of the State Central Committee. He can't even vote for himself or any other officers on Saturday.

...Committee members...want a choice. Gov-elect Martinez and Rep. Pearce may support any candidate they wish but the state party rules are clear: the State Central Committee has responsibility to vote and elect their next state chairman. I've earned the privilege...

Oh, and she dropped one other thing into cyberspace about her now uphill battle:

I have solid support and commitments from all corners of the state. The implication that the bulk of my support is coming from Allen Weh and Doug Turner is false. I have sought out the advice and counsel of senior party members with whom I have worked over many years.


We dig Nina's passion. There have been years when they had to search the graveyards for someone willing to lead the state's minority party. So while Martinez and company may not be too happy that their new found authority is being challenged, it sure is a kick to see this party often led by the rocking chair brigade getting it on. Dare we say these R's are "fired up and ready to go?"

DI'S DAYS

As is tradition, nothing much has been heard from losing Guv candidate Diane Denish. But some friends of the lieutenant governor think she would be a fine addition to the Obama administration when she finishes here term Dec. 31. Of course, those same friends were hoping Obama would have gotten Big Bill out of here and made Di Guv and give her a leg up in the Guv's race.

THE SUSANA CIRCLE

A reader in California writes of what he has seen so far of Governor-elect Martinez's inner circle and of which we blogged on Wednesday:

If the national Republicans want to expand their tentacles into the growing Hispanic population, they would be well-advised to encourage Martinez to bring in at least a few token Hispanics into her inner circle. Look what happened in CA; mega-bucks Meg Whitman was taken out by her former Hispanic maid for being disrespectful...


There is no quota system for Hispanic appointments, but Martinez is looking light in that category. There are a lot more posts to fill, however. What surprises us is how few women have been put in key positions. We thought there would be more based on Martinez's record as Dona Ana County district attorney.

Ans then there was this pithy take on the matter from former ABQ mayor and leading New Mexico liberal Jim Baca:

Uhh...all these powerful people in the new administration are white guys from the oil patch!

THE NEWS RACE

Checking in on the 10 p.m. weekday news race in the ABQ TV market we find KRQE still dominating but KOAT in the vicinity. KOB continues to suffer mightily, dragged down by weak prime time NBC programming.

In the November ratings sweeps it was KRQE pulling a 9.6 rating, KOAT an 8.2 and KOB a 4.9.

BACK TO THE MAIL

Reader Mike Lamb has thoughts on that Bloomberg article we posted Friday and that described how states are starting to cut down on incentives to attract Hollywood filmmakers. It's a hot issue here as well, with proposals floating that would trim the tax incentives we use to lure Tinseltown:

The Bloomberg article avoided any mention of New Mexico's incentive program, even though the film industry and mainstream media have identified it as being the most successful and professionally structured in the country...In any case, since NMreimburses 25 percent of a production company's expenses for its in-state purchases of goods and services, the 118 productions that were paid $181 million over the last three years spent at least $724 million here--which by conservative estimates had an overall financial impact of at least $2 billion.

With money like this at stake there’s a fierce competition for it between states because of the potential size of the return on a relatively small inducement. Take that inducement away (which is what capping the incentives will do) and N.M. will lose it's ability to compete for this business, which will put an end to the tax revenues and other economic benefits we've been getting from it.

The debate rages over whether these tax breaks for the movie industry result in enough jobs and economic activity to justify them. Perhaps there needs to be a limit to how much we put out, but Rep. Dennis Kintigh and other ardent foes of the tax credits need to understand that when New Mexico is featured in a movie the impact goes on for decades as the film is shown again and again.

We're not Michigan or New Jersey. We are a state with a real tourist industry. We need a continuing investment in the mystique of the Land of Enchantment. So Rep. Kintigh, keep everyone honest and work hard for a compromise, but don't cast aside our state's special role in America's imagination or the public servants that came before you who placed it there.

GET A ROOM

We feel the same way about congressmen sleeping in their Capitol Hill offices as we do about those couples necking next to you in the movie theatre---get a room, already. We've chided our own congressman, Democrat Martin Heinrich, for keeping his pajamas in his office even as he takes home $174,000 a year and wife Julie is also well-compensated in a local government gig, but he has plenty of company and is getting more all the time. Take a look:

Of the 94 incoming members of the House of Representatives, 90% are Republicans, nearly 40% have law degrees and about 35% have never before held elective office. Oh, and at least 15% plan to bed down in their congressional offices. It's the ultimate I'm-not-a-professional-politician statement, reminiscent of the 1994 midterm elections, when a GOP House takeover led to a surge in House sleepovers.

What do you dream about when you sleep on your congressional couch? Probably about Sealy Posturepedic mattresses.

THE BOTTOM LINES

A couple of state public info officers email in to let us know that not all PIO's are "exempt" employees. Some are "classified" meaning they have job protection. Exempts can be dismissed at any time. We brought up the topic in Wednesday's blog about the Bernalillo County PIO vacancy. We don't know yet how much that PIO gig pays, but we hear it is handsome. Maybe the email today will give us a certain number.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2010
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