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Monday, July 18, 2016

Conspiracy Buffs Fill Summer Of '16 With Speculation On An '18 Udall Guv Run, Plus: Will Susana Say It? Who Will Announce NM Delegate Vote For Trump? And: Guns At The Roundhouse; On The Way Out? 

Sen. Tom Udall
 Speculation over the theory that Dem NM US Senator Tom Udall will run for the 2018 Dem gubernatorial nomination is one of the the more popular summer pastimes as politicos await the start of the fall campaign action.

The theory, already batted around for a year or so, postulates that the 68 year old second term senator will opt to stay along the banks of the Potomac if the Democrats take control of the Senate from the R's this November, but perhaps look to the Fourth Floor of the Merry Roundhouse for his next residence if the R's keep a lock on the 100 member chamber.

Udall stands to benefit if the Dems do wrest control of the senate from the GOP. He's already a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee and his standing on that panel would be enhanced if his party came back to power.

Udall will turn 70 in '18 and those who label the Guv run theory hogwash point to that as one reason he would take a pass on running. They also doubt whether he would relish the polarized political combat that is now inherent to the Santa Fe scene (although there's plenty of that in DC). Also, the state's anemic financial condition is going to mean the next Governor--like this one--is going to face more lean times. That's not exactly a fun filled scenario for a liberal politician of Udall's sort.

Still, the opportunities in New Mexico are as great as its challenges. It has hit bottom in so many economic and social conditions rankings that a Governor willing to take some political risk could turn out to be one of the most influential in the state's history.

Udall, a former two term attorney general and a ten year member of the US House, was re-elected to the senate in 2014 and his term expires in 2020. If he were to run he would not have to give up his seat. If he won Udall would get to name his own replacement to the senate. That has the conspiracy purveyors offering another theory--that Attorney General Hector Balderas would stay out of the '18 Dem Guv nomination race with the hope that once Udall won he would appoint him to his vacant US Senate seat. (Hey, somebody warm up the Black Helicopters).

ABQ Dem Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham has already circulated word among friends that she is a likely '18 Dem Guv candidate. Would she move aside if Udall were to move in or would we have two congressional reps as well as a bevy of other hopefuls battling it out?

It all sounds pretty wild and perhaps far-fetched enough for some to say that the summer conspiracy theorists and their theories are half-baked. But this is a state in dire shape on many fronts and it is not only the laid-back summer providing fertile ground for the conspiracy buffs. There's a thirst for action-oriented leadership. Udall's critics argue that is not an apt description of the easygoing Udall . Will that argument get put to the test? Stay tuned, or better yet, stay cool.

WILL SUSANA SAY IT?

What's the question on the minds of state political observers as the GOP National Convention opens in Cleveland with Gov. Martinez heading up the state's 24 member delegation? Reader Kathryn Carroll has it:

Since she heads the NM delegation as well as the Republican Governors Association, it would be expected that during the roll call delegate vote on the presidential nominee, Gov. Martinez would announce with great thunder: "The Great State of New Mexico proudly casts all of its 24 votes for Donald Trump."

Is that what will happen, or will she relegate that public announcement to someone else, maybe State House Speaker Don Tripp or Lt. Governor John Sanchez, who will make the announcement and she will hope that no one will figure out that the 24 votes includes her vote as a delegate? Or does she stay off the convention floor at that time and hope no one notices her absence?

What's a Governor to do if she doesn't support her party's presidential nominee? How does she pull this off in Cleveland so no one will suspect that in the end she really did endorse Trump is my question? 

Kathryn, NM House Speaker Don Tripp would be a good guess or maybe Congressman Pearce who has been tolerant toward the Trump candidacy. As you point out it could be very awkward and expose Martinez to unneeded political peril for her to make the announcement before the national TV cameras. 

As for Martinez's vote, we see her casting it for Trump, arguing it is the will of the primary voters.

At least that's the betting line in this corner. (It doesn't seem anyone in the media has put her on the spot and asked her these questions.)

ROUNDHOUSE GUNS

Will the outbreak of violence this summer---terroist attacks, the killing of police officers etc.--give momentum to a nascent movement to ban visitors to the Santa Fe Roundhouse from carrying loaded guns? NM is a concealed carry and an open carry state so folks can walk around the place with firearms loaded. Will this tradition undergo increased scrutiny at the next legislative session given lawmakers genuine concern for their safety and that of the public? And if they do decide to ban guns from the Roundhouse, you can hardly blame them.

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