Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Michelle's Move: To Resign Commission Seat Or Not? Plus: Where's The PAC For State Dems? And: Some Tuesday Bottom Lines
Arnold-Jones & Lujan Grisham
Will Michelle Lujan Grisham resign her post as a Bernalillo County Commissioner to prevent the panel from falling into the hands of the Republicans? It's a question making the rounds in Democratic circles since our blog pointed out that if Michelle is elected to the ABQ congressional seat in November, she will have to resign her commission seat. That would mean Republican Governor Martinez would get to appoint a replacement--likely a Republican--and that would tip the balance of power on the panel from three Democrats and two R's to three R's and two Dems,
Grisham would have to resign by September 4 in order to have the unexpired portion of her commission term filled at this November's election. Even if she resigned prior to that deadline, the Governor could still appoint a replacement, but that person would have to run for the the seat and only if he or she were named as the preferred candidate of the Bernalillo County Republican central committee. The county Democratic Party central committee would name the Dem candidate for voters to consider to replace Grisham.
Grisham's seat is considered safe Dem so it is likely any Republican control of the commission would be short-lived if she resigned. The Dems would likely take the seat right back in November.
But for Michelle, elected to a four year term in 2010, resigning is a big if. She is the odds-on favorite to take the ABQ US House seat against Republican foe Janice Arnold-Jones. We and various national pundits rank the ABQ seat as "likely Dem." But having he odds in your favor and actually having the seat are two different things. Michelle may not feel comfortable giving up her perch on the commission. If the unexpected happened and she were to lose the congressional race, she would then be completely out of power.
Michelle could also argue that the Republican appointee would still likely be ousted in the 2014 election when her term expires and that there is no need for her to resign before the election, Other Dems will say giving the R's and Martinez power on that commission for two full years is much too long.
To resign or not to resign? It's one of the below-the-radar issues of the 2012 congressional race and one that will definitely be put to bed come September 4.
By the way, Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse says that only members of the parties central committees who live in Michelle's west side commission district would be eligible to name candidates to the November ballot.
And from one of our reader's, comes the relevant legalese to go with the story:
If a vacancy occurs in the office of district attorney or county commissioner, the governor shall fill such vacancy by appointment, and such appointee shall hold such office until the next general election. His successor shall be chosen at such election and shall hold his office until the expiration of the original term. (As amended November 8, 1988.)
And one more thing. Thanks to the Alligator who sent us the first public picture of congressional candidates Janice Arnold-Jones and Michelle Lujan Grisham. It was snapped a t a credit union event at Sandia Resort & Casino.
WHERE'S THE DEM PAC?
Dems around the state watched with disdain when two big Artesia-based oil companies pumped $180,000 into the Super PAC called Reform NM Now and run by Governor Martinez political advisor Jay McCleskey. Then they promptly started interfering in Dem primaries. Now the upset Dems are asking, where's the counter punch? How about a Super PAC supporting Dems, they ask, to protect the party's slender majority in the state House and to stabilize the state Senate which the Dems control?
There is behind the scenes talk among top Dems about forming such a PAC, talk that is growing more urgent because of the low turnout among D's in the June 5 primary. Bernalillo County Chair Ana Canales writes:
...Only 23% of the Democrats eligible to vote turned out...The only way we are going to be successful is to ensure that everyone gets out to vote and at 23% we have a tough road ahead. I know that a lot of you will be helping the bigger campaigns, but we need to stop and think about our state. We need to keep the seats that we have in the House and the Senate and if any way possible, take some new ones. A lot of money is going to be poured into the Republican races and the only thing we have to counteract that is grassroots organizing...
The Super PAC rules are fast and loose with big money playing without limit. But the cat is out of the bag with the PAC associated with Martinez and the Dems could take a hit if they don't get one of their own up and running. Their talks are sure to intensify in the coming days.
As a matter of fact, as we were finishing this post, insiders were telling us that a PAC to support Dem state Senate candidates is in the process of being formed and that over $60,000 has already been raised. Several senators who face no primary opponents--including ABQ Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino are among those organizing the PAC. We are told the name of the PAC is "New Mexicans for Working Families."
WOODS VS. SPEARS
A reader reacts to the victory of rancher Pat Woods over Guv-backed Angie Spears in that too hot to handle GOP state Senate primary race on the state's east side:
Susanna not getting her way with the Spears-Woods state Senate GOP primary race is significant. How can the Republicans expect her to help them get Romney elected if she cannot even get what she wants in a very strong Republican district in her own state?
It tells me that either she has no influence or that people are really tired of (Martinez political advisor) Jay McClesky and they realize that he is the person doing the governing in New Mexico and are sending a message to Santa Fe.
There is curiosity about Jacob Candelaria who will be the first openly gay male in the NM Legislature. He won his Tuesday primary for a west side state Senate district and faces no Republican opponent in November. Candelaria's campaign says that at 25 years old, he may also be the youngest state Senator in history. Here's some video of Candelaria on election night.
As forest fires once again ravage large swaths of his southern congressional district, Rep. Steve Pearce, the line Republican in the state's five member congressional delegation is expressing the frustration of his constituents to top Forest Service officials. It's Pearce unleashed:
"They're worried about their homes. They're worried about the economy of this town. They're worried about their futures. You're damn right they've got a right to ask those questions and I've got a responsibility to ask it here when I get the room."
THE BOTTOM LINES
We said on KOB-TV's "Eye on New Mexico"Sunday that Dem Public Regulation Commission candidate Karen Montoya had won election to the five member PRC. OF course, She was not. She won the Dem nomination in a three way race for the ABQ seat. However Karen faces Republican attorney Chris Ocksrider in the November election before she can claim a PRC seat. The position she is going after is being vacated by Jason Marks and leans Dem so she is the favorite....
We also said in an early draft that Jon Gutierrez of Las Cruces was elected national committeewoman at the Dems weekend convention in Taos. Actually, she was elected back in April which we posted a the time. Don't know why we did it again, but we did. Joni's term starts at the end of the national Dem convention in September...
And our GOP insider sent us multiple drafts of the GOP weekend action we blogged about Monday and we went with one that needed to say this, but didn't:
Rickey Morlen (not Ricky) is not and never has been a Ron Paul supporter. And the slate that included Rickey Morlen was not a "Ron Paul" slate. Yes, some people elected from the slate are admitted Ron Paul supporters, but it actually was a statewide Conservative Unity slate, that included people with the Tea Party and Sons of Liberty.
Now you are really deep in the GOP weeds....
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2012
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