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Thursday, March 01, 2012

Musical Chair Season Continues As Lawmakers Make Election Decisions; We're Across NM With The Action, Plus: Something New: Guv Vetoes Via Twitter 

It's musical chairs season for state lawmakers making plans to retire, to seek re-election or even switch to another race. It can get so confusing even the insiders have trouble keeping up. Take a look at this memo State House Minority Leader Tom Taylor of Farmington sent to his members and which an Alligator forwarded to us:

Members: Please inform leadership of your election intentions. It is important for planning purposes regarding funding and support that I know if you are not running for your seat (who you have found to replace you) and if you are contemplating doing something different...

During this time of an election year Taylor's job makes herding cats look easy. And there's even more action to track today as the March 20 filing deadline for the Legislative races nears. Off we go....

SQUEEZING SAPIEN

Breaking on Thursday morning: State Sen. Cynthia Nava of Dona Ana County, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, says she will retire. State Rep. Joe Cervantes says he will now leave the House to seek the Nava Senate seat. The musical chairs keep moving....

Not unexpectedly Dem State Senator John Sapien is getting a challenge from his left to go along with the one he already has on his right. Former State Rep. Ben Rodefer will make the liberal case against the more conservative Sapien who has had run-ins with the environmental crowd as well as those who feel he has been too conservative fiscally. In private life Sapien is an insurance man. Rodefer, President of the New Mexico Renewable Energy Industries Association, was defeated for re-election to his state House seat after serving one term. Sapien will sort through that Rodefer baggage as he seeks a second term to his Sandoval County district that includes liberal Corrales and Placitas as well as Bernalillo, Algodones and parts of Sandia Pueblo and Rio Rancho.

Meanwhile, first term ABQ Westside state Rep. David Doyle is leaving the House to go after Sapien as the GOP Senate nominee. Talk about a long year for Spaien, but because he has not carved out a firm identity the foes are circling. Also, under redistricting Sapien's district is now more Democratic. That will help in the general election, but the primary is the challenge. Still, as a Hispanic Dem with the ability to raise money, Sapien is no easy target for the newly eager Rodefer. Stay tuned.

STAYING PUT

In other Senate action, GOP State Rep. Conrad James has decided to stay put and seek re-election to the House rather than run for the Senate seat begin vacated by fellow Republican Mark Boitano. It appears James will have an uphill battle as his ABQ NE Heights district is going to become more Dem under redistricting. Veteran politics watcher Mark Bralley emails that James would have been the state's first African-American state senator if he had run and been successful.

SENSITIVE ISSUE?

From down south we have analysis for you that may be too sensitive for the locals. Former Las Cruces area State Rep. Jeff Steinborn is going to challenge fellow Dem and State Rep. Antonio Lujan for the party's nomination. He says Lujan's new district will include many precincts that Steinborn used to represent. Steinborn, like Rodefer, was ousted from his old seat by a Republican in the 2010 GOP wave.

What's sensitive is the issue of Hispanic representation in the state House from the Dona Ana County area. Another Anglo Dem, Bill McCamley, has announced he will seek the Dem nomination for the House seat held by retiring Rep. Joni Gutierrez. That's two Hispanic House seats in play within the Dem Party. Should we expect the Gutierrez seat to draw a Hispanic candidate before filing day? We should.

BAD STRATEGY?

And are state Dems dropping the ball when it comes to the Valencia County state House seat held by freshman GOP Rep. David Chavez? Some think so. It appears that Dem Andrew Barreras, who Chavez beat in 2012 when it was disclosed that Barreras had tax problems, is going to try to win back the seat which either party is capable of taking. Chavez has been somewhat controversial, especially with regard to his position on gay marriage which has drawn protests from activists. But how can Barreras take him out with his old baggage holding him down? They're just asking...

And there's more. Dem Elias Barela is back to challenge GOP State Rep. Alonzo Baldonado. But Baldonado beat Julian Luna who defeated Barela in the 2010 primary. What's different now?

Chavez and Baldonado are potentially vulnerable R's, but if the fellas they ended up dispatching last time around get the right to challenge them again, the pair has cause to start breathing easier.

HARDEN SEAT


It looked as though Angie Spears, the niece of Public Regulation Commission Chairman Pat Lyons, was going to have a free ride in the GOP primary to replace retiring east side State Senator Clint Harden, but it's not to be. From the email:

Republican Mark W. Myers is pleased to announce that he is running for State Senate District 7 encompassing Curry, Quay and Union Counties.

Mark is a lifelong Curry County resident who attended New Mexico State University and Texas Tech with a focus on agriculture and law. As a successful businessman with over 20 years in both agricultural commodities and transportation, Mark has the entrepreneurial experience that Eastern New Mexico deserves.

Spears is seen as closely aligned with the Guv and her political operation. Harden was not a down-the-line Martinez supporter. We blogged Wednesday of how the Guv is hoping to reshape the GOP Senate leadership by influencing which R's get a ticket to Santa Fe this November.

And there's yet another R in the race for the Harden seat:

Republican John Patrick “Pat” Woods will run for state senate in District 7, which includes Curry, Quay and Union counties. Woods is a fourth-generation farmer in the Grady and Broadview area, encompassing parts of Curry and Quay counties.

THE NEW WAY

How about this? The liberal PAC ProgressNow NM comes with the report on how the Guv's office used Twitter to signal that she will veto a tax bill:

Governor Susana Martinez's staff leaked her legislative plan by Twitter on Tuesday when Deputy Chief of Staff Ryan Cangiolosi tweeted that the governor would veto legislation to close a big corporate tax loophole and lower taxes for New Mexico-based businesses.
.
While the sponsor of SB9, Sen. Peter Wirth, and Rep. Brian Egolf were holding a public meeting in their Santa Fe district Tuesday night, Cangiolosi tweeted:

in an apparent response to the Santa Fe Reporter's editor Alexa Schirtzinger's post that the governor's veto of SB9 could be political trouble for the governor.
He apparently got no response last night, and retweeted it again this morning, this time without directing it to a reporter.

Hey, keep that news coming, Ryan, but watch those emotions. The kids on Twitter like to try to trip you up. By the way, did Susana know what you were up to?

SONY GOES DARK

In the news:

Sony Pictures Imageworks will not renew its lease in Albuquerque when it expires in July...There were significant projections of growth for digital media in Albuquerque...But the downturn in the economy canceled much of that expansion....At its peak, the company employed 100, but that has varied depending on production schedules. Currently, it’s in the neighborhood of 60, said Sony officials.

Not good and a warning shot for Governor Martinez who early in her term engaged in Hollywood bashing as she and the Legislature trimmed incentives for the film industry. ABQ Mayor Berry is also hearing this shoe drop, signaling that in the years ahead keeping these kind of entertainment jobs won't be easy. He did not argue with Martinez about cutting the incentives. While Sony going dark is a blow, the state is getting the filming of the blockbuster "The Lone Ranger."

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2012
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