Monday, September 30, 2013

The Guv Snub: Susana Stands Up Arizona Governor Brewer Showcasing NM GOP Split, Plus: GOP Senate Positioning, And: What's For Dinner, Sidonie?  

Sanchez & Brewer
Lt. Governor John Sanchez did his best to make Arizona GOP Governor Jan Brewer feel welcome at a Friday night fund-raiser for the NM Republican Party, but there was no hiding it--Brewer was the target of a Guv snub.

Susana was nowhere to be seen, raising the question of whether this is the first time a sitting Governor failed to greet a visiting Governor from the same political party? Well, maybe Susana talked to Jan on the phone?

And as we reported exclusively earlier this month, Susana believes there is good reason for not greeting Brewer.

Now we are the only media with the inside story of the big split in the GOP that was on full display Friday night. Will it impact the 2014 election? Read on....

The fund-raiser was held at the ABQ North Valley home of GOP businessman Tom Tinnin. He crossed swords with the Guv over what he and critics call the down and dirty ABQ Downs deal--the 25 year racino lease approved by the administration over the loud protests of Tinnin and that the FBI has asked questions about.

Not even tasty barbecue catered to the crowd in Tinnin's backyard could entice Susana. She was not about to break bread with her avowed enemy--Jan Brewer or no Jan Brewer. It's not this Guv's style to forgive or forget.

And then there's the new chairman of the party--John Billingsley of SE NM. He's on friendly terms with the wing of the GOP that is decidedly unfriendly toward Susana. She apparently is not interested in filling state party coffers with money that would be under Billingsley's control.

Two of those attending said there were about 100 guests on hand who bought tickets to the $150 a plate and more sit-down dinner. That ought to at least keep the lights on for a while at GOP headquarters. They are now operating with a skeleton crew.

Among those on hand Friday night were ABQ State Reps Bill Rehm, Tom Anderson, Larry Larrañaga and Jimmie Hall. State Senate Minority Leader Stu Ingle came in from Clovis and ABQ State Senate Minority Whip Bill Payne was also spotted. 2010 GOP Guv hopeful Doug Turner also made it.

Notably absent was ABQ GOP Mayor Richard Berry who has close ties to Martinez.

Former GOP Chairman Harvey Yates, Jr., who has been publicly critical of Martinez, was there. In a bit of irony he shared grins with former GOP Chairman Allen Weh. It was Yates' near endorsement of Martinez over Weh in the 2010 GOP Guv primary that had a good deal to do with ending Weh's chances. But as they say, politics makes for strange bedfellows. Or in this case, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."


One Republican insider was critical of the NM GOP for showcasing conservative Brewer. He put it this way:

The GOP has spent months traveling around the state pushing Hispanic outreach, yet invited a keynote speaker to their fall fundraiser who many deem as anti-Hispanic. Brewer’s crackdown on illegal immigrants was deemed unconstitutional. Maybe RPNM Chairman Billingsley doesn’t see the hypocrisy, but protesters lined up outside the gathering and along Rio Grande Blvd. with signs denouncing Gov. Brewer’s policies as “anti-Hispanic.” 


Also on hand for the Brewer event was Robert Aragon, the ABQ attorney who turned R when he was bounced out as a Dem ward chairman for supporting R's.

He later won a seat on the state Board of Finance courtesy of Susana.

Now Aragon is eagerly eyeing a possible run for the GOP US Senate nomination and the right to take on Dem US Senator Tom Udall in '14.

The scuttlebutt is that maybe Weh has grown cooler to the idea of taking on Udall who is heavily favored for re-election. But even if Weh were sidelined, Aragon could still get primary competition. Dona Ana County GOP Chairman David Clements was also on hand to shake Brewer's hand. He is said to be ready to announce a Senate bid in mid-October.


Was that former GOP Bernallio County Commissioner  Michael Wiener in the crowd at the Brewer party? Sure was, say our insiders on the scene.

In 2012, then-Commissioner Wiener was caught up in a sexcapades scandal over a visit to the Philippines. He is what you call a true survivor--or at the least a politician who never gives up on that idea.

Wiener has been a Democrat, a Republican, a state senator, a city councilor and a county commissioner. And you can sing that to the the tune of Sinatra's "That's Life"..."I've been a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king..."

When's the book coming out, Michael?


That Susana spent Friday in the ABQ area made her snub of Governor Jan all the more noticeable.

It's not like she was out of state on one of her now ubiquitous fund-raising trips to fill her re-election coffers. No, she was in Rio Rancho hailing the addition of 50 jobs by Stolar Research, a Raton-based tech company that just happens to get a huge chunk of change from the federal government via defense contracts.

The addition of the jobs is good news, but it comes on the heels of Intel announcing that it would be cutting and/or relocating 400 employees at its Rio Rancho plant. Checking our math, that means you have 350 jobs to go, Guv, just to make up for that big hit.

The ceremony opening Stolar was particularly poignant coming as it did amid the threat from House Republicans in DC to shut down the United States government if Obamacare isn't shelved.

The Governor and Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela decried the DC gridlock at the Stolar event. But are Barela and the Governor putting pressure on any of the tea party R's to stop the nonsense and keep our federal payrolls flowing as we continue to struggle with a stagnant economy?

In case Santa Fe misplaced it, the number for the US Capitol switchboard is 202-224-3121.


The three candidates for ABQ Mayor met for their second TV debate over the weekend. Here's the video from the KOB-TV debate that aired Sunday at 10 a.m.

The spin rooms of the candidates put out their takes. Here's Berry's and here's Dinelli's. And here's Paul  Heh's website.

Tonight at 7 p.m. KNME-TV will air the final of three mayoral TV debates.


Mayor Berry critic Silvio Dell'Angela is critical of the polls in the mayoral contest:

The pre-election polls by the ABQ Journal and Joe Monahan serve no purpose except to tell lazy, uninformed or apathetic citizens how to vote, rather than urge them to think for themselves. They are merely propaganda tools-nothing more. If I were running, I would mock these polls saying that since the 400 interviewed said that I can’t win, I guess I’ll drop out of the race. I won’t respond to polls.

Our second mayoral poll conducted last week showed Berry leading Dinelli 61-26. Heh had 5%. The Journal's survey released Sept. 8 had Berry leading Dinelli 63-18, with Heh getting 2%.


(NM Mercury pic)
The political buzz phrase in La Politica last week was: "Say what, Sidonie?"

That 's because Sidonie Squier, the cabinet Secretary for the Department of Human Services which oversees anti-poverty programs, wrote an email in which she said there was no one going hungry in poverty stricken New Mexico.

Here's what she claimed in an email regarding a state Hunger Task Force report:

Since there has never been and is not now any significant evidence of hunger in N.M., I would offer that the focus of the report should be on getting proper nutrition to children (and adults).

That had the Dems calling for the executioners axe. With it poised over her political neck, Sidonie did what she had to do to keep her job. She came with this mea culpa that had everyone--including those lined up at the food bank--scratching their collective heads:

I do agree that there are hungry children in New Mexico. I have always thought that. My email was poorly worded, and I apologize for that.

"Poorly worded?" It sounded like a flat-out statement of conviction.

In a conversation we had a number of years ago with the late, great Republican Governor Dave Cargo, we asked him why there did not seem to be any sense of urgency among the New Mexico political leadership or the public at large over the widespread poverty that many here face. He replied:

"Joe, they don't see it. It's not right in front of them."

Well, Cargo did see it as he traversed the state. Maybe that's what Secretary Squier should do if  in the future she wants to avoid writing those "poorly worded emails."

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

E-mail your news and comments. (jmonahan@ix.netcom.com)

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here.      

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2013. Not for reproduction without permission of the author
website design by limwebdesign