Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Weh Weighs In: NM GOP Chair Responds To Critics, Plus: Insider Info On Picking Roundhouse Leaders, And: Heinrich's First Hire & Our Reader Mailbag 

Allen Weh
For Republicans, this was the Murphy's Law election--everything that could go wrong went wrong. NM GOP Chairman Allen Weh has been taking the hits over the election disaster. He blogs in with this defense:

The national GOP chair and the GOP chairs of the states that went blue didn’t create the financial crisis; they didn’t have anything to do with the fiscal irresponsibility of some GOP congressmen who forgot what Republican’s stand for, and they sure can’t be faulted for being out gunned by superior resources...that made a significant difference...Nevertheless, it’s appropriate that the national chairmanship turn over, and it is appropriate that I turn over...I welcome a new chairman...who has character and integrity, is capable of raising the money the party will need, and can do the job. Period!

Weh also responds to charges that the party has been obsessed with the ABQ congressional race at the expense of party building and also charges that the same group of consultants and hangers-on have had a stranglehold on the party:

RNC money that comes into NM is essentially spent by the RNC. They hire the contractors, etc. The NM GOP doesn’t make those decisions. Also, money that went to (ABQ GOP congressional candidate) Darren White’s campaign was national money...The idea that money was diverted away from (GOP Bernalillo County District Attorney candidate Lisa Torraco) to White is simply not true. County level races are historically supported by their respective county parties...Some counties do a better job than others. I predict the GOP will be back in good shape for the 2010 election.

Not many candidates have surfaced to replace Weh. Farmington's Allen McCulloch has been actively pursuing support for the January chair election. He is opposed by many who also opposed Weh, but they have no major candidates.

Weh's prediction that the R's will be in good shape for the 2010 election will have Dems jumping out of their chairs. If they want to bet with him, they should contact him directly.


Here is insider info so deep you have to be elected to see it play out. We bring it to you in anticipation of the state legislative leadership elections. Most wall-leaners see Senate Majority Michael Sanchez retaining his post. It is a vital position, deciding what legislation gets considered and setting the tone for the political direction of our state. Now, how the power-play plays out:

In the House when we have leadership contests with several candidates. We have successively dropped the low vote candidate and taken successive ballots until one member receives a majority vote. The Senate did otherwise when (Majority Leader) Michael Sanchez was elected with a plurality within the caucus. There are no hard rules for the leadership elections which could make for an interesting caucus vote. Some could insist that the Senate act as the House does, and take successive ballots until someone wins with a majority. I don't think Michael will win that way. But if they vote on a single ballot plurality vote, Michael will probably have the most votes.

House and Senate Dems will hold separate caucus meetings to elect their leaders weeks before the 60 day legislative session starts January 20th. Potential challengers to Sanchez, if there will be any, are playing their cards close to the vest. Names are not circulating. That is not the case for Senate president pro tem. Tim Jennings is seen being ousted by a coalition of northern and progressive senators.


Soon-to-be ABQ Congressman Martin Heinrich has gone young with his first major staff pick. Steve Haro, 31, who served as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Western Regional Political Director and previously handled press duties for U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles, has been named as Heinrich's chief of staff, say several Capitol Hill insiders.

Heinrich, 36, had some personnel issues in his campaign, but overcame them and went on to win. Haro is a newcomer to the top spot on a congressional staff so he will be scrutinized. Heinrich's ability to carry on the high quality constituent service, which is a tradition for the district, will be especially watched. A side note: Haro visited Israel with Rep. Becerra in January of this year.


The mail has been piling up post-election. Let's go through some.

South Valley Alligator---(Bernalillo County Democratic County Commissioner) Deanna Archuleta has no chance of ever being elected mayor of Albuquerque. A left winger is dead on arrival. Moreover, even a hint of association with Big Bill she would doom the electoral aspirations of any and all.

NM State University economist Chris Erickson: The reason the Legislature faces a deficit this year is not a recession, but the fall in Oil and Natural gas prices, which are still at historically high levels, but lower than last year. The problem is that the legislature spent like drunken sailors during the heady years of high oil and gas prices and now finds themselves over committed as energy prices fall. I think this an important point as you let them off the hook by stating that it is a recession that has led to the state’s financial difficulties.

David Oakley, Santa Fe--Joe, Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your blog during the most amazing election I’ve ever seen. I congratulate you on your status as New Mexico’s #1 political observer and historian. Keep up the good work.

Republican Gary Simpson--I feel for (Lieutenant Governor ) Diane Denish. It will fall on her administration to break the bad news to New Mexicans that taxes will have to be increased. If only the rest of the country could have seen what has been going on in New Mexico with a Democrat Governor and Democrat controlled legislature they would have had a preview of coming attractions on the national scene. How quickly New Mexicans forgot that when (Governor) Gary Johnson left office New Mexico had a huge surplus and was only one of several states not in the red.


From David Letterman: "There was a little confusion at the meeting there at the White House when...President Bush was told that Obama was coming. He said 'Oh, you mean we caught him?'"....From the blog mailbag: Obama is not even president yet and already he's sitting down with an unpopular, aggressive world leader without preconditions. That's right, he met with George Bush in the White House today.

Don't worry, Barack will be on the receiving end soon enough.

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