Monday, July 04, 2011

First Half Of Year Was Eventful; A Look Back And A Sneak Peek Ahead As We Celebrate The Fourth Of Juy 2011 

Well, there goes the first half of 2011, a politically eventful six months that will be remembered for setting the political stage for years to comes. The big news was the announcement from Dem US Senator Jeff Bingaman that he would not seek re-election next year, ending a thirty year career that will also end New Mexico's seniority in a meaningful way on Capitol Hill.

It could be years before the state gets another powerful senate chairmanship like the energy committee slot Bingaman secured. We are sure to feel the impact economically, although we think President Obama is going to do his best to keep the goodies flowing here in the year's second half and through Election Day 2012.

The first six months of the term of Governor Martinez have now also been revealed, informing us as to what to expect for the next three years and then some. The GOP Guv is--not surprisingly--running a minimalist administration. It's also one that has had a rough start with the Legislature. Does the departure of Martinez deputy chief of staff Brian Moore from the Fourth Floor signal more rough waters ahead in that regard?

The thinking among a number of analysts still has Martinez pursuing an agenda that positions her a shot on the 2012 GOP presidential ticket, no matter how unlikely. If that is so and does not come to pass, could we see a different gubernatorial character as she then pivots for her Guv re-election? Well, not until after the 2012 GOP convention where the Veep pick will be made.

And then there's the September legislative redistricting session waiting in the wings. Will we get a deal or a Guv veto and end up in court? The political bettors say the latter is still the best bet.

Here in ABQ Mayor Berry ran into a buzzsaw in the first six months of 2011 in the form of numerous fatal police shootings and his administration's response. Political damage was inflicted, but how much?

Berry says the second half of the year will allow the voters give an "advisory" opinion on those controversial red light cameras. He did not veto the City Council's decision to send the issue to voters. That could send more anti-government and anti-incumbent voters to the October 4 polls.

It also means the mayor is going to have to campaign harder for the bond issues. And he will. He will also have to keep his eye on that Greg Payne-Trudy Jones NE Heights council race. More anti-red light camera voters could mean more Payne votes and if he wins the seat, the mayor's GOP majority on the council will be much more fluid.

One of those city councilors, Republican Dan Lewis, says he's raised $101,000 in the April-June quarter as he pursues the GOP nomination for the ABQ House seat being vacated by Dem Martin Heinrich who is running for Senate. Will that number influence 2010 GOP congressional nominee Jon Barela to take on Lewis or stay out?

That question and much more will be answered in the hopefully much less smoky half of 2011 in our Land of Enchantment.

Happy Fourth of July!

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