Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Lightning Rod Adair Will Strike No More; Senator Announces Retirement, Plus: The Petition Battles: Why They Are A Turn-Off, And: The Griego Matanza; The Real Deal, Says His Matanza Chief
There have been a near record number of legislative retirements this year, but the big one is the last one. Veteran GOP State Senator "Lightning Rod" Adair, one of the state's most colorful and controversial public figures, has withdrawn his candidacy for re-election, ending what will be a 16 year legislative career. The Roswell politician was a "love him or hate him" politico, evoking emotion and opinion among his detractors and followers--of which there were many. (His full withdrawal news release is here.)
Adair, 57, said in his swan song that it is a good time for him to get out because he can now spend all of his time as a demographer and political consultant helping other R's get elected:
Because Susana Martinez blocked the Democrats' radically partisan gerrymander, the voters finally have a say in redistricting. As a result, we have the greatest opportunity we've ever had to free the state from more than 80 years of Democrat domination in the legislature. Freeing New Mexico from that yoke would benefit our state for generations to come...
Adair may be jazzed about Republican hopes to increase their numbers in Santa Fe this election year, but he could not have been upbeat about his own chances to be re-elected to the Senate seat he has held since 1997. This year's redistricting may have helped some other R's, but Adair was hurt. He lost a portion of Lincoln County where he always performed well and picked up a large chunk of Otero County which was not previously in his district. In addition, he was thrown into a GOP primary with Bill Burt of Alamogordo who was appointed to fill the Senate seat left vacant by Dianna Duran when she became secretary of state.
Adair's decision to forego re-election means a clash between Burt and Adair will be avoided. There will be no GOP primary and Burt will be heavily favored to keep the seat in the R column in November.
Another factor that had to weigh on Adair as he eyed the exits was the threat of major money coming in to take him out. That's what happened to Roswell State Rep. Dan Foley a couple of cycles ago. Oilman Mark Murphy, determined to break up the Adair-Foley tag team poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign of Foley's opponent--Dennis Kintigh--and forced Foley to the ground. A similar fate seemed to await Adair.
Adair's take-no-prisoners tactics saw him clash repeatedly with legislative Democrats, perhaps most famously when he had a Roundhouse hallway confrontation with then-House Speaker Raymond Sanchez. A camera showed them in a shoving match, but it was not determined who started it.
Adair, who served 20 years in the Army, was a major player in state Republican Party politics and will probably remain so as long as Martinez is Governor. His departure will mean a more subdued tone in the Senate. He was an intimidating presence to some of his colleagues. There has been talk that some R's might try to replace Senate Minority Leader Ingle for not completely toeing the line of the Guv, but with Adair gone the chances of that occurring grow even more remote. Adair could still retain influence with Republicans he helps to get elected as a campaign consultant, something we have seen with Jay McCleskey, the political operative who ran Martinez's campaign.
While Adair sees this year as a time when conservatives can make major gains in the Legislature, President Obama is poised to carry the state and other analysts see the Dems actually picking up a seat or two in the state House and definitely hanging on to control of the Senate. But Adair, both smart and combative, has always been one to push the envelope and defy the odds. No doubt that will continue even as his days as a legislative player to be reckoned with come to an end.
PR FOR DUMMIES
Here's political newcomer and ABQ GOP state Senate candidate Gerges Scott catching up on a book that could come in handy for a number of other legislative contenders this especially snarky campaign season. It's Public Relations for Dummies."
We find it particularly apropos because of the outbreak of complaints this cycle over whether a candidate's petition signatures are valid or whether they listed the number of the district on the petition for the office they are seeking.
Most, if not all, of these complaints that make their way to court, will be dismissed as long as the candidates have enough valid signatures to make the ballot. And even those with some lousy signatures seem to meet that threshold--as low as 75 signatures in many cases.
The problem is that many candidates are hiring "third party" vendors or using all volunteers to gather their petition signatures when they should be out there in person burning up the shoe leather and meeting the voters. Isn't that one reason why we have the petition requirements in the first place?
As for the brouhaha over candidates not complying with an esoteric new law that requires the number of the district to be on the petition you are asking a voter to sign, can't the secretary of state simply issue nominating petitions with a box for the candidate to place that number in? Problem solved.
Very few legislative candidates intentionally commit fraud in gathering their petitions. They may be guilty of laziness by farming out the job but little else. In the past, the contenders were more likely to overlook the petition problems of their foes--as long as they had enough valid signatures. They knew that getting involved in a contentious "process argument" irritated the voters who want to hear about the candidates backgrounds and the real issues. That's where PR for dummies comes in. But in this new era of smallish politics, everything is fair game--even if voters cant stand it and the complaints end up in a judge's waste basket.
By the way, Scott is seeking the GOP nod for the ABQ NE Heights Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Mark Boitano. He faces Lisa Torraco in the June primary.
A MATANZA MATTER
Henry Chavez--Matanza Chief
I live in Barelas and I volunteered to gather together a team of people for the Eric Griego for Congress Spring Matanza who know the ins and out of this great tradition. On Friday we picked up the 600 pound pig from Isleta Livestock and Feed. We brought it to our cooking pit about 300 yards from the Griego headquarters, skinned it and cooked it in pieces for 14 hours. On Saturday I brought the meat to the party for everyone to enjoy. Everyone except your Alligator, I guess.
You really don’t want to dig a hole through the concrete at the Eric Griego for Congress headquarters to build a fire on 4th Street. The Fire Marshal might have a word with you about that! If you’d like some lessons on having a Matanza, I’ll help you out. I suggest you do not publish such desgrasiadas without first checking your facts. I'm attaching a photo of me and my pit that we took today so you can see how and where we cooked the pig.
Thanks for that, Henry. We would have checked out our Gator's "facts" further but he was really giving his opinions on what he thought the food tasted like and the tenor of the Matanza. We're glad to hear that Eric is adhering to the highest Matanza standards and shunning any "store bought" food for such occasions.
We are about to witness a heated clash for the Dem nod between Griego, Marty Chavez and Michelle Lujan Grisham. When it's over maybe the Democrats can have Henry host a "Unity Matanza."
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2012
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