Thursday, November 06, 2008

Tim Jennings Sleeps With The Fishes; Plot To Take Him Out Underway, Plus: The China Syndrome; Bill As Ambassador? And: More Election Fallout 

Sen. Jennings
Tim Jennings sleeps with the fishes. So say a variety of analysts, Alligators and hangers-on as they game out the impact of the election on the leadership of the Legislature. They seem nearly unanimous in their belief that the conservative lawmaker from Roswell, the Senate president pro tem, will be stripped of his position. They predict Jennings, a well-liked and well-respected legislator, will be sacrificed because liberals have increased their numbers in the Senate and that Jennings handed them his own murder weapon--a robocall he made into the district of Republican Senator Lee Rawson Election Eve condemning the campaign conducted against Senator Minority Whip Lee Rawson in Las Cruces. The move was widely condemned by the Dem hierarchy, including Big Bill and House Speaker Lujan as heresy. Now, with the liberals hungry for their pound of flesh and their appetites whetted by election victories, they are seen feasting on Jennings. (It appears Rawson, with some provisional ballots still to be counted, has lost his Senate seat 51% to 49% to Steve Fischmann, who will now be only be too glad to be part of the hit team formed to take out Tim.)

State Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez of Belen is seen by the same political circles as surviving in his position when the Legislature meets for a sixty day session in January. He is seen as acquiescing to sacrificing Jennings or else he could end up sleeping at the bottom of the river. Who would replace Jennings who has significant influence over Senate committee assignments? Names floating include Senators Pete Campos, Carlos Sisneros. Linda Lopez and Phil Griego.

One other angle. Will the libs make a move on Senate Finance Committee boss John Arthur Smith? The conservative legislator, known by Big Bill as "Dr. No" for warning of state funding shortfalls, is a major stumbling block to spending more money on government programs.


Among the many impacts of Tuesday's vote none is more far-reaching for this state than the possibility of Big Bill giving up the governorship to take a place in the Obama Administration. And the chatter over that prospect is getting loud and more defined. My top level sources report in on what has been going on behind the scenes. Here is a report from one of them:

The Governor has a confirmed meeting with Obama in mid-November at which time an offer for him to be Ambassador to China will be accepted. Remember, Ambassador to China is where the first George Bush got a step up. This comes from deep inside Obama's camp, and from what I can tell very, very reliable...The Gov. responded several weeks ago to a request from Obama about what four positions he would take and how he was qualified for them. The four the Gov. sent in were: Secretary of State, President of the World Bank, Secretary of Commerce and Ambassador to China.

That's pretty darn specific from a Senior Alligator. We'll see. The Governor's office reacted to this report Thursday. "There is no meeting scheduled. Why would he take either of those jobs (ambassador to China or World Bank"?)

Well, they are pretty good jobs, maybe that's why. But we'll let Bill's statement stand for itself. We rechecked and our sources are sticking to their guns--that a meeting between Bill and Obama has been set. The possibility of Bill becoming China ambassador was mentioned on this blog several weeks ago. It seems it is more, much more, than idle chatter. Stay tuned.


We didn't see Big Bill's name on the list of those selected to lead and/or help out with the Obama transition. Federico Peña, a former Clinton cabinet member under President Clinton, like Big Bill, was on the list of advisory board members. Some of the Gators told us to watch for Bill to pop up on the transition team, but we're not going to read too much into the fact that he hasn't.


We projected about 850,000 New Mexicans would trek to the polls. The Secretary of State's office says about 814,000 exercised the franchise. That's a turnout of 68% of the registered voters. Bernalillo County may hit 72% of those registered, or 283,000 when all the votes are tallied. In 2004, statewide turnout was 70% of registered. Because we don't purge the voter lists as much as the old days, it is hard to get turnout much beyond that 70% mark.


From deep in La Politica, in the South Valley of ABQ, comes this take on the crushing defeat of state Republicans Tuesday night: "It was worse than Custer. At least Custer shot a few."

And just how did Obama do it? "Hispanics and the Albuquerque area delivered the knockout punch for Barack Obama..." analyzes the AP's Barry Massey. Who can argue with that? Barack carried Bernalillo County by 59,000 votes, dropping jaws to the floor at our KANW broadcast.


Republicans were heard wondering aloud Wednesday if NM GOP Chairman Allen Weh would resign now because of the party's election disaster. "It would be the dignified thing to do," said one. A new party chairman is to be selected in January. No heavy weight names are circulating yet.


Veteran politico Mike Santullo says GOP ABQ North Valley State Senator John Ryan survived a challenge from Dem Victor Raigoza because of ethnic voting. "I don't believe the anti-gay hit piece that was mailed on behalf of Ryan by the state Republicans was responsible for him pulling off the win. Large areas of that district have not been easy historically for Hispanic candidates. Ethnic voting is what likely cost Raigoza." He declared.

The district also covers precincts in Sandoval County, including the Corrales area. Ryan won 51.3% to 48.7%. It was Raigoza's second try. He lost a primary election in 2004. We had earlier blogged that he opposed Ryan that year. It was John Hooker who four years ago beat Raigoza in the Dem primary and then lost to Ryan.


ABQ GOP State Rep. Teresa Zanetti lost, in part, because she only hit the mailboxes a couple of times, analyzed Dem John Wertheim. "Bill O'Neill worked it harder and she got caught in the Obama tidal wave." He said. O'Neill, in his second attempt, took the seat 52% to 48%.


We talk with KOB-TV's Stuart Dyson about the state's all new freshman US House delegation.

AG King
How busy did it get Election Night for New Mexico's media mavens? Well, one of them told of being so snowed under that when Attorney General Gary King showed up for an interview, he told Gary he had no time to do a formal interview. The solution? Gary was given a recorder and told to interview himself! He did and the "interview" went fine. What did Gary ask himself, anyway? Let's speculate. How about: "Don't you think you'd make a great governor, Gary"? Answer: "Yes, Diane Denish was telling me just that the other day!"

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