Monday, January 23, 2017
State GOP Chairman Cangiolosi In Guv's Crosshairs; His Parking Lot Clash With Rep. Youngblood Leads To Move On His Six Figure UNMH Job, Plus: ABQ Women's March Against Trump Raises Another Angle
It all happened at the iconic Bull Ring, the watering hole of watering holes for Santa Fe's privileged political class. Our combatants met there following a Tuesday legislative dinner on the opening day of the legislative session. Then sparks flew, but not the romantic kind.
A news report said Youngblood was apparently upset with her committee assignments and that led to the heated argument in which she and Cangiolosi loudly and publicly berated one another. Then things got a bit weird. . .
Jimmy Ross, a former Deputy Secretary of the state Health Department under Gov. Martinez, witnessed some of the argument that started in the bar and continued in the parking lot and promptly emailed the UNM Health Sciences Department where Cangiolosi is employed and urged Health Chancellor Paul Roth to "address" Cangiolosi's allegedly “unacceptable, threatening and inappropriate” behavior. The "helpful" Ross also sent the email to the UNM Regents.
An now the back story.
Cangiolosi was once an acolyte of Gov. Martinez, serving briefly as her campaign manager and then deputy chief of staff. When he left the Guv's office in 2012 it was for his six figure ($125,000) position at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. His job as UNMH executive project director created a storm of controversy as Martinez's administration was accused of creating the position solely for Cangiolosi. How times change.
Cnagiolosi later had a falling out with the Governor and her political guru Jay McCleskey. Ever since there have been signals that the pair has been doing all it can to oust Cangiolosi from his six figure job at UNMH. GOP insiders say the falling out stemmed from Cangiolosi's testimony before a federal grand jury investigating possible campaign finance abuses by McCleskey. (The grand jury did not return any indictments.) Oilman and former GOP Chairman Harvey Yates, Jr., an avowed foe of the Guv's political machine, was instrumental in making Cangiolosi GOP chair. He was elected in December by the GOP State Central Committee.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Cangiolosi's boss at UNMH, Chancellor Paul Roth, says he's "reviewing" Cangiolosi's behavior and, not surprisingly, UNM Regents President Rob Doughty, an attorney whose firm has been awarded hundreds of thousands in legal contracts by the Martinez administration, appears to be putting the wheels in motion to take Cangiolosi out. But Doughty recently tried something similar with former UNM President Bob Frank, who had fallen out of favor with the Governor, and it backfired. Frank was poised to file a lawsuit until Doughty and his faction on the regents backed off.
Cangiolosi denied Youngblood's charge that he was drunk at the Bull Ring, saying he had no booze at all. Interestingly, the newspaper did not report if Monica was asked if she had been knocking back a martini or two at the famed restaurant and saloon. Neither did the paper release the emails that they said they acquired of Cangiolosi and Youngblood continuing their spat the following day.
In the end neither Cangiolosi or Youngblood come out looking very good. Youngblood tried to generate sympathy by saying legislators who witnessed the brouhaha “felt I had to make sure I got home safe.” But her constituents may be more worried about why she is hanging out at a bar fighting with another public figure.
The incident did add some spice to a dour legislative session that is focused on cutting all manner of programs because of the state budget crisis. Whether the cuts administered to Cangiolosi are enough to cost him his job remains to be seen. As for the future of the GOP, with the Yates-Pearce faction taking power and the Martinez-McCleskey wing fading but still fighting, there will be plenty of action at ringside and maybe even more at the Bull Ring.
There's good reason the chairman of the state GOP is usually a multimillionaire. Unlike, wage slave Cangiolosi, they can get in all kinds of hot water and not have to fret about the consequences. Think Harvey Yates, Allen Weh and John Dendahl. All former GOP chairmen who had bursting back accounts and could tell Monica Youngblood or any other Republican to get out of their way. And they often did. Cangiolosi keeping a government job and wearing one of the state's top political hats is a hat trick we haven't seen before.
People who rolled over for the likes of ABQ Mayor RJ Berry and Gov. Martinez suddenly get fired up because of Trump. Wow... Please help me understand the difference in their politics and why the sudden fervor. Berry, Martinez and Trump all won political power by scapegoating illegal immigrants. I suspect part of the dynamic is, it's easy for local and state Democrats to attack someone in Washington DC (Trump) that they don't have to deal with on a very personal basis (like Berry and Martinez) - who can really put the screws in. Just sayin' - this toxin has been around for awhile - and no one has done much about it.
Republicans Martinez and Berry both attended the inauguration of President Trump. We saw no reporting of their activities or any interactions they may have had with the new administration, Funny how they get to fly under the radar when they want to, isn't it?
Meanwhile, Gov. Martinez has penned an op-ed singing the praises of GOP Texas Governor Rick Perry who has been nominated by Trump to become head of the Department of Energy. The column sounds like a job application but for what job? Stay tuned.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2017