Tuesday, May 29, 2007

King Kills '10 Guv Talk, Plus: Big Bill Flatlines On Meet The Press; And: Pete Says: 'Poll, What Poll'? 

Attorney Gen. King
The earliest ever NM gubernatorial campaign won't include Democratic Attorney General Gary King, the son of a former governor who has twice previously sought the state's highest office. He gave a one word response when I asked him if he would seek the Guv's chair in 2010: "No!" He declared emphatically, and added with a grin: "And I may be the only one ruling it out."

But will there be a flood of candidates? The expense and demands of a multi-year campaign could keep the number of hopefuls down. As of today, Light Guv Diane Denish is the only official Dem contender, with ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez also raising money and expected to formally join the battle for the Democratic nod. But Chavez, however unlikely, could still opt to challenge term limits and go for another stint as mayor if the road to the Fourth Floor of the Roundhouse looks too bumpy.

King describes himself as enjoying the challenges of the AG post and will likely seek re-election in 2010. That news is most beneficial to Denish who would compete with King for Anglo votes, especially among rural Democrats. There is a long way to go and it would be surprising if at least two more serious candidates--one Anglo and one Hispanic--didn't eventually join the fray. But they may not want to wait much longer as Lady Di and Mayor Marty are both adept at sucking the political oxygen out of a room.


Another lackluster performance on the national stage gave the Big Bill watchers something other than their foot long hot dogs to munch on over the first long summer weekend. The Guv appeared on "Meet the Press" Sunday morning, which is fortunate because the NM leader was not ready for prime time. Comments posted on the liberal national blog, the Daily Kos, supply the major complaints about an appearance that the Guv's campaign can use as a basis for improvement, but little else. Watching Richardson wrestle with tough questions put to him by host Tim Russert had the Alligators calling for better prep of the Guv. They said he gave defensive answers, did not adequately recount his success as NM Guv and often looked down when talking, not at the host.

He did give a solid performance on Iraq and the appearance was not a disaster; it just didn't rise to the presidential level. One insider told me that Big Bill's consultants have been irked that he doesn't heed their advice enough, and that could be a reason for the disappointing Meet the Press. Something is wrong because it was his second sour bite out of the national apple. April's televised debate with the other Dem Prez candidates, by his own admission, also did not come off well.

With the Guv breaking into double digits in the New Hampshire and Iowa Dem polls just days before the national TV shot, precious momentum may have been squandered. Time to hit the briefing books and the mock TV studio, or else the thin air in the second-tier rows could be Big Bill's permanent home.


Bob Dylan
There's only one reason NM GOP Senator Pete Domenici could get away with questioning the reliability of the mid-May Survey USA poll showing his popularity rating hitting a historic low of 52%--he has no announced Democratic foe. Otherwise, the explanation given by Pete's office--that Survey USA uses automatic telephone calling, and is therefore not a reliable indicator of where he stands with the public, would be shot down in a New York minute. All of us have had our issues with the poll, and they have been noted here over the years, but even ABQ Journal pollster Brian Sanderoff told the Santa Fe New Mexican, the latest survey indicates that Domenici is in trouble and needs to take corrective action.

But the senator, seeking an unprecedented seventh six year term, in '08, will only face the music when he has to, and if the Dems don't have anyone around to question him, it will be power to the Pete. In Washington, where national Dems have been hammering Domenici for his role in the US attorney scandal, one wonders if the recent polling summons the scent of blood in the water and encourages further rousting of the 75 year old lawmaker. Clearly, Domenici is not ready for war. Heck, he's not even ready to acknowledge there's a battle. As for the rest of us, as Bob Dylan memorably wrote: "You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows."

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