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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Session Over & '14 Candidates Start To Line Up, Plus: Heh Trying To Make Hay In Mayor's Race, And: Lots Of Reader Reaction To Our Big Blog Wrapping Legislature 

Now that the legislative session is history, look for the parade of '14 candidates to get underway in earnest. Democrat Jason Marks is one of the first out of the blocks, announcing he is a candidate for attorney general. The former NM public regulation commissioner is an attorney who may be best known for not getting into any trouble while on the five member panel. Just about every other member he served with had brushes with the law or the ethics books.

Marks faces a tough task. State Auditor Hector Balderas tells me he will also seek the Dem nomination for AG. He will finish his second four year term as auditor next year. He expanded his name ID when he sough the Dem nod for US Senate in 2012, and he has cash left from that campaign that he can use for the AG run. You can see why Marks is getting an early start.

There are a lot of other Dems names floating as possible for an AG run. On the R side, Clovis area District Attorney Matt Chandler who lost to Dem Gary King in 2010 is said to be weighing another bid...

Not only doesn't there seem much interest among Dems to take on Governor Martinez next year, what about lieutenant governor? That's almost always a crowded field for the Dem nomination, but we aren't hearing many names yet. Brian Colon, who was the 2010 Dem Light Guv nominee, is considering running for the '14 Dem Guv nomination.

DEM CHAIR RACE

A good battle is shaping up for Dem Party state chair. Attorney and former Eddy County Commissioner Roxanne Lara and ABQ attorney Sam Bregman are the two main contenders. Bregman started the race as the favorite but Lara is picking up momentum. Reader Charlotte Roybal comes with this news:

The Santa Fe Democratic County Convention this past weekend had Roxanne Lara taking 75% of the delegate votes from our county. It looks like she has 30 committed votes out of our 40 delegates to the State Central Committee. Roxanne and her team have been working Santa Fe County hard, even though Sam Bregman has been touting the Santa Fe County Chair has endorsed him. 

Big Bernalillo County picks delegates to the state central committee this weekend who in turn will pick the new chairman to replace Javier Gonzalez. That meeting is at the end of April

THE MAYORAL TRAIL

Paul Heh
Retired APD Seargent Paul Heh is out on the mayoral campaign  trail. The Republican hopeful is not going to qualify for public financing but he is working to file the 3,000 petition signatures that would get his name on the ballot, If he makes it, here is some of what he says he will run on:

Berry appointed Darren White as the city’s Public Safety Director who later resigned in disgrace. This was after a vote of “no confidence” from APD and AFD, and after his wife’s car crash, where her true sobriety or impairment was never determined.

Berry kept Schultz who will resign in disgrace after ruining APD, while a major Department of Justice  investigation is underway, where APD personnel say morale is at an all-time low, where numerous national level scandals continue to tarnish the department, where it is grossly understaffed and over budgeted, and where just juror’s tagged the city with a $10,000,000 judgment on Friday.

Mayor Berry and Dem Pete Dinelli have also announced mayoral bids. Margaret Aragon de Chavez has not announced a formal bid, but is collecting petition signatures. APD Chief Schultz said Monday he will retire at the end of July

HISPANIC WAVE

From the AP:

The District of Columbia, Hawaii, California, New Mexico and Texas have minority populations greater than 50 percent. By 2020, eight more states are projected to join the list: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey and New York. Latinos already outnumber whites in New Mexico; California will tip to a Latino plurality next year...By 2039, racial and ethnic minorities will make up a majority of the U.S. working-age population, helping to support a disproportionately elderly white population through Social Security and other payroll taxes. More than 1 in 4 people ages 18-64 will be Latino.

JOBLESS RATE

Okay, the Guv and the legislators celebrating passage of that controversial tax package Saturday got everything they wanted. So now will it deliver the jobs? Something needs too because this economy is still flat as a pancake:

New Mexico’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.6 percent in January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Monday.The number of unemployed people in the state rose slightly to 62,300 from 61,800 in December. The state’s labor force increased by 1,200 in January to 939,800 from 938,600.

RIDING THE TIGER

Lots of reaction to our big Monday blog wrapping the '13 legislative session. We start with this reader email:

In your blog Monday, you mentioned a Santa Fe wall-leaner's quote from JFK in the context of the fiasco in the state legislature on Saturday. I think there is an even better JFK quote that describes the Democratic Party in New Mexico today--"those who foolishly seek power by riding the back of the tiger often end up inside."

I have been observing NM politics for over a half-century, including as an aide to a famous US Senator from NM, an aide to a Democratic governor, and as an ordinary citizen, and I can say without doubt that the Democratic Party in New Mexico today is the most leaderless and rudderless I have seen it in my lifetime.

Another Dem writes:

Great blog Monday! Right on...so sad but true.

And another Dem:

Joseph C. Wilson IV to run for Governor of New Mexico in 2014? What do you think about that?"

Wilson is a former US diplomat who lives in Santa Fe.

Republican Reader Darren White said of the blog:

(It was) distraught ramblings of a man on the edge."

Thanks, Darren. We like to think of it as the "cutting edge."

MORE MAIL

Reader Michael Lamb writes:

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” (Winston Churchill)...Once again, thanks for the insightful and hard-hitting analysis.

Javier Gonzales, chairman of the NM Democratic Party, writes:

I disagree with some of your assessments about the legislative session in Monday's blog. Democrats had arguably one of the most productive sessions over the last few years. From day one, Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez and House Speaker Kenny Martinez presented a united front and outlined an ambitious Democratic agenda that was a 100% focused on job creation for New Mexico families. In addition to job creation, we focused on social justice issues, including increasing the minimum wage and creating pay equity for women. Furthermore, Democrats spearheaded the creation of the Health Exchange, the state vehicle that will implement the Affordable Care Act....  

These major initiatives are impressive by most standards, but it's made even more so when you consider that Democrats passed them during this 60 day session. Make no doubt we are ready for the 2014 elections - from recruitment, to training, to running strong campaigns - Democrats are ready for the fight. 

Reader and longtime state politics watcher Mike Santullo used to be a Democrat. He's now an independent. He writes:

Joe, you definitely framed the campaign for '14 and it will make it easier for someone like Sam Bregman to come in as chairman and sweep out the weaklings and jelly fish. The legislative results will also allow him to challenge the "DINOS"--Democrats In Name Only--and threaten to run candidates against those who rolled over. The Democratic Party is now sorely in need of a leader to get them back in shape.

Reader Sebastian Ramirez writes:

Joe, I've enjoyed your blog for many years; I depend on it to keep up to date on "La Politica." However, I was offended by your characterization of the final hour of the legislative session, "as an abortion performed with a coat hanger," in your blog of March 18. Abortion kills a human fetus, regardless of the implement used; whereas, the end of a legislative session is just that.

Think you are right on that one, Sebastian. We overreached and will keep your thoughts in mind in the future.

Reader Sterling Fluharty said on Twitter:

...(Joe) seems to have hit his stride, if the lack of typos in today's post is any indication...

Having fewer typos was a New Year's resolution here, but we're only now getting around to it.

Thanks for the comments.

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