Friday, September 08, 2006

The Dems And Zozobra: Both Fight The Flames; Armijo To Court To Get On Ballot; Party Leaders Plot His Demise, Plus: Can McCain Heal Heather? 

Zozobra burns
They burned Old Man Gloom in the City Different last night, but even the mystical powers of the fabled Zozobra were not enough to disperse the woes and cares of the New Mexico Democratic Party. There's no truth to the rumor that Dem Party Chair Wertheim tried to heave Armijo into the leaping flames--he had too much other business to deal with. And Jeff was also to preoccupied to take in the annual spectacle.

Chairman John is preparing for a meeting of the Dem Party Central Committee Saturday at which the party plans to name a replacement for state auditor hopeful Armijo, while Armjio is working on a lawsuit that he will file today that seeks to keep him on the ballot and also forbid that committee meeting.

Zozobra is darn good show, but it can hardly top Jeff's skit--first withdrawing his candidacy in the face of allegations of sexual misconduct and then reversing that withdrawal. While we have to wait another year to see New Mexico's favorite puppet burst into flames, the political fires engulfing the Democrats will continue unabated--at least for a while.

The show resumes today in district court where Armijo will ask that the secretary of state's decision disallowing his re-entry be overturned and that the ABQ Central Committee session be canceled because there is no need for the party to name a replacement for Armijo because he contends no vacancy exists.


According to sources close to the Armijo camp, Jeff has decided not to appear at the meeting and compete against State Rep. Hector Balderas and several other candidates vying to replace him. Balderas is favored to take the title, but the win could be an empty one if the courts see it Jeff's way and rule that his news release canceling his candidacy does not constitute a legal withdrawal and instead says direct notification to the secretary of state is necessary.

Would a judge actually cancel the committee confab which would mean the Dems could conceivably have no auditor candidate if Armijo was later ruled off the ballot? Unlikely, but this is now Fourth World politics, lacking even the stability of the Sudan, the scene of Big Bill's latest diplomatic adventure.

There is some 360 members of the committee, but a lot of them, say the Alligators, are not very enthusiastic about coming to the Big City to deal with the Jeff Mess, leaving Balderas and company scrambling to insure that there is a quorum for the Saturday soiree.

"A lot of them just don't want to deal with it," said a veteran committee member.

The legal beagles are barking that Jeff's court case would probably be acted on right away at the district level and then rushed to the NM Supreme Court for a ruling. Whether the legal wrangling will be settled before or after the Saturday session is anyone's guess.

Balderas & Sen. Bingaman
How about hopeful Hector? Ok. We'll go there, but bear with me as we go deep into the pit of La Politica to explain the Movida.

Hector has now officially withdrawn his candidacy for his northern state house seat, (by direct phone call to the secretary of state, not fax!), meaning a replacement Dem candidate for the Nov. 7 election could be named at Saturday's meeting by the Central Committee members from Hector's House district. But maybe they won't do anything.

You see, there is no Republican running against the freshman lawmaker. If the Dems choose not to name a replacement candidate, voters there would have no one to vote for. That means there would be a vacancy in the multi-county district following the November election. The county commissions from the Balderas district would then send up a name or names for the Governor to fill the vacancy. If Hector was left out in the cold by a court decision that kept Jeff as the Dem auditor nominee, the commissions could send Hector's name to the Governor who could then appoint Balderas, allowing him to keep the seat for a second term.

But what, you ask, if Jeff loses in court, Hector gets the auditor nomination Saturday and wins the position in November? Again, the county commissions of the district send a name or names up to the Guv.

All this will be academic if, by Saturday, the courts have resolved Armijo's candidacy. If they keep Jeff off the ballot, Garcia or someone else will probably be named as a ballot replacement for Hector's seat. If the legal case is still in limbo, look for no action.

Got all that? Yeah, it has me reeling too. Right now it's Jeff's world; we just live in it. Fortunately, nothing lasts forever.

Sen. McCain
Arizona GOP Senator John McCain, as you first learned here will be in ABQ Saturday to campaign for U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson. The pair will conduct a veterans' event at a VFW hall and also a reception that will cost as much as $2,000 per person.

The VFW stop seems a smart move. McCain, once the darling of the independent voter, has lost his cachet with them with his over-the-top support of the no-end-in-sight Iraq war. The 08' presidential hopeful seems to think that position will be a big winner for him with R conservatives, even as the country grows ever more nauseous over the adventure.

McCain's heroic stance as a Vietnam veteran and Heather's status as an Air Force veteran give them strong standing in the military community and the visit could help solidify her GOP base. But if she is hoping McCain's visit will help her get the Bush monkey off of her back, she could be disappointed. That thing is looking more like a gorilla with each passing day.


It's been a week full of a comedy of political errors, and I joined the party too. Did I say ABQ attorney Daniel Ivey-Soto considered running for the Dem nomination for attorney general this year? Indeed I did. But it was another lawyer with a triple header name, Eric Sedillo-Jeffries, who did the AG thing, not Ivey-Soto who has talked about seeking the Dem auditor slot at Saturday's Central Committee meeting. Sorry, Daniel, but you Dems shook me up this week.

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