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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Looking For Big Mo: Gonzales & Bregman Fire Big Guns As Dem Chair Vote Nears, Plus: UNM Power Playing As Prez Search Starts, And: Tweeting By Heather 

Gonzales, Padilla & Canales
Both Javier Gonzales and Sam Bregman are trying to get some "Big Mo" in the final hours of their race for the chairmanship of the state's majority party. Come with us as we take you into the thick of the action....

Gonzales, seeking that momentum for Saturday's meeting of the Democratic Party state central committee where he will work to overcome a stiff challenge from ABQ attorney Bregman, has made the peace with Ana Canales, chairman of the Bernalillo County Democratic Party. He also announced that a former head of the nation's Dems will appear at an event for the party the night before Gonzales asks some 400 plus committee members to give him another two year term.

Gonzales is pictured here at a peacemaking session with ABQ South Valley politico Michael Padilla, the self-described "peacemaker," and Canales, who recently sent out an email indicating Gonzales operatives were spreading rumors that she would get a paid job with the state party if Bregman were elected. But now all appears peaceful between Javier and Ana.

Also, 2010 Dem Guv nominee Diane Denish is endorsing Gonzales for re-election. For some, that may be a sour reminder of the party's defeats, but Di tried her best to make it a winning gesture:

No one is more disappointed in the outcome of the 2010 election than I am. But make no mistake, I saw first hand that Javier was a constant fighter for Democrats up and down the ballot, and he did everything he could to make the best of a tough year for Democrats.


As for peacemaker Padilla, you wonder if he will try to apply his diplomatic skills to his relationship with ABQ Dem State Senator Linda Lopez. She beat him in the 2008 primary election.

Well, let's not take this peace thing too far.

As for that other Gonzales play....

The night before some 400 plus central committee members start their Saturday confab to decide on a chairman for the next two years, Gonzales will show some muscle by hosting a party fund-raiser featuring former Virgina Governor Tim Kaine who is running for the Senate in Virginia and who recently gave up the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee to do so. Details:

April 29, Hotel Andaluz, Albuquerque; VIP Reception--6:30--7:00 pm;Hors d'oeuvres--7:00 to 8:30 pm Tickets: VIP and Hors d'oeuvres $250; Hors d'oeuvres $100

But get this. If you are a member of the state central committee, you get into the party for free. Not that Javier wants those members to thank him for the freebie by voting for him. Really. We would never be so cynical. However, we understand Sam's father is a central committee member. How about if he gets there early and scarfs up the goodies?

Kaine served as co-chair of Obama's '08 campaign. Senator Udall is hosting a Friday lunch at Yanni's to raise money for Kaine's campaign. Senator Bingaman will also attend. Ticket info at (505) 401-8339. (Everyone has to pay except Sam Bregman's father).

SAM'S TOWN

Bregman by Dana Millen
Challenger Bregman is hoping to twist enough arms in the final week to pull off what would be considered a major upset. He's fighting for this thing like a Pit Bull, always charging. Here's Sam saying what he would do in his first 100 days as party chair:

...Raise $300,000; Form a rapid response team to challenge Susana Martinez and Republican lies; Get planning underway for five regional state conventions to be held by December 2011; Analyze all local races where state party can target and make a difference, plus transparency and openness with contributions; Ensure that professional staff are competent and understand their responsibilities; The current leadership had the worst losses in 2010 in 80 years for the state party...


Bregman has shown muscle with a key Democratic constituency:

18 local labor unions, representing over 13,000 members have endorsed my candidacy for Chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party.

And Sam puts a cherry on his dessert with this list of fresh endorsements:

Senator Tim Eichenberg, Representative Mimi Stewart, Representative Marie Gutierrez, Representative Ernest Chavez and Bernailillo County Assessor Karen Montoya

This has been an interesting race, being played out in the larger public arena even though only some 400 insiders get to vote. But with Facebook, Twitter and the blogs, this is the new world order.

BEN RAY SAYS....


Here's the statement northern Congressman Ben Ray Lujan came with in the wake of the news we broke here Monday that he will not seek the 2012 Dem US Senate nomination:

....After careful consideration, I have decided that I will not seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate. I look forward to building on my work as Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ BOLD PAC and as a member of the DCCC’s recruiting committee to recruit strong candidates who reflect the growing diversity of our country and who will be a part of our effort to take back the House. With BOLD PAC’s historic first quarter fundraising numbers and Census numbers showing the growth in the Hispanic community across the country, I am excited about the favorable position we will be in to energize Hispanic voters and help elect strong Democratic candidates.

Ben Ray mentioned "taking back the House" but said nothing about Hispanic candidates for the US Senate. State Auditor Hector Balderas is about to announce he will challenge Dem US Rep. Martin Heinrich for the nomination.

And Martin Heinrich just isn't for ABQ anymore. He is taking his first major across the state trip as a US Senate candidate:

On Friday, May 6, 2011, I will hit the road to travel across New Mexico to listen to you in your hometown. I want to know what's most important to you and your family, and engage and mobilize our communities in my campaign for the United States Senate.


Heinrich's stops May 6, 7 & 9 include Las Vegas, Española, Santa Fe, Silver City, Las Cruces, Roswell and Gallup. He will finish with a rally in Albuquerque.

TWEETING WITH HEATHER

GOP US Senate candidate Heather Wilson would like you to know she has picked up the endorsement of Rio Rancho GOP State Rep. Tim Lewis. She tweets:

Rep. Tim Lewis of Rio Rancho says, “We need someone in the Senate with the experience and leadership ability Heather Wilson has.”


A point of interest here is that Tim Lewis is the brother of Dan Lewis, the ABQ GOP city councilor who is running for the ABQ US House seat. Dan and Tim are both from the tea party oriented segment of the GOP, a wing that has given Heather a hard time.

Still lurking, but not yet announcing he will challenge Wilson for the nomination, is Lt. Governor John Sanchez. While Heather is picking up a lot of endorsements from GOP office holders, Sanchez boosters say they are unconcerned because they believe Sanchez will have widespread support among the conservative grassroots who helped deny Heather the Senate nomination in 2008.

Still, Sanchez has to actually get in the race, raise good money, and not make any major screw-ups. Not that we're setting the bar high for you or anything like that, John.

UNM POWER PLAY
Fortner
The power struggle over the power of picking the next president of the University of New Mexico is under way. A search committee to replace the resigning David Schmidly will soon be formed and the composition of that panel is being closely watched. University insiders say some top faculty reps are talking about wanting a search committee where half the membership is faculty members. But that's drawing opposition from others with a stake in the game who say no one group--faculty, regents or alumni should dominate the selection process.

UNM Board of Regents President Jack Fortner, one of the Republicans on the seven member panel and freshly elected as board president, has the task of naming the search committee. Procedure calls for having three regents on the search committee. Fortner will appoint them as well as faculty, alumin and community reps. Fortner, a Farmington attorney with close ties to the Martinez administration. How much will she play in this one?

RIO ARRIBA SHAKE-UP

Reader David Oakley sent us this a while back and it's about time we got to it. We speak of the shake-up in the Democratic Party in Rio Arriba County, one of the heaviest Dem counties in the state:

The besieged walls of the old guard political fortress came tumbling down at the Rio Arriba County Democratic Convention April 6 as the Democrats for Progress faction of the party dominated turnout and took control of all major internal party positions.


The mainline faction of the County’s Democratic party, which traces its roots back to late political boss Emilio Naranjo, has maintained control over the inner workings of the party since Naranjo’s ascent, despite the Progress faction of the party having controlled most of the major posts in County government for the past 20 years....

That “coup” was completed, with Progress-backed County Assistant Community Development Director Lucia Sanchez deposing State Sen. Richard Martinez (D-Española), Naranjo’s political heir, as the leader of the County party in an uncontested nomination. Planning and Zoning Committee member Pablo Manzanares took over for Christine Quintana as party vice chairman, also with Progress’ blessing and in an uncontested nomination.

Narano died in 2008 at the age of 92 and after establishing his legendary reputation for playing the power game of La Politica.

THE BOTTOM LINES

A reader writes:

Joe, I attended an ABQ Chamber of Commerce luncheon featuring the South Korean ambassador to the U.S. He's on a U.S. tour to promote the passage of the U.S./Korea Free Trade Agreement. Anyway, upon landing in ABQ, they shuttled him to Santa Fe, and then brought him back to ABQ to speak. The ambassador was talking to the lunch crowd about meeting with "the Governor" in Santa Fe about a wide variety of issues, including the trade agreement. Then I realized that "the Governor" he was talking about was not Susana Martinez, but Bill Richardson! I guess they couldn't nail down Susana for a meeting...

We hear Susana likes meetings with people she doesn't see eye to eye with about as much as Big Bill likes dieting...

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