Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas, New Mexico, Plus: The GOP Under Chairman Billingsley: Cash Starved Or Not?  

Merry Christmas to you. It's always a pleasure to offer you annual holiday greetings from this blog. 

The sentiments we expressed back in 2006 hold true today as we prepare to usher out 2012....

We live in a wonderful, almost fantasy-like environment in this Land of Enchantment. It is a gift that gives year round--the sunsets that make hearts soar; the mountains that inspire dreams; the never-ending landscapes that give a spiritual dimension to daily life. The contrast of this earthly perfection with our crazed, but beloved La Politica makes us that more inscrutable to the outside world.

New Mexico politics is also special because ancient customs collide with the contemporary. It's what makes our state so deliciously baffling and delightful and so pleasurable to talk with you about through this blog.

Thanks for joining me today and all the days of 2006 (and 2012). I look forward to more special times with you in the new year. Until then, here is my annual holiday card to you and your loved ones.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


There's been talk that the state GOP would be starved of cash because Governor Martinez's favored candidate for chairman came up short and 67 year old John Billingsley of Lincoln County took the victory. But this letter from Roswell oilman Mark Murphy written to Billingsley before the chair election this month indicates that the party is not going to go wanting:

As I mentioned on the phone--I am excited about the prospect of you becoming chairman...A comprehensive fundraising strategy that includes the county parties is long overdue.  I'm sure that many of them will be willing to put in a little extra effort if it is going to help them better fund their operations. My offer to help you in any way I can stands!  I am willing to serve on your finance committee and I have a list of folks who will pitch in once we present the new direction you plan on taking the party.

Murphy has a habit of putting his money where his mouth is. He spent several hundred thousand of his own cash a couple of cycles ago to replace Roswell GOP State Rep. Dan Foley with an R he favored And he and his family have been major donors to GOP candidates across the board.

Some R's associated with the Guv and her political adviser Jay McCleskey say the party is not as relevant because new finance rules allow super PACs that can spend tons of money without any accountability. But a well-funded state party with roots in the state--not out of it--can still be a significant force.

As for Billingsley, folks want to know more. And here is some more about the new chairman from a GOP newsletter:

 John was born and raised in Hobbs, and has lived in places from Seattle to Washington, D.C. He created small businesses in the retail fields of clothing and golf shops. He also managed a marina, grocery, and lodge before retiring to the Ruidoso area. Goals and strategy for growing the party: John's goal is to recapture the party┬╣s success as the party of the people. The first practical necessity is fundraising to cover basic operating expenses. He also will focus on marketing the party and drawing together the party strands.

Billingsley is also a former campaign manager for Rep. Steve Pearce. 


When all was said and done and all those provisional ballots finally counted New Mexico came in with a turnout of 63% of its registered voters in the November election. We thought it would be more like 68%. About 787,000 voted.

Longtime pollster Brian Sanderoff said the lower turnout rate this year partly reflects the state's inflated voter registration rolls. The state hasn't recently purged from the list people who have moved out of state or who have not voted in recent elections.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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