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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Big Bill: I've Done Two And Am Ready For Six More; He Throws Hat In Ring Early To Quiet The Natives, Plus: Those Fun Luvin' Sanchez Brothers 

If there's anything a politico like Big Bill hates to be called it's "lame-duck." He went to work Monday to banish that phrase from the realm of La Politica when he told an ABQ Chamber of Commerce crowd that he is definitely seeking re-election in 06.' No jaws dropped and there were no audible gasps. The "news" that our Guv was running for re-election was about as surprising as watching paint dry. One wag wondered whether Bill had called Sen. Jeff and received word that he is a go for 06' and for Bill not to trouble himself with that quite unlikely senate vacancy.

But what really focused political eyes was how he tied his announcement to the upcoming 60 day legislative session: "This next legislative session is the most important I have had because it is the last 60-day session before I will run for re-election, which I intend to do," declared Big Bill.

Was there an implied threat to lawmakers who might not have the Guv's agenda in mind? Threat might be too strong a word, but the Guv was highly active in this year's legislative campaigns and by tying his re-elect plans to the legislative action he seemed to be killing two birds with one stone: "I am not a lame-duck" and "If necessary, I will be around for pay back on the campaign trail."

What he said on the surface also rings true. He wants most of his agenda implemented in this session so he will have a nice fat platform to run on. The Big Bill prestige meter took a dip when Kerry lost NM and the Alligators started talk of harpooning and then beaching the Big Guy at the Roundhouse. He let it be known Monday that he still prefers to do the targeting.

SLUMMING WITH THE CHAMBER

I spoke about NM politics to an informed audience at one of those Chamber seminars Monday, along with top NM lobbyist Scott Scanland. The speculation there was more about Big Bill's Prez plans than his Guv duties. How will those plans shade his legislative efforts over the next couple of years? Inquiring minds will want to know.

Also on hand at the Chamber confab was a piece of NM history, Used-To-Be- House Speaker Raymond Sanchez who, appropriately enough, tutored the attendees on "The History of New Mexico Politics." Raymond is getting his thrills the vicarious way these days: watching his new Senate Majority leader brother Michael Sanchez. The Guv has been known to work Michael thru Raymond (how shocking!) who is now NM Democratic National Committeeman. But now that Michael is a Really Big Brother you wonder who will be working whom? Or is it whom will be working who? Well, either way it adds up to the art of the deal.

I am off hunting Alligators in Santa Fe today. If you see me on the Plaza looking disoriented and reading the Legislative bill digest from last year, don't let on. I will attempt to report on my activities, unless sworn to secrecy by a cult of wayward Penitentes passing out re-elect pamphlets for the Guv.

Make our site, WWW.JOEMONAHAN.COM, one of your favorites and e-mail a link to interested friends. Interested in advertising to NM's large political community? E-mail me from the top right of this page, or call 505-243-4059 for details.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2004
Not for reproduction without permission of the author

Monday, December 06, 2004

"Ambassador" Ken Zangara? Auto Tycoon's Name Surfaces As Possible Passport Contender; Plus: Keep Counting The Votes 

Zangara
Bill Clinton had Ed Romero. Will George W. Bush have Ken Zangara? That's the question going around in the NM GOP as the White House begins divvying up the spoils of its election victory. No one has done more for Bush in NM than car dealer Zangara, who has raised and given thousands of dollars and who also has a good relationship with George and First Lady Laura. Naturally, this all gives rise to the possibility that Zangara, who headed Bush's successful NM campaign, could be in line for an ambassadorship. Zangara fits the profile; a high-dollar giver on good terms with the Prez. NM's Ed Romero raised huge dollars for Clinton and became ambassador to Spain.

THE SKELTON RATTLES


But making Ambassador requires U.S. Senate confirmation and that means a hearing at which Zangara would likely have to deal with this 1992 no contest plea to misdemeanor charges that he defrauded 80 employees of a previous car dealership out of more than $20,000 in wages and benefits. Zangara was put on a three-year probation and ordered to pay the affected workers $73,000 in restitution.

This skeleton in Zangara's closet did not stop the Prez from appointing him to his 2000 Interior Department transition team and inviting him to his Crawford ranch and this year's White House Xmas party. Also, Zangara is widely given credit for making valiant attempts to unify the strife-ridden NM GOP the past year.

Zangara, chair of the Bernalillo County R's, has been a loyal soldier. Now it's up to the Prez to decide whether a posting of international and local prestige is a fitting reward for Zangara who upon being sworn in could say goodbye to that black mark on an otherwise impressive resume.

RESUME POLISHING

And what about Bernalillo County sheriff and Bush county chair Darren White? The young and aggressive White,a former cabinet secretary under Gov. Johnson, previously applied with the Administration for a national posting. Don't be surprised if you see his name pop up on the list of possibles as the line forms for those vacant high-paying political postings in D.C.


CLINT CAN'T COUNT


Count me in when it comes to counting and, if necessary, recounting votes in cliffhanger elections. The AP's Deborah Baker reports that defeated state senate Dem contender Bob Frost is asking for a recount in his race against incumbent Clint Harden who beat Frost by a mere 36 votes in the sprawling east side district. But Baker quotes Harden has saying in response to Frost's request: "Everybody that has been involved with the election is tired. Bush Won. I won. Let's get it over."

Sorry, Clint. It's not over until its over and that means counting every vote. Or I am missing something that has been going over the past 200 and some odd years? Let the recount begin.

Make our site, WWW.JOEMONAHAN.COM, one of your favorites and e-mail a link to interested friends. Interested in advertising to NM's large political community? E-mail me from the top right of this page, or call 505-243-4059 for details.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2004
Not for reproduction without permission of the author

Friday, December 03, 2004

The NM Hispanic Vote: The Numbers For Bush Come Down, But The Threat To The D's Remains, Analysis And Insight Right Here 

There is no question more crucial in the aftermath of the NM Prez race than what percentage of the Hispanic vote went for Bush. Initial exit polls trumpet the Prez's performance at 44% of this vital group, long part of the D power base. But a second look at the the numbers has the experts second guessing. They're now saying Bush's performance among Hispanics was about 40%. That's still up a bunch from 2000, when he received about 35% of the NM Hispanic ballots in his race against Al Gore. NM political junkies like the ABQ Trib's Shea Andersen, pollsters Brian Sanderoff and Harry Pavlides (and your blogger) have been skeptical of that 44% number from the start. They are more sanguine about the 40%. They say Protestant Hispanics went heavy for Bush and many Catholic Hispanics simply stayed home after Kerry was pasted for his "liberal" social views.

MORE BACKBITING


While the D's can emit a sigh of relief that Bush's number has come down, they still have to be worried that 40% could be the new benchmark for an R Prez candidate here. If it is, New Mexico would be recast as a "lean Republican" state.

The backbiting over the Kerry loss continues here unabated, albeit quietly and behind the scenes. Several emailers are calling for a shake-up at the top of Big Bill's Moving America Forward organization, the political action committee charged with inspiring the Hispanic vote. "Let the heads roll," cried one scribe. That may be tough talk, but probably necessary if the D's are not to be blindsided again with the very voters who are responsible for keeping them in power across our Enchanted Land.

WHAT FLAG IS THAT?

That flag photo accompanying today's lead piece may not look familiar, but it was in our state's early days. From 1912 to 1925 it was the official state flag. Since then the easily recognizable Zia symbol flag has flown proudly.

Have a great weekend and, as always, thanks for tuning in. I look forward to seeing you next week.

Make our site, WWW.JOEMONAHAN.COM, one of your favorites and e-mail a link to interested friends. Interested in advertising to NM's large political community? E-mail me from the top right of this page, or call 505-243-4059 for details.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2004
Not for reproduction without permission of the autho

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Media Update: A New State TV News Leader By A Nose; Plus: Readers Ask: What's Up With Larry Ahrens? And: Blue State Therapy For You Unhappy Dems 

Erika Ruiz
It appears there will be a switch at the top in the hotly contested battle for TV news leadership at 10 p.m. in the ABQ market. Our TV insider reports KRQE-TV, Channel 13, was poised to take the coveted #1 post away from KOB-TV with just one night left to go in the crucial November sweeps.

"The sweeps-to-date averages now have KRQE holding its lead with a projected 19 per cent share, KOB in second with an 18 and KOAT in third with a 14. In order to take over first place, KOB would need to beat KRQE by a huge margin in the 10 p.m. tonight," penned our TV watcher. All told, about 28 per cent of the homes that have TV's in the big ABQ market, which sprawls across the state, are tuned in to one of the big three network affiliates at 10 p.m.

KRQE is the CBS affiliate and was helped in its news ratings by the networks prime time dominance with such shows as "Survivor" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." KOB has narrowly led the crucial 10 p.m. sweeps in recent ratings books. One time ratings king KOAT-TV now languishes in third place at 10, but continues to turn in a strong performance at 6 p.m. TV news dean Dick Knipfing and Erika Ruiz are the lead anchors for KRQE.

EXPERIENCE COUNTS

Knipfing
Content wise there is not much difference in the three newscasts, with all of them emphasizing crime. But unlike years past when CBS performed strongly, this time the audience is staying around to watch the local news instead of switching over. Knipfing and Ruiz have given KRQE the depth they lacked in the past. At close second KOB, Carla Aragon and Tom Joles are also reliable and credible. KOAT has suffered from budget cuts in recent years and needs a new formula to get back in the game.

LARRY AHRENS UPDATE

Several readers ask about veteran KKOB-AM Radio morning show host Larry Ahrens, reminding me that we had a story months ago detailing Larry's stalled contract talks with station management. At that time Ahrens said he was looking around at other opportunities and told our blog he would let us know his future plans as soon as they were settled. His contract runs until the end of the month. Still no word on his future, but I will check with him in he coming days when he returns from vacation and let you know if the one time GOP Guv candidate will be staying behind the microphones of the big 50,000 watt station where he has been stationed for nearly a quarter century.

BLUE STATE BLUES

Of course, the R's are loving it. They continue to relish their Prez victory. And why not? To the victor go the spoils. Now they are sticking it to the D's with a very funny and creative spoof of "blue state" voters and what they can do to overcome their depression. If you're a Dem and still mad, you may not want to watch. On second thought, it's time to get over it so click away and enjoy.

Make our site, WWW.JOEMONAHAN.COM, one of your favorites and e-mail a link to interested friends. Interested in advertising to NM's large political community? E-mail me from the top right of this page, or call 505-243-4059 for details.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2004
Not for reproduction without permission of the author

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Insiders: Top Power Spot On ABQ Council Set To Go To Winter; Griego Comes Up Short In Pre-Election Power Positioning, Plus: More On the Catholic Front 

Brad Winter
Sources deep on the inside at ABQ'S City Hall say all signs point to Brad Winter returning as City Council President when the nine lawmakers take the vote next Monday. If it happens, it will be a blow to Council VP Eric Griego who hoped to take the lead chair and use it to his advantage in his bid for Mayor. Our tapped in insiders say there was an understanding last year that Griego would assume the top post from westside Councilor Michael Cadigan who won the job with Griego's support. But the fly in the Griego ointment is once again westside Councilor Miguel Gomez, who refused to back Griego for prez last year and is again refusing to give him the nod.

"Cadigan can not go with Griego whose position against the Paseo Del Norte road extension has westsiders seeing red. Cadigan will face a tough re-election bid and if he supports Griego it would cost him votes. Without Gomez and Cadigan, Griego is left out in the cold," analyzed our inside source.

Winter has had the presidency before and tried to be a compromise voice on a then deeply embattled council. Things have been a bit smoother of late, but Winter's asc
ension to the presidency will fuel more speculation that he too will make a run for mayor. "Brad would have a good shot, but he has to make the decision soon. Raising money and putting together an organization takes time," said an R who would like to see the well-liked NE Heights councilor make the run.

IT WILL BE HOT AND HEAVY
Bob Schwartz
There seems to be an air of denial around town that the 2005 Mayor's race will be a quiet affair. Whenever you hear that prepare for the opposite. Big Bill crime advisor Bob Schwartz, who ran second in the Mayoral field in 2001, may again step up to the plate. Because he has a good-paying job, Schwartz supporters say the decision is tougher this time around, but they say it's wishful thinking that Big Bill will keep him out of the race. "Anyone who knows Schwartz knows he has a mind of his own," said one City Hall observer.

The formula in ABQ politics remains the same. If one strong Republican emerges that the party can rally around, look out; that person will be the odds-on favorite. Fortunately for Dem Mayor Chavez that has not happened in a long, long time. But the positioning has just begun. There is no favorite in this race until we see the full field and that may not be known for several more months. Don't say we didn't tell you.

IT'S A CATHOLIC THING

The e-mail continues to pour in on over the NM Catholic Church's role in the NM prez race, Archbishop Sheehan's "alliance" with evangelicals and whether priests were directly politicking against Kerry from the pulpit as one of our correspondents claimed. If they were, one imaginative emailer pointed out a possible, if far-fetched, consequence.

"I thought of a tax implication on your posting about churches and "at least two instances where priests made their views known directly from the pulpit." If a 501(c)(3) does political lobbying, it could mean the loss of their 501(c)(3) status. So, I guess I hope no one gives you the names of a priest who did so... Those IRS guys can be persistent!" Exclaimed our political junkie.

Also casting a wary eye at Catholic politics is liberal ABQ Trib columnist V.B. Price

Thanks for all the e-mail on this one. It was one of the big uncovered stories of Campaign 04.'

Make our site, WWW.JOEMONAHAN.COM, one of your favorites and e-mail a link to interested friends. Interested in advertising to NM's large political community? E-mail me from the top right of this page, or call 505-243-4059 for details.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2004
Not for reproduction without permission of the author
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