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Thursday, February 06, 2014

A Bush Is Back: Jeb To Campaign For Susana, Also: Guv's Re-elect Bid; Downs Sword Still Dangles. And: More On The Pleas Of Omaree 

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Don't even ask about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie campaigning for Governor Martinez this year.

Bridgegate has made him a political pariah and appears to have doomed his shot at the '16 GOP presidential nomination and with it any chance that Martinez might have had of being his running mate. So Christie, you exit stage right. And you, Jeb Bush, get up here.

We've learned the former Florida governor, brother of W and a possible GOP prez contender will campaign for Martinez March 26 at the swanky Las Campanas country club near Santa Fe. That's sure to get the tongues wagging about a Bush-Martinez ticket, especially now that her flirtation with Christie seems flat.

Campaign rules don't allow the Guv to raise money until well after the legislative session is over, but not to worry about missing out. Invites seeking contributions will go out March 12.

The lunch is being hosted by David Girard-diCarlo and his wife. He is a longtime GOP donor and former US Ambassador to Austria under President George W.

As for Jeb and New Mexico, we ceased being a swing state and have gone heavy Dem in the prez contests of '08 and '12, but would Jeb's connection to the Hispanic community--his wife is Mexican born--create an opportunity for him here? And his brother narrowly lost the state in 2000 and won it in  '04. It would be interesting to see some polling numbers...

But Jeb and Susana could both be aced out by Florida Sen. Marc Rubio. He could take the prez nomination from Bush and surely wouldn't name a fellow Hispanic to the ticket:

Sen. Marco Rubio’s political stock is rated a buy by major Republican fundraisers in Washington, who are bullish on Rubio’s future as a 2016 presidential candidate. A group of Republican fundraising heavyweights and wise men in Washington’s business community are solidly behind Rubio, and see him not only as someone who could win the White House, but someone they can work with.

DOWNS DEALING

Sen. Lopez
The Governor's national political standing is always grist for the mill, but there is still the matter of her re-election here. She appears well-positioned, but there's a long way to go and there are some swords hanging over her head. If one or two should drop between now and November it could draw blood.

Chief among them could be the hyper-controversial and lucrative 25 year racino lease her administration awarded the Downs at ABQ. She's tried to marginalize the story but it has stuck around like a rug that your cat peed on. You can't get rid of the smell.

ABQ state Senator and '14 Dem Guv candidate Linda Lopez is chair of the Senate Rules Committee. She's going to try to delve into the Downs deal Feb. 10 when the committee considers the Guv's appointees to the state fair commission. This week Lopez came with a letter "inviting" the Governor and her chief political adviser Jay "Buster Screwed Us" McCleskey to appear before the committee and stand for questioning on the Downs deal.

Of course, they won't show. They accuse Lopez of grandstanding, Well, that's part of what you do when you run for Governor, But Lopez has been consistent. Last July she was the first of the Guv candidates to publicly question the shady deal.

Lopez's profile as the only Hispanic female in the Dem Guv run has her admirers gushing that she's the only one who can beat fellow Latina Susana. But those same admirers continue to worry about her organizational abilities and wonder if she can get her campaign in full orbit before it's too late.

The Lopez Downs hearing will keep the issue simmering but if the Legislature really wanted to get to the bottom of that lease which the FBI is investigating, they would have to issue subpoenas and
bring the major players into the Roundhouse.

This Democratic reader questions why New Jersey Dems are doing just that with Christie's Bridgegate, but New Mexico Dems are much more meek when it comes to the Downs dealing:

Joe, a former Christie aide said he had proof Christie knew about closing lanes on the Washington bridge...It appears that political aides are willing to flip on an elected official to save themselves. Using subpoenas is a powerful incentive. Why don't the Democrats in the state House and Senate issue subpoenas to everyone involved with the Downs deal as well as the mental health takeover by Arizona firms? If her administration won't show up to a hearing put them under oath and force them to answer questions or take the 5th. 

More on the Downs deal here.

THE PLEAS OF OMAREE

The APD officers who responded to a 911 call placed by 9 year old Omaree Varela reported they spent two hours on the case, as we blogged Wednesday, but now media reports surface saying they were actually only on the scene for 15 minutes. The officer took no action and did not write a report. They have been placed on paid leave.

The boy died from physical abuse six months after placing this second 911 call pleading for help. His mother is charged. The second call was taped by 911 and its release has shocked the state. It goes on for 21 minutes with the mother and her husband verbally abusing the boy so caustically many of our readers have told us they can't listen to the entire tape.

Interim ABQ Police Chief Allen Banks, who is leaving APD to become chief of police in Round Rock, TX, tells KOAT-TV he was not aware of Omaree's second 911 call on June 22, 2013 until the station aired it this week.

If Banks is being truthful, then a Chief of Police admitting that a reporter knows more about your department than you do is just plain embarrassing. What if Banks is not being truthful? That he did know of the second Omaree cry for help via 911 but was stonewalling KOAT for 40 days over records of the Omaree investigation and now hopes he can head off to Round Rock unscathed?

Since he says he didn't know of this horrific phone call and the 9 year old boy's cry for help went unheeded by APD,  shouldn't there be an internal affairs investigation into why Chief Banks didn't know? Will Mayor Berry or CAO Perry get the ball rolling?

And just why did Banks stonewall the TV station's records requests over Omaree for 40 days?  Was it because he knew of this devastating phone call?  Someone knew something and called the TV station. Why tell the station and not Chief Banks? Was it because the whistle blower was fed up over the stonewalling of APD?

Does Berry think Banks was a good interim chief? What does Berry think about all things Omaree and APD? No comment isn't much of a legacy.

Omaree did not die in vain. He is now the symbol of the apathy that plagues the state and has made us 50th in America in child well-being. His death could serve as the wake-up call we need--if we let it.

POT POSITIONING

Friday morning in the Senate Rules Committee supporters of a constitutional amendment that would allow state voters to decide on legalizing marijuana could see their hopes go up in smoke. That is unless they can convince Dem Senator Clemente Sanchez to support them or take a walk on the vote.

Sanchez is the swing vote and says he will vote against the amendment. Supporters point to a poll done by Senator Ortiz y Pino in Sanchez's district that shows over 80% of the voters there say they want to vote on legalizing pot. They are urging those in support to call Clemente before the vote

CHASING STEPHANIE

More action in that Los Alamos area state House race where Dem Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard drew Republican challenger Geoff Rodgers this week. Now another R wants in. 

Former Los Alamos County Councilor Vincent Chiravalle has entered the June primary race.The winner will take on Richard in November.

The race is of statewide interest because it is one of the contests that could determine which party controls the state House next year. The Dems currently have narrow control.

THE BOTTOM LINES

We had a big blog Wednesday and posted a couple of mistakes before correcting them. The R's last elected a state land commissioner in 2002, not 1986. Also, we said Democratic state treasurer candidate Patrick Padilla is the current Bernalillo County Treasurer. He is a former treasurer....

And we misspelled the name of GOP attorney general candidate Susan Riedel as well as that of Dem lieutenant governor candidate Debra Haaland.

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