Friday, March 13, 2015

The Balderas-Colon Eyebrow Raiser And New Mexican Editor Clipped For DWI 

UPDATE: In a rare move, the state Senate Friday rejected the nomination of Matt Chandler to the UNM Board of Regents.

Balderas & Colon
For people acutely tuned to La Politica the big story of the week was a bolt out of the blue: The political team of Attorney General Hector Balderas and former NM Democratic Party Chairman Brian Colón endorsed Republican Matt Chandler for a slot on the UNM Board of Regents. Their Dem tag team for Chandler was what you call a double eyebrow raiser.

Chandler is a longtime member of the Guv's political machine who served as treasurer of the PAC that scorched Democrats and helped bring the R's control of the House in last year's election. Colón is an attorney with the ABQ firm of Robles, Rael Anaya which does considerable contract work for governmental entities, including the state. He has been an effective fund-raiser for Gov. Richardson and Balderas and has nurtured Balderas' political career.

Senate Dems have stalled the Chandler nomination because of his ties to the Guv's machine which makes the Balderas and Colón endorsement all the more problematic with the Democratic base. This is one of the few times that Senate Dems have stood up to the Martinez operation. Of course, that always comes with a price. Dem ABQ Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto, who vigorously questioned Chandler's machine ties at a Senate committee hearing, is now the target of machine radio ads in his swing district condemning him for his opposition to right-to-work legislation.

We asked Balderas, a prospective '18 Dem Guv contender, about the endorsement of Republican Chandler. He replied:

At the request of Mr. Chandler, I informed the Senate Rules Committee that I worked with him as State Auditor on two high-profile corruption cases which led to conviction and removal of office. I offered the letter of support to assist the Senate Rules Committee in their confirmation process, which I greatly respect.

That letter is here.

Plenty of Alligator email on the Balderas-Colón-Chandler team-up. This one was typical:

Chandler had support from Hector Balderas and Brian Colón, but that will be a problem for Balderas in the long term. Balderas did not anticipate the political consequences of supporting someone, who five months ago funneled a million dollars to (Guv political adviser) Jay McCleskey, and was used to defeat the House Democrats.

Chandler didn't exactly "funnel" money to the Advance NM PAC, but he was its treasurer.

Chandler is a former Clovis area district attorney who in 2010 was the GOP nominee for attorney general and was defeated by Dem Gary King. He abruptly resigned as DA in early 2014. He was appointed as a special prosecutor by Gov. Martinez in a judicial bribery case that touched Gov. Richardson, but the case crashed and burned.

Sidebar: Chandler's father, who is a former Clovis police chief and ran as a Democrat against GOP Congressman Joe Skeen back, in the 80's, has been named by Gov. Martinez to the Interstate Stream Commission. Well, at least one Chandler had smooth sailing.


The editor of the Santa Fe New Mexican was arrested early Thursday on an aggravated DWI charge. Maybe he was drowning his sorrows over the lack of real news emanating from the Roundhouse this session. Or maybe he hit the bottle when Rep. Kenny Martinez said some rapes were the result of drunken college sex." Or it could have been over that photo of Rep. Stephanie Maez that Majority Leader Nate Gentry was caught scrawling sarcastic love notes on. Being forced to watch all of that unfold is enough to make any ink-stained wretch embark on a Lost Weekend.

Thanks for stopping by this week.

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