Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Why The Guv Broke With GOP Chair On Independent Primary Voting, Plus: Foes Of GOP Chair Appear To Lay Groundwork For His Ouster, And: A Befuddled ABQ City Council 

No wonder Gov. Martinez broke with GOP State Chairman John Billingsley and embraced the concept of allowing independent voters to cast ballots in the primary elections of the state's two major parties. Reliable insider polling has Martinez garnering 60 percent support form independents. Combine that with 90 percent support form Republicans and you have a recipe for re-election. Why bruise the egos of independents by standing against them and getting them mad at you just in time for November? Let Billingsley take the party line against them. Besides, Martinez has never been much of a party person. In fact R's tell us her organization has effectively supplanted the state GOP by starving the party of funding. . .

By the way the Alligator odds are long that the Legislature would ever get a bill out allowing Indys to vote in party primaries. If they are to get that right, it will very likely have to come from the courts.

It looks as if the Guv's machine is preparing to make a move to oust Billingsley when his term as GOP chairman expires after the Nov 4 election. A very miffed GOP State Rep, Zach Cook of Ruidoso let loose on Billingsley in a letter he sent to all members of the Republican State Central Committee. (Full letter here).

Cook had a GOP primary challenger last June who was largely financed by Roswell oilman Mark Murphy and friends. They raised some $60,000 for Cook's opponent and have been at odds with the Guv's political machine. Cook wrote that Billingsley is part of that disgruntled wing of the GOP:

None of us is entitled to our elected position and I don’t have a problem being challenged But I do have a problem with party officials creating in-fighting and wasting resources attacking solid Republicans. Even though they spent over $60,000 in my race, I still ended up winning with 62% of the vote. Why? Because rank-and-file Republicans are focused on the issues and our real opponents. It’s only people like Billingsley and a handful around him who are unfocused and pursuing personal agendas.

Cook did everything but call for Billingsley's ouster but that will come soon enough. Billingsley hasn't said if he will seek another two year term as party chair.

The dispute lurks in the background as R's try to take control of the narrowly divided state House. Oil country Republicans and other R's opposed to the Santa Fe regime want to take control of the House but they are not enamored with the prospect of taking orders from a Republican speaker aligned with the Governor, NM Republican National Committeeman Pat Rogers and Guv chief operative Jay McCleskey.


The often befuddled but most often seemingly bored nine member ABQ City Council is in a tizzy over public comment devouring too much of the councilors precious time. They want to limit public comments to the first 30 persons who sign up to speak and give them two minutes each. That's mainly because of the many protesters of APD's fatal police shootings who have come forward to eviscerate the council for a lack of demonstrated oversight, overt concern or a clear adversarial relationship with the Mayor when one was and is clearly needed.

The councilors say it's the time that is the problem, that they have legislating to do and can only listen to so much public comment. One of the councilor's says he sees "a serious loss of energy" when bills are considered late at night because public comment ran long. That really hits the nail on the head. This council doesn't only lack energy late at night, it's an around-the-clock-problem. There's not a hell-raiser in the bunch. And that's the essence of the problem. Hell-raising, pushing for change and voicing opinions is what the public has been doing at  these council meetings. You have to have some of that stuff in you to understand it and empathize with it when you see it.

We need new non-tired blood on the council. Like Mayor Berry, they seemed either overwhelmed or disinterested. Maybe we'll get some in the 2015 election cycle. Until then, someone send our energy challenged solons some Geritol.

Meantime, that other semi-functional panel--the ABQ School Board--may be headed for major legal trouble as it makes a move on APS Superintendent Winston Brooks. He is no favorite of the Martinez administration having tangled with her controversial Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera. But several members of the board seem quite pliable by Martinez and company and willing to do their bidding.

A number of our Alligators wonder if the secret investigation of Brooks commissioned by the APS board president and said by TV news to center on conduct by Brooks' wife--is a byproduct of a Martinez push to oust Brooks? Let's see where this heads. If this report turns out to be a tempest in the teapot, the smell of politics will grow stronger. But that wouldn't surprise you, would it?


The Domenici Institute at NMSU likes to foster public debate over key issues so why don't they do that with the 2014 race for NM Governor? The Institute says of its Sept. 17-18 conference:

After lunch, the New Mexico gubernatorial candidates — incumbent Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, and Democratic challenger Gary King — will each present their platforms.

Why not have them debate after lunch? Wouldn't that make the Institute all the more relevant? Just asking. . .

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