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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Martinez Kisses Trump Ring At WH Meet, Keller Hits DC For ART Money, John Sanchez In Line For Something Big? And Santa Fe Mayor Predictions  

DC sources close to the congressional delegation report that ABQ Mayor Keller was in Washington in late January making the rounds for $75 million in ART funding. They say he focused on the staffs of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees where any bill that includes the delayed ART funding would be written.

His chances of getting the stalled cash for the so fair failed transit project appear to have improved. There are big dollar increases in the recently approved two year Federal budget so money for the ART project on Central Avenue might have have a better chance of getting here.

Keeping it on Capitol Hill. . .

When the star of US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi shines bright so does that of her NM protege, Dem Rep. Ben Ray Lujan. Right now the Pelosi star is looking a bit faded:

David Wasserman, who tracks House races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said that in an era when voters are disaffected with Washington, it is difficult for Democrats to make the case that they are change agents with Ms. Pelosi at the helm.

Ben Ray is chairman of the DCCC, charged with the campaign strategy to take back the House for the Republicans in 2018. He and Pelosi we're also in charge of that task in '16 and took heat for making only a tiny gain, but they survived. This could be the pair's last try. If they can't bring it home this year when the President's approval rating is so low, this could be their last hurrah as key national players.

We've reluctantly come to this same conclusion but see zilch in the way of momentum for a constitutional amendment that would be needed to make the switch:

. . . Upgrade the quality of legislators by paying them a base salary. A fair amount would be $50,000 a year. . . Having a reasonable base salary would allow people of every demographic group to run. By expanding the pool of candidates and, more important, the pool of talent, New Mexico might get better lawmakers. . . Some will say New Mexico cannot afford to add 112 legislators to the payroll. . . Good legislators are essential for state government to be what it often is not--efficient, open and competent. There are plenty of places to cut fat, starting with the job of lieutenant governor. That position pays $85,000 a year and the office drains another $447,000 annually.

Speaking of the lieutenant governor, the current one is John Sanchez whose political career has become roadkill under unpopular Gov. Susan Martinez. But all may not be lost. The rumor mill--and we stress it is the rumor mill--has Sanchez under consideration for a possible appointment as a US ambassador to somewhere. Well, considering what has happened to him here, John would probably welcome relocating to an exotic locale.

Is Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales dropping out of the race for the Dem nomination for lieutenant governor? Alligators raised the question and we asked Gonzales and his consultant for comment but got none. Phone home when you're ready, Javier. . .

UPDATE: Gonzales ended his candidacy Tuesday afternoon, saying when he got in he feared there were no progressive candidates in the contest:

. . . The progressive voice across the state is strong, and that many qualified candidates are bringing their passion and perspective to the Lt. Governor race. Unfortunately my heart is not in this race, so with a clear conscience, I have decided to end my campaign


Gov. Martinez was at the White House along with other Governors and politicos for a meeting with President Trump Monday on his infrastructure plan, She clapped approvingly and smiled cheerily at the man she refused to endorse for the presidency and which surely got her into his dog house. But now with limited time left on in her governorship maybe she's looking to get out of it and dropped off her resume during her visit. Can she at least join Sanchez on that rumor list of possible ambassadorial appointees? Knowing Trump he'd send her to Siberia if he could.

FILING ACTION (CONT.)

More Alligator musings on this week's candidate filings for statewide offices. This one deals with the Court of Appeals in which five seats are on the ballot:

Joe, it's interesting that it's 4 Republican men versus 5 Democratic women in the Court of Appeals races. And if my sources are correct, all the woman are graduates of the  Emerge program  designed to get Democratic woman elected to office. This would put 8 women on the ten member bench. Bad optics for the Republicans IMHO.

There are currently three women judges on the court and with the state leaning blue in the statewide races, we could easily get to 8. Dem Judge Jennifer Attrep is one of them and a sure thing. She was appointed to fill a vacancy but drew no GOP opposition.

SANTA FE MAYOR

Now that he's the clear front-runner in the Santa Fe march mayoral election, it's time Alan Webber to take the hits. Here's reader Savannah Baca taking a swing:

Webber is with the sugar tax bunch that were defeated soundly! The New Mexican endorsement can also be the kiss of death! Ron Trujillo has a strong and aggressive grass roots campaign so don't count him out.

Trujillo is a Santa Fe City Councilor and seen as one of the leading challengers to Webber in the five way race.

Longtime NM political consultant and media buyer Chris Brown, also a longtime resident of Santa Fe, starts the countdown fun to the March 6 mayoral election with the first round of predictions. Here they are:

Mayor Alan Webber. Broadest support, best ideas. Most money, but he started slowly. I don’t think his money or newspaper endorsement(s) will be decisive. He does have by far the most membership organizations endorsing him, so that has to be a plus.

Mayoral surprise: Ron Trujillo will get more eastside votes than one or both of our councilors, Maestas and Ives.

Mayoral top three in ranked order, as we say: Webber, Trujillo, Noble, in that order, all with strong showings. Then a big gap to Ives and Maestas


District 1--Incumbent Signe Lindell; 2--Carol Romero-Wirth; 3--Roman "Tiger" Abeyta (unopposed);4:Joanne Vigil Coppler.

In District 2 the edge goes to Romero-Wirth because of the Sierra Club endorsement which goes a long way in that area.

If Chris is wrong there will be punishment--at least 25 lashes with a wet noodle made fresh from one of this fancy Italian restaurants up there.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2018
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