Wednesday, March 01, 2006

He's Back: La Politica's Steve Gallegos Announces PRC Bid, Plus: My Wednesday Bottom Lines; A Potpourri Of Cool Political Stuff Just For You 

An interesting race is shaping up for the race for the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) seat held by the retiring Lynda Lovejoy, and former ABQ City Councilor and Bernalillo County commissioner Steve Gallegos has just made it more intriguing.

"I just gave (NM Transportation Secretary) Rhonda Faught my letter of resignation. Because I intend to run for political office and the Department of Transportation receives federal funds, I am covered by the Hatch Act. I also want to avoid any possible perception of a conflict of interest and I am ready to "hit the trail running." So bloggged in Gallegos whose name stirs the Valley Alligators like few others.

And they're stirring again. Andrew Leo Lopez, also seeking the Dem nomination for the seat that covers some of the Hispanic Valley wards but is designed for a Native American, is already hammering Gallegos for being a past employee of telecommunications company Qwest, which is regulated by the powerful five member panel. But Gallegos is not biting. "Andrew is being Andrew," he sighed over his cellphone from the state capitol.

Gallegos retired from the phone company and has been a Big Bill appointee at the Department of Labor and most recently at transportation where he was a liaison with the Legislature. He is also a former State Senate sergeant-at-Arms, courtesy of then-Senator Manny Aragon.

But Lopez and Gallegos are just two of several players in this one, including Derrith Watchman-Moore, who, like Lovejoy, is Navajo. She is also a relative of ex-State Rep. Leo Watchman. Two other Navajo candidates are also said to be eyeing the seat.

The Gallegos camp thinks with his superior name ID he can easily out poll Lopez and then hope for a split in the Native American vote to take the nomination. It is a solid D seat so no R's need apply. Candidates have until mid March to get their nomination petitions in and that will give us a better idea what the ethnic angles will be in this district that takes in a good portion of the Navajo Reservation in the Four Corners region.

For his part, Gallegos, who suffered a mild heart attack a couple of years ago and said then that he was taking a break from La Politica, told me the best part of public service is "helping people" and he misses that. Lopez, who sought a PRC sat as a Republican back in 98', says he's crisscrossing the district in search of votes.

It's definitely a race you'll want to keep on your political radar.


Rep. Cervantes
Moving from Navajo Country to way down south, supporters of Dem State Rep. Joe Cervantes, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, continue to tout him for higher political office someday. The Las Cruces Sun-News recently checked in with the blog to talk about Cervantes and his future. You can read it right here.

The first paid TV ads of Campaign 06' didn't make much of a splash, but they have aired. ABQ GOP State Senator Joe Carraro was up on he tube for a couple of days with a small buy (about $4500) touting his candidacy for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Also running is Santa Fe City Councilor David Pfeffer and Farmington urologist Allen McCulloch. Dem Senator Bingaman will defend the seat.

By the way, in that piece we did on the GOP race for attorney general Tuesday our early readers did not get a link to the Bob Schwartz Web site as they did for Jim Bibb. We could not find it, but several readers did and Schwartz's site is now linked in that blog. I worked in a campaign in 01' with Bob on the opposing side so the omission stood out for me. But, as with all the races this year, we will shoot this one down the middle, giving you the fair and balanced coverage you expect when coming to this space.


And hold your horses on Fred Luna. The longest serving member of the State House is still weighing whether to seek another two year term, say politicos in Valencia county. Or we should hold our horses because it was we who blogged earlier that Fred looked like no go seeing as how he was getting dialysis treatment three days a week during the legislative session. But the longtime ally of House Speaker Lujan, now pushing 80, is telling friends he "might" run again. We'll see. If he does, he can count on a stiff GOP challenge from Belen banker Edward Archuleta in this district that has the potential to go R because of recent population changes.

And "all hell has broken loose," in the Dem race to replace State Rep. Kandy Cordova who announced she will retire after this term. That from an Alligator there who reports there are as many as half a dozen D's seeking the seat. And there's an R running too. Like the Luna seat, this one is no longer safe D and a must-watch contest for you Roundhouse mavens. We will know who is all in when filing day rolls around in a couple of weeks.

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