Tuesday, April 30, 2013

R Dream Of Taking Over State House Faces Los Alamos Hurdle, Plus: Heather's Escape; Readers React, And: Some Spiffy Writing From A Politico  

Rep. Richard
One of the key seats--perhaps the key one--in the Republican dream of engineering a 2014 take over of the New Mexico State House is held by freshman Democratic Stephanie Garcia Richard.

It is so important to them that when Richard waffled in the recent legislative session on her pledge to support the repeal of driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, Governor Martinez personally went on the attack, accusing Richard of breaking her campaign promise.

It was a signal that the Guv's political operation was going to target the Los Alamos area rep.

But it may be turning out to be one of those easier said than done deals. Insider R's are fretting that they don't yet have a heavy-hitter candidate to unseat Richard, a school teacher who claimed the seat by beating GOP State Rep, Jim Hall in 2012. Here's how a GOP player put it to us:

Stephanie is vulnerable on her driver's license votes, but Jim Hall now sits on the school board in Los Alamos and won't be running against her. And the district is not only Los Alamos. It also takes in parts of Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and Sandoval counties. We probably need a Hispanic candidate to make a good run at the race and right now we don't have one.

The current breakdown of the state House is 38 Dems and 32 R's. The GOP needs a pick up of three to tie it up or take it over for the first time in decades. The obstacles already surfacing in Los Alamos show that they will need some breaks to accomplish either.


Reader reaction to that snarky reader comment posted here Friday (see below) about the departure from New Mexico of former ABQ GOP Congresswoman and 2012 US Senate candidate Heather Wilson. She leaving the state to take ea job as president of  the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Here's Tom Greer in Tome:

You know a love for New Mexico doesn't put food on the table. Heather has world class credentials as a Rhodes Scholar and Air Force veteran. If the jobs aren't here our best are going to leave. She isn't the first one with exceptional skills to depart the Land of Enchantment. The brightest and the best continue to flee the stagnant job picture in New Mexico. I wish her the best of luck, South Dakota landed a good one.

And former Lt. Governor Diane Denish also weighed in on Heather's exit:

Your reader who commented on Heather Wilson's departure may be right about her work to steer work to Oak Ridge Labs in Tennessee and at the Nevada test site, but they are off base with the snarky comment about "loving New Mexico." Loving New Mexico and loving what is happening here are different. 

Heather, like other talent of both political parties and across professional sectors and ages has recognized that what is happening here is nothing. We have become the Land of No Opportunity with no leadership. Popular leaders and transformational leaders are not the same. We have the former but not the latter. Who can fault Heather or anyone else for recognizing that and opening a new chapter in a new location?

Point taken, Di, but South Dakota? The land of the perennial snow plow? That sounds more like punishment than opportunity.


Besides electing ABQ attorney Sam Bregman as their new state chairman Saturday, Dems on the state central committee also elected these officials:

ABQ's Kathy Duffy is the new DPNM Vice Chair, DPNM Secretary Michelle Mares was re-elected. Elected as DPNM Treasurer was Kristine "Kooch" Jacobus. Also elected were Congressional District 1 Vice-Chairs Jim Buhaug and Pamelya Herndon, CD-2 Vice Chairs Fred Moran and Stephanie Dubois and CD-3 Vice-Chairs Martin Suazo and Katherine Duran.


The city clerk says Mayor Berry and Pete Dinelli have filed the needed 3,000 petition signatures from registered city voters to be placed on the October city election ballot, but there is still a wee bit of  suspense over retired APD Sergeant and Republican Paul Heh.

He told me he turned in a total of 7,600 signatures by the deadline, but the clerk is still checking to make sure at least 3,000 of them are valid. She has over a week to complete the task. Heh says the clerk has already verified 2,400 signatures so he only needs 600 more from several thousand left to be checked. He said he used both volunteers and paid employees to get the signatures.

If no candidate gets 50% of the vote in the first round of balloting Oct. 8, a mayoral run-off between the top two contenders is held about a month later.


State Auditor Hector Balderas hopes to make it Attorney General Hector Balderas. He formally enters the 2014 race for the Dem AG nomination today:

...After enthusiastic encouragement from supporters across the state, I formally entered the race to become New Mexico’s next Attorney General. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as State Auditor (and we have more work to do before my second term ends), as a prosecutor, and in the New Mexico House of Representatives. I have devoted my career to public service and I welcome the prospect of continuing to serve and fight for New Mexicans as their Attorney General.

Balderas starts as the front-runner for the nomination and the race to replace AG King who is running for the Dem nod for Governor.


Santa Fe chocolate shop owner Chuck Higgins, who earlier this year told us he was making a run for the 2014 Dem nod for Lt. Governor, writes:

Joe, In an effort to make a splash but achieving a ripple, it has become clear to me that the Lieutenant Governor campaign as a Democrat in the 2014 election will be done by someone other than me. I pulled the plug on the campaign this past week.


Ray Powell
We don't know if he has a ghost writer, but this is some pretty spiffy writing from State Land Commissioner Ray Powell. He put it together for the Dona Ana County Dem Party newsletter:

In New Mexico there is a long and proud tradition of being connected to the land. Our citizens take pride in their agricultural roots and their shared daily interactions with the natural world. 

Our sovereign tribal nations and traditional Hispanic communities have been connected to the land for hundreds of years and their spiritual foundations are based on their connections to special places where their families have harvested crops, wildlife, and the sacred water that has sustained them. More recently, residents from across the globe have been drawn to the beauty and grandeur of these special places and have settled here to raise their families and make their livelihoods.

May it always be so.

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