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Thursday, April 06, 2017

A "What If" Question Surfaces For State GOP As Pearce And Sanchez Weigh Guv Bids; On Dem Side It's Grisham Vs. Balderas Jockeying In Spotlight, And: Angst In The Lobo Lair 

How about this for a jaw dropper making the rounds? What if Rep. Steve Pearce and Lt. Gov. John Sanchez both decide to forgo bids for the '18 GOP gubernatorial nomination? Does that mean ABQ Mayor Richard Berry, not exactly the most popular fella within his own party, would become the default nominee? The Dems probably wouldn't mind that.

And what if Berry joined Sanchez and Pearce in passing on a Guv run? Who would the R's turn to then? Beats us. . .

HEINRICH VS. SANCHEZ?

And the chatter about John Sanchez perhaps challenging Dem US Senator Martin Heinrich next year instead of seeking the Guv slot continues to grow. And with reason. For the second time in recent days the state Democratic Party has included Sanchez in its criticism of Gov. Martinez. That's new.

In their latest attack the Dems score Martinez for taking a trip to Tennessee this week while the state budget and a bundle of other legislation is on her desk and she still has not told the state what she will do. Lt. Gov. Sanchez was Governor when Martinez was in Tennessee and the Dems said he could have acted on legislation in her absence. Fat chance of that. (Martinez never did make it to Tennessee to speak to a law enforcement conference because she was delayed by weather in Dallas).

But the attack on Sanchez underscores the point that the state Dem Party these days is largely under the wing of Sen. Heinrich and the attacks on Sanchez could signal that Heinrich's forces think Sanchez is looking their way.

GRISHAM VS. BALDERAS?

The early positioning can be treated as a pastime of sorts when assessing Heinrich's race since he is heavily favored no matter who runs against him, but the early jockeying in the Dem Guv race is very critical. ABQ Dem Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham is working furiously to clear the field of major challengers--mostly any challenge by Attorney General Hector Balderas. Her latest effort is to roll out an endorsement from the New Mexico Professional Firefighters Association. The Association represents affiliates of the International Fire Fighters Association in the state. That endorsement comes on the heels of former Senator Jeff Bingaman giving Grisham his blessing and an earlier endorsement from Emily's List, an advocacy group for women candidates.

The next phase of the psychological warfare will be the state finance reports due this month. The Balderas camp will closely watch how much Grisham has raised and she will be watching his report just as closely.

TALK OF THE TOWN

The talk of the town has been yet another expensive buyout of a UNM Lobo basketball coach. Reader Michael Lamb shows how the controversy has put the spotlight as much on the athletic director as the now former coach:

Joe, regarding the $1 million buyout for UNM basketball coach Craig Neal. The media states: "This is the fourth big payout during University of New Mexico Athletic Director Paul Krebs’ 11 years on the job. He has sent basketball coach Ritchie McKay packing, along with football coaches Rocky Long and Mike Locksley, who was a Krebs hire. They cost more than $2 million combined to buy out.”

As of 2014 UNM Athletics VP Paul Krebs had the highest salary of any vice president, at $319,262. what’s he making these days? Krebs has been UNM's AD for 11 years. Is it time someone bought him out--or to state is less elegantly--kick him out?"

THE BOTTOM LINES

In our first take Wednesday, we said the public schools bill introduced in the Territorial Legislature happened in 1892. The correct date is 1882. And we blogged that a flight into space courtesy of Virgin Galactic from the NM Spaceport is going for $200,000 but it's actually 200,000 British Pounds. That translates to about $250,000. We wouldn't want you making any mistakes when you're writing your check to Sir Richard. . . .

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