Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Rehm Sinks Rowe's Boat; Veteran Lawman Headed To Roundhouse, Plus: The R's In Big Bill's World, And: Battle Of The Grandpas; All On A Winter Wednesday 

The Roundhouse
Bill Rehm, who waged a bitter 04' primary battle with former GOP State Rep. Greg Payne and lost (62% to 38%), reversed his fortunes last night and was appointed by the Bernalillo County Commission to fill the seat vacated by Payne when he signed on as Transit Director for the city of ABQ. The retired sheriff's deputy, now a private eye still involved with the department's reserves, will represent heavily GOP District 31 in ABQ's far NE Heights when the Legislature convenes for a thirty day session next Tuesday and is expected to seek election in his own right this year.

It was not only a night of payback for Rehm, who hit Payne hard in mailers during the 04' GOP primary, but also a night of glee for another longtime Payne nemesis--GOP County Commissioner Tim Cummins. It was Payne who ousted Cummins from a City council seat in 99', setting up a bitter rivalry that extends to this day. And last night it was Cummins, the senior R on the the five member commission, who joyfully placed the name of Rehm in nomination and shepherded it through. The Valley Alligators had warned us that the Rowe candidacy could hit the skids and so it did.

Albuquerque School Board member and attorney Gordon Rowe retained the support of R Commissioner Brasher, but his bid failed when there was no second to his nomination. His only chance now is to do what Rehm did and challenge an incumbent in the June primary.


Dem Commission Chair Alan Armijo recused himself from the vote citing his work with APS and relationship with Rowe, but it was also clearly a move to defer to Cummins, the senior R, since Rowe's nomination was never even voted upon.

Rehm will give the district a more distinct conservative hue than Rowe. Payne claimed during the primary that the now newest member of the 70 member State House was an ally of the somewhat decimated Barnett wing of the state GOP. Lawyer/lobbyist Barnett was prominent in the chambers as the vote went down.

But the Roundhouse's freshest face deserves a fresh start. When the commission finally voted, it was unanimous. So today it's congratulations to State Representative Bill Rehm, winner of the latest prize up for grabs in the competitive world of La Politica.

Sec. Prukop
In blogging on the Big Bill cabinet shuffle Tuesday, we mentioned that Eddie Lopez Jr., replaced at General Services by Arturo Jaramillo, might have been the cabinet's lone Republican. We hedged because we were not sure. And sure enough, there are more as explained by the Guv's press office:

"Governor Richardson is very proud of the FOUR Republicans in his Cabinet – Edward Lopez, John D’Antonio (State Engineer), Joanna Prukop (Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources), and Alan Varela (Workman’s Compensation Administration.)

Now we know.

Lopez takes over Jaramillo's old job as Superintendent of Regulation and Licensing. And for those of you who watch such things, here is a complete list of the Guv's cabinet.


Please add the name of Antonio "Moe" Maestas to one of my favorite contests this year. It's the "Battle of the Grandpas" in House District 16 on ABQ's West Side. Grandsons of Democratic political legends Bennie Aragon and Pat Baca are squaring off against each other as well as Dan Serrano. Now attorney Maestas will represent the thirtysomethings. The seat is being vacated by Dem Rep. Harriet Ruiz. No R's need apply; this one is solid donkey country.


Sometimes, not often, those Alligators go astray. Like telling us that NM GOP U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce would be in Rep. Roy Blunt's corner in the duel with Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) for House Majority Leader to replace Tom Delay. Not so. Pearce's name has turned up on a public list of supporters for Ohio's Boehner. Drat! I'm goin' Alligator hunting over this one. Either that or opening my own D.C. bureau. Heather, help find me a landlord.

The UNM Pit
Finally today, one for you sports fans. Larry Ahrens over at ABQ's KAGM radio (94.7 FM in Santa Fe) blogs in to us: "Look for Big Bill to propose dollars for a remodel and makeover of The Pit at UNM. The Pit is showing her age and needs an extreme makeover and the Guv is ready to help." Even better, how about a new one for the new century?

And that my good friends is what we call in the radio biz a wrap and a take. Let's get together again tomorrow. See ya' then.

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