Thursday, November 13, 2014

Round The Roundhouse: "The Netflix Session" To Come, Gaming The Senate And A Judge Who Defied The Odds 

Here's more on what's in store for the NM House Dems as they assume minority status for the first time in 60 years in the next session of the Legislature starting in January. From a Roundhouse wall-leaner:

House Dems will now do what House Republicans used to do for decades. Sign in at roll call, and watch the other side's show. House Dems have long lunches ahead while Republicans caucus to actually pass a budget and legislation. The Dem leaders will do what they've seen Republicans resort to for all the time the members have served -- engage in long debates to slow things down when possible. They will toss out amendments which will be defeated but hope to someday use those votes against the R's in a future election.  House Dems will look for leadership that can speak at length, sound articulate, but can expect to do little more for the next two years. The Dems will be painfully watching the clock, and coveting those back row seats where they can watch Netflix without prying eyes in the gallery above.

Meanwhile Rep. Patty Lundstrom of McKinley and San Juan counties says she is weighing a run for minority leader and joining Reps Egolf and Alcon in that chase. She's been in the House since 2001. 

Let's shift it over to the state Senate where one of our Senior Alligators games it out this way:

Just as during the Richardson administration we will have a NM House Speaker from the Governor's own party and at her beck and call. All real action will be over in the Senate. The Senate proudly takes its independence from the executive branch very seriously, and this election changes practically nothing in that upper chamber. The Dem Senate will now be the only check on total Republican control of state government and policy. Republican Sen. Leader Ingle was already talking about putting a right to work bill on the Governor's desk the day after the House election loss.

The now open majority whip position could become important with Sen. Tim Keller moving out after his election as Auditor. If a Senate committee chairman claims the whip post--and Sen. John Sapien is one of three running--that would open his Education Committee chairmanship.


Republican Jim McClure writes:

Unique as New Mexico claims to be, we’re still affected by national trends. One such trend is growing voter pushback against teachers’ unions in Wisconsin and other states. So perhaps a promise to roll back school reform should not have been the centerpiece of Gary King’s campaign. I am thankful for small blessings. however. Because of the accident of Gov. Martinez’ gender, we were spared the tiresome "war on women” campaign the Dems ran in other states. I’m also curious: As a recovering public opinion researcher, I have to wonder if our local politicos conduct polls and focus groups on issues as well as candidate preference. Would Gary King’s opposition to school reform, or Dem secretary of state candidate Maggie Tolouse Oliver’s softness on voter fraud, have passed muster in a serious round of issue research?

A self-described Junior Alligator writes:

Did Republican Secretary of State Diana Duran win the election for the Republicans this year by getting rid of straight ticket voting? Look at the final numbers and see where, when forced to actually vote in each individual race, the voters crossed party lines. Would Republican Aubrey Dunn be land commissioner if there were straight ticket voting?  Would Duran still be secretary of state with it?

the straight ticket is thought to help the Dems most. But only 14 states now provide for straight ticket voting so the Dems are going to have to learn to live without it. 


Judge Miles Hanisee
Freshly elected NM Court of Appeals Judge Miles Hanisee is accepting congratulations from both sides of the aisle over the election win he marked up. It is not very often that a Republican gets elected to that statewide office and this was close. He won 51% to 49% over Dem Kerry Kiernan. Hanisee was appointed by the Guv to fill a court vacancy and had to seek election in his own right. One of the readers comes with the story: 

Bill Riordan (NMSC), Christina Armijo, Sutin, Kennedy and now Hanisee are the only five Republicans who have been elected to appellate courts since 1981, and I'm given to understand that's the case for more than another 30 years before that.

Running two statewide races chasing the job like Miles did involves more than 200,000 miles put on cars, developing a deeper relationship with your windshield than your family sometimes), endless mountains of overcooked chicken and undercooked green beans, and the pressure to be a true partisan when you know that Democrats are the ones who will elect you--if you can just meet enough of them and have a chat.

As noted above Hanisee ran a vigorous campaign that included TV ads. His Dem opponent did not appear on the airwaves.


In our first draft Wednesday we made a mistake when we said that Speaker Ken Martinez was the second Dem Speaker to be removed from power in the modern era. Actually, he is the third. Here's the chronology:

Speaker Martinez's father was removed by a conservative coalition in 1979. Dem Gene Samberson served as speaker from '79 to '82. Dem Speaker Raymond Sanchez broke the coalition and served from '83 to '84. Then Sanchez was dethroned by the conservative cowboy coalition with Samberson again becoming speaker for '85 and '86. Raymond Sanchez broke the coalition for good, becoming speaker again in 1987 and serving until 2000. It was a tumultuous period in state history. . .

And we referenced Valencia County GOP Rep. Alonzo Baldonado as "minority whip" when in fact he is majority whip. It's going to take some getting used to, Alonzo. . .

Let's give the final word on Election '14 to the late, legendary Arizona Democratic Congressman Mo Udall:

"The people have spoken. Those bastards."

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