Monday, August 27, 2007

New Exec For State R's Says Roundhouse Races Is Where It's At, Plus: Bush In Los Ranchos Today, And: My Monday Bottom Lines 

Adam Feldman
The new executive director of the NM Republican Party is a transplanted Kentuckian with a predictable passion for horse racing born in the state of the famous Derby. The question is can Adam Feldman help the R's get some political horse races going in 2008.

The 32 year old who took on his new gig in May told me over a heavily caffeinated session at Starbucks that he believes about 15 legislative seats will be in play next year when all 112 members of the House and Senate face voters. He was not ready to make any predictions, but did promise state R's that the party is busily recruiting candidates in each of the targeted districts.

The Democrats hold sway in the House with a margin of 42 to 28. In the Senate it's 24-18. No one expects a major shift in those numbers next year, but Feldman says those counting on a big Democrat year should heed history.

"These races are very local and the national mood will not play a major role." He declared.

A complaint against GOP Chairman Allen Weh from foes who campaigned against his recent re-election was that he paid too much attention to ABQ GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson and not enough to rural politics.

Perhaps that criticism has seeped through as Feldman, hired by Weh, said his focus for the '08 cycle will be the Legislature. "We will support and aide Heather, but the federal campaigns have resources of their own and they operate somewhat independently."

As for the Dem candidates that have surfaced to fight for the nomination to take on Heather, Feldman quipped: "None of them have us quaking in our boots." And he was gleeful over the prospect of an expensive intra-party Dem fight. "They will be spending a lot of money for that nomination that could have spent against her."


Feldman brushed aside speculation that NM GOP Senator Pete Domenici, the state's longest ever serving senator could be vulnerable to an '08 re-election challenge. Besides the lack of high profile Dem opponents, the new ED likened Domenici to Strom Thurmond, the longest-ever serving US Senator. "He has that kind of stature," Feldman declared.

Feldman cut his teeth on direct mail politics, working in his native Blue Grass state for GOP Governor Ernie Fletcher. He left him to work on the campaign of former Congresswoman Anne Northrup who this year unsuccessfully challenged Fletcher for the GOP Guv nomination. Feldman also toiled for a time for Senator Jim Bunning. In '04 he headed to West Virginia to work for President Bush who won the Democratic state. His wife is also a political junkie, having served as a speechwriter for Fletcher.

Those calling on Weh for a more moderate Republicanism as a means of challenging Democratic hegemony will be watching Feldman carefully. For now, they might run into him on his occasional sojourns to the racetrack where he savors the running skills of prized thoroughbreds and quarter horses. Next year, it will be higher stakes races in his sights.


Two sets of numbers will be of interest following President Bush's Los Ranchos visit fund-raising today on behalf of Senator Domenici--how much did the Senator raise for his seventh re-election campaign and how many protesters showed up to see him collect the cash?

Rep. Wilson says she raised about $375,000 form a June '06 Bush ABQ visit. As for the protesters, one group involved headlines its news release: "Scores of Albuquerque Veterans, Military Families, Domenici Constituents to Greet President Bush With Sea of “Support the Troops, End the War” Signs." We'll see.

Iraq is at least as unpopular as Vietnam was, but back then there was a draft, giving incentive to young men and women to take to the streets. This time around, as comedian Bill Maher wisecracks, standing in line to get an I-Phone has been more popular than protesting the war.


Weekend developments in the probe of state transportation department construction deals can be found here with a Big Bill contributor surfacing in connection to one project. Everyone is now watching and wondering whether there will be even more federal indictments in the Bernalillo County Metro Courthouse construction scandal.


It turns out there has been an investigation of Tommy Rodella going on for some time, but news of the probe of the Rio Arriba magistrate and husband of Dem State Rep. Debbie Rodella just broke. Tommy says it's a Big Bill vendetta--that the husband of Guv campaign operative, Amanda Cooper, is out to get him. The Rodella's are never boring...

We're at two candidates now in the Dem race for Bernalillo County Clerk next year. Agnes Maldonado, executive director of the NM Coalition Against Domestic Violence and sister to Dem ABQ State Senator Bernadette Sanchez, tells us she will not make a run for the office. She was considered as a possible appointee to replace Mary Herrera last year, but the Bernalillo County Commission chose Maggie Toulouse Oliver who will now seek the Dem nomination as will assistant city clerk Kelly Fulgenzi...

Was that Public Regulation Commissioner Jason Marks we had running for the ABQ Wilson congressional seat, if only for a couple of hours last week and startling at least several emailers? It was and we were obviously straying. We had written a story about Democrat Jason Call running for the seat and said another candidate was Jason Marks, instead of saying Jon Adams. Lots of "J's there to mess us up as the caffeine wore off. Marks, an attorney, is seeking re-election to his ABQ PRC seat next year...

Meanwhile, another PRC commissioner, Sandy Jones from southern NM, is taking some serious hits over his comments about an electric rate increase in Las Cruces. Maybe he's now wondering whether he should have run for a congressional seat...

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