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Thursday, November 17, 2016

She Opposed Trump But There May Still Be A Path For Susana's Exit And that Would Thrill John Sanchez, Plus: Dunn And The Sun 

Let's game this out for a minute. Gov. Martinez faces a desultory political future hampered by low approval ratings that make a run for the US senate in 2018 a nonstarter. And she got on the wrong side of Trump and complicated her path to a job with the new administration. And her term as head of the Republican Governors Association ended this week along with the free travel and limelight that entails. But there could be a way around those obstacles. . .

The New Mexico power with the new administration--such as it is--rests with GOP Congressman Steve Pearce and GOP National Committeeman Harvey Yates. Throw in former NM GOP Chair Allen Weh whose daughter Debbie Maestas boosted Trump from her perch as current state GOP chair.

After years of intra-party strife all of the above personalities are firmly ensconced in the anti-Martinez camp and about as likely to give Martinez a job reference as Michael Sanchez becoming best friends with Jay McCleskey. But all of the above also have another interest uniting them--the election of Lt. Governor John Sanchez as governor when Martinez leaves.

That prospect has taken a hit since the election, with US Sen. Tom Udall inching closer to a run in 2018. But assume the anti-Martinez camp decides to push hard to get Martinez out of here and into a federal judgeship or some other comfortable sinecure before her term expires? That would make John Sanchez governor.

This extreme case of politics makes strange bedfellows actually makes some sense. With Udall looming and the public prone to switch to the Dems after years of GOP rule, Sanchez might not have much of a chance unless he has a shot at proving his bona fides by getting appointed Governor.

Much the same situation confronted Lt. Gov. Diane Denish in 2008. She was hoping and praying that Gov. Richardson would be appointed to a cabinet position by President-elect Obama upon which she would become governor.  Well, Richardson was named to the cabinet (as commerce secretary) but a federal corruption investigation into his administration killed his chances at senate confirmation and he stayed put. Denish never did get the big break that would have had her running as the incumbent governor  in 2010 and she lost to Martinez,

For Sanchez, getting Martinez out of the state and assuming the Guv title might be his best chance against a potent Dem nominee. He would have a year or two to show his stuff and persuade voters that he he is not a clone of Susana. Sounds like a plan. That is, unless Steve Pearce is eyeing the Governor's chair for himself. Then it's back to the drawing board.

BRIGHT SPOT?

Is this the bright spot that could help pull the state's finances out of the cellar?

Oil explorers have been flocking to the Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico to tap deposits so rich that they can generate profits even at lower oil prices. A race to grab land in the Permian has been the main driver of a surge of deals in the energy patch and the industry’s main source of good news. Although the Permian has been gushing crude since the 1920s, its multiple layers of oil-soaked shale remained largely untapped until the last several years, when intensive drilling and fracturing techniques perfected in other U.S. regions were adopted.

DUNN AND SUN 

Sen. Heinrich and others who have been advocating the SunZia transmission line project in southern NM that has provoked the ire of conservatives and some ranchers have to be pleased with this from GOP State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn:

Dunn announced that he has granted a right-of-entry for the SunZia Transmission Project. The project is slated to cross 89 miles of State Trust Land. SunZia contains close to 515 miles of two transmission lines that will traverse New Mexico and Arizona. It is designed to connect and deliver electricity generated in Arizona and New Mexico to population centers in the Desert Southwest. The electricity distributed by SunZia is meant to help meet the nation's demand for renewable energy and reduce dependence on fossil fuels for power generation.

That's an about face for Dunn who was in the front ranks of those skeptical of the project, but one supposes he saw the light---or the sun.

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