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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Gary King's Last Chance? Email Scandal Hands Him Opportunity To Revive Political Hopes; What's His Move? Plus: The Feds And Us; Debate Over All That Money 

Gary King
How can Democratic Attorney General Gary King resuscitate a political career left for dead by just about every Alligator from Cruces to Chama? Well, he would need some major scores--not stuff like prosecuting a housing authority scandal or corruption charges pending against former Dem Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron. No, King's potential pot of political gold is in the email scandal shrouding the administration of Governor Martinez.

If the AG--who has been asked to investigate the emails by two state legislators--came with a strong abuse of power case, he could revitalize his image with Dems statewide and perhaps position himself for the 2014 Dem Guv nomination.

Martinez's email mishap is happening here and now. Other cases that could propel King seem like ancient history. While they deserve his attention, they are not going to get his political heart pumping again (prosecuting Dems does not necessarily help you win a Democratic nomination). Does King have the moxy to go toe-to-toe with Susana and company? That's the important question for him--and Martinez.

Meanwhile, it is potential 2014 Dem Guv candidate and trial attorney Sam Bregman who is making the most hay form the email scandal. He is a source of several of the news stories because of his defense of clients involved in the Martinez administration. Bregman's possible candidacy has been greeted with coolness in some Dem quarters who fear his aggressive style is not a good match for the state. They would prefer a Hispanic female as the challenger to Martinez, but they can't come up with a list of viable candidates.

Bregman may be guilty of being too aggressive, but the Dem Party has come under fire for being too meek in dealing with Martinez. Until King, State Auditor Hector Balderas or another key Dem player takes the spear, it will be Bregman and the media keeping the story alive.

EMAIL ROOTS
Karl Rove
Our readers have been exceedingly helpful in sorting out the email scandal and what we have dubbed "the shadow government" that has been operating in Santa Fe. Here's another from the mailbag:

Look no further than Jay McCleskey's mentor, Karl Rove, and the millions of missing White House emails kept off U.S. government servers in violation of federal law during the U.S. Attorney scandal and you'll understand how and why the Martinez administration began conducting public business on private email. That McCleskey's boss would buy into the scheme isn't surprising, given her recent quote, "I wouldn't get these kind of questions from reporters down south, who know me."

And a lawmaker writes to us off the record about the policy implications of the ongoing email woes:

Consider the implication for relationships in the state capitol with legislators and particularly the Public Education Department, The reason the request for an investigation of the emails by the attorney general came from Rep. Miera and Senator Linda Lopez is that he is chairman of the House Education Committee and she is chairwoman of the Senate Reules Committee. That;s where the confirmation of Hanna Skandera's PED secretary has been held up. Add in McCleskey's search at PED for union and nonunion teachers and be assured any education agenda of this administration has hit the wall.

PLAYING NICE

Back to the Senate race and Hector, he was exceedingly nice to Dem Rep, Martin Heinrich when he challenged him for the US Senate nomination. Not much has changed since then. From Heinrich:

I want to thank my primary opponent, Hector Balderas for the email he sent yesterday on behalf of my campaign for the open U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico. I am proud to have Hector’s support and appreciated the email he sent, which raised over $7,000 for the campaign.

In this first month of the campaign for the open Senate seat, we rank it lean Dem, but just slightly. Republican Heather Wilson has time to make a case.

SELLING OUT?

Continuing with a Senate theme, blog reader Bob Aly believes we have been too gun-ho in advocating federal funding for Kirtland Air Force Base and Sandia Labs. He writes:

I ran across your booster club statement about how the senate candidates should support more funding for the military and the Dept. of Energy in New Mexico...I would urge you to look into the Jet Fuel Spill at Kirkland AFB--now estimated at 24 million gallons...threatening the City of Albuquerque water supply. How about that Mixed Waste Landfill brought to us by Sandia Labs? It contained an unknown quantity of radioactive waste that the state environment department, in collusion with Sandia, approved putting clay over and planting grass on top of it, in spite of scientific opinion that this will do no good.

Hasn't New Mexico paid enough? Are we truly that greedy that we are willing to sell the health and well being of future generations for fast cash today?  You appear to be a conservative, given your obvious bias toward Heather. Is turning our state into a the national sacrifice area a true conservative thing to be promoting?  That seems to be the problem.  We will sell out anything to make a buck.

We appreciate your thoughts, Bob, but we could not disagree with you more. Of course the Air Force should be held accountable for that fuel leak. Members of our congressional delegation have been on the case and the city is pushing hard for a resolution, Don't know about the Sandia Labs waste you mention, so will refrain commenting,...but

We are not warmongers or military boosters for the sake of boosting, It just so happens the labs and the military bases are the foundation of the modern New Mexican economy and that shutting them down or letting them wither away will do extreme harm to the economic well-being of the people here. Is that greed?

There is no free lunch. The military and labs don;t come problem free, but decades ago New Mexico agreed to become a national security colony and it made ABQ the metro area it is today with much better living standards and quality of life.

For us to reject this federal presence eon the basis of ideology--whether it be because of issues over the morality of war making , or as the radical right argues, that the federal largess is actually harmful, not beneficial, is a form of economic suicide.

As for being pro-Heather, she would chuckle loudly if she saw that. However, we do agree with her and Rep. Heinrich that the labs and military installations here are vital to the state's standard of living. If you pull them out of here, you are looking a town that will dry up and blow away.

NO SUSANA VP VETTING

You already knew it, but for the record:

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte who, according to the Washington Post’s Phil Rucker, are also not being seriously vetted--are relative newcomers on the national political scene with relatively thin resumes to date.

Romney’s decision not to consider the Martinezes and Ayottes of the world suggest that the campaign is very aware of what we would call the “Palin factor”.

That is, Romney is committed — first and foremost — to not repeating the mistake made by Arizona Sen. John McCain when he tapped the unknown governor of Alaska to be his running mate in 2008.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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