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Monday, July 14, 2014

The Heinrich-Hillary Early Honeymoon; What's That All About? Plus: Weh's Woes: Big Government Is His Big Friend 

Why is the new guy on the block so eager to go with the old guard? That's the question in the wake of Dem US Sen. Martin Heinrich's very early endorsement of Hillary Clinton--if she decides to seek the '16 presidential nomination.

Heinrich is going all in for Clinton, attending a weekend ABQ North Valley "Ready for Hillary" event and issuing this statement of tribute:

. . .  I am joining millions of Americans in pledging my support to former first lady, senator and secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, should she choose to run for president in 2016. The next presidential election may seem far off, and it is. But this will be a tough campaign with a lot at stake. As she makes her decision, I want Secretary Clinton to know that people across the country share her values and believe that she will be the best person to lead us at this critical time.

Maybe. Maybe not. There is plenty of Clinton fatigue going around, and look what happened in '08. Obama knocked the front runner tag off her lapel in no time at all. And here we are again with Hillary being presented as the default candidate but with that reminder of her glass jaw far from erased.

Heinrich pulled out a close and important 2010 re-election bid for the ABQ US House seat by veering to the left and planting his flag in the liberal SE NM Heights. It set him up for his 2012 US Senate win. In that context the endorsement of centrist Clinton seems out of sync.

That former ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez--who fought Heinrich's election to the ABQ city council in 2003--is the chief NM cheerleader for Hillary--shows how Heinrich has joined the establishment Dem camp with this endorsement, rather than remaining outside the circle and taking a wait and see attitude.

Chavez is barely concealing his hope that Hillary will give him a top administration job if she's elected. Maybe something similar is motivating Heinrich this early--like Secretary of Interior?

ABQ Dem Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham has also come out early for Hillary, but notably Dem US Sen. Tom Udall--facing re-election this year--has not. And speaking of the senate campaign. .

WEH'S WOES

Did Republican US Senate candidate Allen Weh just have the stool pulled out from under him? He constantly attacks gridlock in Washington and Udall for bering a "big government politician" but it turns out that it is Weh who is directly benefiting from big government and in a big way. From the Los Angeles Times:

As a Republican candidate for Senate retired Marine Col. Allen Weh says it's time for tougher border security. As a businessman, Weh stands to benefit from the border crisis. His air charter company, CSI Aviation Inc., is the largest private contractor for ICE Air, the aviation wing of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, winning more than $560 million in ICE contracts since 2010. President Obama is seeking $3.7 billion from Congress to help stem the surge of young immigrants from Central America crossing the Southwest border. The proposal includes $116 million for transportation, and a good portion of that is likely to go to CSI.

And Weh's response

Our country is knee-deep in a humanitarian, emergency response situation that appears will only get worse before it gets better. As the CEO of CSI Aviation, I have only one concern and that’s to make sure that every detainee, every woman and child who is in our care while being transported, whether they are here legally or illegally, and our crews and support staff, all arrive safely.

Political insiders have long known of Weh's lucrative government contracts, but the public at large has not. It complicates his uphill battle to take Udall out as he argues against the very government that is making him a wealthy man.

Weh is not alone in the Republican camp in singing the praises of the "free market" but actually making a living from the Feds. ABQ GOP Mayor Berry's construction company was deemed a minority business because it is owned by his wife of Hispanic heritage. Federal contracts were a chief reason for its success--not the "free market." And Republican Governor Martinez--who also preaches the evil of big government and the wonders of the private sector--has been a government employee just about all of her  adult life, serving as an assistant district attorney, district attorney and another four as governor.

It is this brush with hypocrisy that Weh must now overcome.

WORK FOR WHITE

Former Bernalillo County sheriff, former ABQ public safety director and Martinez political insider Darren White has left a management position at the ABQ Downs Racetrack and Casino and announces he is becoming a private investigator. One of the Alligators already has some assignments for him:

Maybe someone will hire Darren to investigate the allegations of bid-rigging in the awarding of a racino lease for the Downs, first gentleman Chuck Franco's hunt for alligators in Louisiana where the Downs' owners are based, and former ABQ police chief Ray Schultz's issues with Taser International and the contract he "greased" for them with the city. White could also help track down all those city-issued cell phones that disappeared (including White's) after a district court judge ordered them turned over because they'd been used to photograph attorney Mary Han after she'd been found dead under suspicious circumstances.

The FBI has investigated the racino lease, but no charges have been brought. Schultz's controversial relationship with Taser remains unexplored and the death of Han--suicide or murder?--continues to create legal fallout. It was also the subject of a recent KNME-TV roundtable discussion.

BEEF OVER ROAST BEEF

If you can't blog about roast beef burritos during the dog days of summer, when can you? Our plea for New Mexican restaurants in ABQ--not just  Santa Fe--to include them on their menus brings out the foodies. One reader pointed out that the Copper Lounge near UNM serves the tasty entree, and veteran politico and ABQ radio talk show pioneer Mike Santullo comes with yet another:

Another delicious roast beef burrito in ABQ is at "The Burrito Lady" located on Eubank near Lomas. She's been there for almost 10 years and makes the most delicious roast beef burrito I have ever had. It's a very small hole in the wall, but she has lines out the door at 6:30 in the morning and for lunch. Best kept secret in ABQ. She specializes in what she calls "Santa Rosa NM" style cooking. Very home style and delicious.

Santa Rosa style cooking? Nice, But we'll have to clear that with the Campos family in Santa Rosa as they hold forth at Joseph's Bar and Grill on historic Route 66.

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