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Friday, December 30, 2011

The Dogs Of Christmas: Mayor & Guv Send Out 2011 With Pooch Pics; We Have Fun With That, And: So Long, 2011; You're Outta Here 

Those Alligators have had their eyes on all things political all year long and they don't stop during the holidays. Even the Christmas cards of the state's high and mighty are not exempt from Gator scrutiny. Of course, it's all in the spirit of the season:

Perhaps it's coincidence (or the result of having the same political consultant) but having man's best friend on the Governor and Mayor's Christmas cards seems very important this year.

In the case of ABQ GOP Mayor RJ Berry it actually appears calculated since "Skip" is on the card, but all alone for Christmas, not in the loving embrace of his family like the Governor and First Gentleman's pooches are. It begs the question: If Skip is such an important part of the family, couldn't the Berry's find time to take a picture with him? After all, that Santa hat he's sporting is just adorable.


And is Berry going through something of an identity crisis? On the Xmas card he's "Rich." During the campaign he was "R.J." After he was elected he was "Richard." Could he pick a name and stick with it? Interesting choice of picture for the Berry's, too. Does anything say Christmas to Albuquerque voters more than the Great Wall of China?

Okay, enough of that snarkiness, Gator.

Skip the dog couldn't make the trip to the Great Wall. By picturing him alone Mayor Berry intends for Skip to serve as a symbol of America's individualism and iconoclastic attitude that stands in stark contrast to China. (Really!)

By the way, the names of the Guv's dogs are Sterling, Silver and Riggs. With upper crust names like those, we hope First Gent Chuck is giving them more than his favorite baloney for the holidays. (Is giving your dogs such aristocratic monikers meant to signal aspirational Republicanism?)

JOHNSON WATCH

It appears the Libertarian Party will not have to gather several thousand petition signatures to remain a recognized minor party in the state for 2012. One of our analysts speculated otherwise recently. The New Mexican reports:

The Libertarian Party, which has been on the New Mexico general election ballot for at least 30 years, is currently qualified as a minor political party in New Mexico, according to Ken Ortiz, the chief of staff for the Secretary of State's Office.

Former GOP Governor Gary Johnson has launched a bid for the Libs 2012 Prez nomination this week. If he takes it, he could be expected to jumble the White House contest here.

The NM GOP is not commenting on Johnson's abandoning of the Grand Old Party, but NM Dem Party Executive Director Scott Forrester was quick to pounce:

This a game changer for Republicans whose long term and deep running divisions are at last coming to the surface. Johnson entering the race as a Libertarian shows how the GOP is
driving out diverse voices. Democrats are united in President Obama and Johnson's candidacy would only make it more challenging for the eventual GOP nominee to consolidate his own party's base, especially in NM.

THE SESSION


Maybe something will get done in the 30 day legislative session that starts in January? The Guv comes with this which could be seen as having bipartisan appeal:

The recommendations call for $4.2 million to fund increased access to AP programs, and $2.5 million for statewide short-cycle tests for more than 180,000 students in grades 4 through 10. Martinez said such tests help teachers identify gaps in learning and adjust their instruction. Some districts already use these tests, but there is no statewide standard.


MARTY WOES

This is not the way you want to start the year for your campaign for the Dem nomination for the ABQ US House seat:

A spokesman for former three-term mayor of Albuquerque Martin Chavez confirmed that Chavez's "significant other," Loretta Mares, is the same woman named as a defendant in a lawsuit claiming that several years ago, she and others embezzled $3.2 million from what is now Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center. The suit filed by the hospital's insurance company Dec. 23 also names Richard A. Crabtree, St. Vincent's former chief operating officer, Mares' two brothers and five companies controlled by her and or her siblings. "I have absolutely no knowledge of anything related to these allegations," Chavez wrote in an email statement. "My relationship with Loretta began long after."

That drooling you are hearing comes from the R's who love nothing better to rough up a Dem contender on ethics, but wavering Dems will now also have a reason to go against Marty. But the fight for the US House nomination is far from settled. State Sen. Eric Griego has been consolidating considerable support and Michelle Lujan Grisham still has a fighting chance.

REDISTRICTING RULING

As expected, the judge presiding over the redistricting of the state's three congressional districts took the path of least change. One of my analysts looking at the approved plan said "it does not appear to be any major restructuring of the political landscape."

The Guv says the court accepted a bi-partisan plan for the US House seats that cut down on the contention and means less legal fees for taxpayers. So why couldn't our Governor and Legislature get the job done and save us all the legal fees? Because like Washington, Santa Fe often doesn't work anymore.

KEITH, JERRY AND JOE (PART III)

Just to resolve any question as to whether Guv Martinez Chief of Staff Keith Gardner was sitting with Jerry Peters, Dem financial heavy and major friend of ex-Guv Big Bill, at last month's Lobo-Aggie basketball game we have this additional confirmation not from an Alligator--but a Senior Alligator:

I sat one row and one section behind Peters and Gardner and can tell you they came together and left together. They sat in Peters' seats which are at half court just down from the UNM President's seats. Lobbyist Art Hull was with them as well. These are the same seats Richardson always used. Facts.

And important facts they are because the world of La Politica is all about connections and associations. And you, dear reader, are on a "need to know" basis.

However, we have more insider info on this from another source as the Guv's office is not commenting:

The Gov has 6 tickets to every event at UNM and to every one at NMSU. The Gov's tickets are directly in front of the President's tickets not "just down from." The Governor's tickets in 2008 were moved closer to the President's to try and build a closer relationship with the UNM president and the Governor. Your reader maybe recalling the location of the old seats and not the new ones.

And the Senior Alligator responds to that:

Not to beat a dead horse, but there are no seats in front of the UNM president. The President, and others were all given the seats right behind the clock operator and scorer when Athletic Director Davalos left town. The Gov. does not have assigned seats at UNM or NMSU. I stand by my facts.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Thanks for making us the state's top political news and analysis web site in 2011. We run into many of you who tell us, "Joe, your site is the first thing I read each morning..." It's pretty heady praise and keeps us working overtime to bring you the angles and perspective you simply can't get anywhere else.

We'd also like to tip our hat to our many advertisers in the past year. They make this effort possible. We thank them and ask you to consider us for your advertising needs for the coming year. There's no better way to reach the state's most involved audience.

After spending a bustling Christmas in New York City, we're back to ring in the new year in New Mexico. It will be done so quietly and that's fine as the election year of 2012 promises to provide plenty of noise and fireworks. We plan to be here to bring all of it to you and look forward to seeing you then.

Happy New Year, New Mexico.

Reporting from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan.

E-mail your news and comments and advertising inquiries to jmonahan@ix.netcom.com

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2011
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