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Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Governor From The Legislature?: Not Likely Says History, But We've Got Odds On Names Making The Rounds, Plus: Our Blog Banking Debate Continues 

No state legislator has gone directly from the state House or Senate and into the Governor's chair since Senator Jerry Apodca did the trick in 1974. New Mexicans are not enamored with their Roundhouse reps. That's already starting to come into focus for '14 as several Dem legislators start testing the waters for a Guv run. Here's one of our Alligators sharpening their teeth at the expense of these wannabe Guvs:

It's some sort of strange, myopic behavior in Democratic legislators that makes them believe that after getting their asses handed to them by Susana that they should turn around, face their tormentor and run for Governor. Didn't Senators Joe Cervantes, Linda Lopez and Tim Keller and State Rep. Moe Maestas have their chance to affect change in New Mexico during the recent 60 day legislative session? Where were they in pressing Susana on the economy? Where was their "leadership" when they laid down on the minimum wage or watched their fellow Democratic Senator Daniel Ivey Soto kill gun control? If this is what passes for governing and vision in this crew, Democratic primary voters will eat these guys for lunch and Susana will have them for dinner.

That's the kind of muck you get stuck in when serving in Santa Fe. Voters in both parties don't like the place and favor faces not associated with the sausage making up there. The best bet for the Dems may be what we would call a "Gary Johnson Democrat." Johnson was the outsider Republican who stormed to victory in the 1994 Guv's race. Being able to run against Santa Fe was a major plus.

Having pointed all that out, here's the Alligator take on the legislators who are tossing their names around.

Senator Keller--An attractive candidate, but '14 may not be the right year. A high-profile loss to the incumbent might kill his embryonic political career in the crib, but he would still get to stay in the Senate and seek re-election in '16.  But he's not yet 40 and could have a better shot in the future--if he doesn't get too much muck on him from serving as Senate majority whip. Sidebars: Keller and his wife are expecting their first child this summer, making a run more unlikely and Keller's vote for Susana's corporate tax cut makes it tougher for him to make the economic case against her. Alligators odds on running: 12 to 1 against.

Senator Lopez--She's already announced for the Dem nod. She could not put away the '10 nomination for lieutenant governor and this one is tougher. But Senators aren't up for re-election until '16 so it's a free ride for them to take a try (She voted against the corporate tax cut).

Rep. Maestas--This seems a classic case of keeping your name out there--for the future. The new House majority whip from ABQ will be staying put (He voted for the corporate tax cut). Alligator odds on giving up his House seat and running: 25 to 1 against

Senator Cervantes--He may have the best shot of the legislative lot this cycle. He has the Hispanic credentials the Dems need and while he has served in Santa Fe for a number of years--first in the House and now in the Senate--he comes from far away Dona Ana County and can come across as a fresh face in big Bernalillo County. His personal wealth and TV looks are also assets. His ambivalence has been an Achilles Heel, as has his behind-the-scenes playing with the R's. But he did vote against the Martinez corporate tax cut. Alligator odds on a run: 2 to one against, but closing.

If Cervantes is the play for the Dems, a good running mate for him as lieutenant governor might be someone like Bernalillo County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins. An Anglo female from the state's largest county matches up well with a Hispanic male from the south.

UNSTOPPABLE SAM

Sam Bregman has never shied away from tooting his own horn and he's not about to start now. The ABQ attorney and candidate for the chairmanship of the state Democratic Party sums up his effort this way in his latest news release:

Bregman Surge Unstoppable--All Counties, All Regions

Run for your life, Roxanne Lara! She's Bregman's chief rival for the party leadership post. The Democratic party central committee--about 400 members--meet in Las Cruces April 27 to decide the race. And that is pretty much unstoppable.

BANK BLOGGING

We've had some interesting discussion this week about banking in New Mexico and the role it's playing--or not playing--in getting the state economy moving. Reader Paul Stokes of Corrales continues it with a response to comments from Jerry Walker, president of the Independent Community Bankers Association of NM:

...It is hard to assess the accuracy of the statement that the Dodd-Frank banking act is bad, and local bankers are "buried under a sea of compliance issues."There is always the lament that regulation is interfering with business. But regulation is obviously necessary, as Walker implies by his discussion of how the big banks ignore them. So, without further elaboration of the workload required to comply with those regulations, I'll take that part of his complaint with a grain of salt.

Reader Juan E. Fernández Ceballos, vice president of governmental affairs for the Credit Union Association of New Mexico, offers an answer to the question: "Where are the bankers?":

Where are the bankers? They’re in Washington DC trying to crush credit union efforts to increase the help they provide to businesses, members, communities and pushing to increase credit union taxation.

While banks have indeed been making headlines for all the wrong reasons, they have also greatly reduced lending to our entrepreneurs and businesses. Credit unions are trying to fill that need but bankers are fighting them, trying to limit the support credit unions can give without taking steps themselves to help. Consumers are voting with their feet and dollars. As banks try to squeeze every last dime they can out of our economy and working families, consumers have taken notice. The result? Credit unions are thriving. New Mexico credit union membership has grown by more than 100,000 over the last five years and the national trend is similar. Membership rose significantly as consumers rejected banks and discovered the importance credit unions place on serving their memberships, businesses and communities. I encourage your readers to see what the excitement is about and take a look at becoming an member owner at a credit union.

Also, we have been pursuing legislation to create jobs and help New Mexico out of the economic downturn. HR 688, the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Creation Act would free credit unions from banker-supported arbitrary caps on small business lending, leading to the creation of more than 1,500 jobs in the first year right here in New Mexico.

Is there any angle to New Mexico economic anguish that hasn't been covered on the blog and with a frankness and perspective you don't get anywhere else? We don't think so, and we thank our readers for their help.

THE BOTTOM LINES

We blogged yesterday about how Governor Martinez Chief of Staff has dropped off the media radar and why, but he is still out and about--if not on TV screens or web sites. Gardner was the guest speaker Tuesday at the ABQ Chamber of Commerce "bizconnect series." Hmm. Wonder if there any audio recordings of that?....

Here's our favorite headline of the week featuring Attorney General and Dem Guv candidate Gary King:

King Vows To Ride Herd On Horse Meat

Considering the King family made its fortune in the cattle and land biz, we suppose no other potential Guv contender can match Gary's prowess when it comes to ferreting out horse meat.

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