Monday, June 29, 2009

Pearce Not Ready To Play; Delays Decision On 2010; Could Guv Be His Best Shot? Plus: Di Putting Out Some Fires 

Pearce (New Mexican)
There's tentativeness in the Steve Pearce camp. The former southern NM Congressman previously said he would make a decision by June 30 on whether to seek his old southern congressional seat or launch a bid for Guv by 2010. Now he is delaying that decision until the July 20 to July 27 time frame. Insiders are saying the 61 year old Pearce is very likely to want to see more polling before deciding whether to plunge into or stay out of the political waters.

Pearce's camp is spinning that the 2008 Democratic sweep of the state's congressional delegation can be written off as an "historically bad year." The Dems captured the three open US House seats as well as the vacant Senate seat. But history has another very different lesson. It says that the opposition retaking a congressional seat is the real historical anomaly. Since 1972, only one incumbent NM US House member has been ousted, and that was in a fluke race in the north in the late 90's. New Mexicans are as likely to change their congressmen as they are their allegiance to their Aggies or Lobos--which is to say hardly ever.


Can we argue for a moment that Pearce's best bet to resurrect his political career may not be the southern congressional seat now held by Lea County Dem Harry Teague, but a run for Governor? That may sound like a stretch, given Pearce's very conservative profile that doesn't play well in the ABQ metro and up North. But consider this: New Mexico has been known to give the R's the Guv's chair, especially after a period when corruption news dominates. (Mechem in '50, Cargo in '66; Johnson in '94).

Pearce, a former state legislator, is not associated with the current mess, has a reputation for integrity and would have believability when he campaigned on cleaning up Santa Fe. Also, his military background has particular appeal among male Hispanics. Pearce's problem is his ideology. Would he stubbornly cling to the too far-right policies that have spelled disaster for this generation of New Mexico Republicans? Politicians change all the time and Pearce's image is not set in stone statewide, but it takes strength to change.

As for campaign money, that takes us to Pearce's personal oil-based wealth. Pearce will count on national money that may or may not come for a southern congressional run. That will largely depend on polling. For a Guv run, he might feel more pressure to write a personal check to kick-start a campaign. National money is not going to be heavily involved in that race. Pearce is estimated to be worth north of $10 million. But it may be money he wants to keep for a long retirement rather than an political comeback that is going to be uphill no matter the race he might choose to enter. Our bottom lines on this are....

We know the scuttlebutt that Pearce is not a Santa Fe fan and not anxious to take up residence in the Guv's mansion, but if ethics and corruption are to be the banner issues for the GOP next year, a case can be made that Pearce could have major potential. At least we just attempted to make that case.

Doug Turner
While Pearce ponders, another Republican is making louder noises about joining the three GOP contenders already up with exploratory committees for the '10 Guv run. Public relations executive Doug Turner has been traveling the state and talking with potential staffers for a Guv run. The 40 year old has never sought elective office. He is seen as a moderate R who would compete with ABQ GOP State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones. Conservatives Greg Zanetti and Allen Weh have been in the race for a couple of months.


For Lt. Governor Diane Denish, the very early front runner in the 2010 Guv race, these languid summer days are filled with rumors and rumors of rumors. The latest that swept across the state like a fast moving Monsoon was that she had reconvened her transition team. It was first formed late last year when it appeared Big Bill was heading to a cabinet job in D.C. The rumor that she had reformed it led to speculation that something was afoot with the tenure of Bill. But Denish's office moved to quash the gossip:

There is absolutely no truth to that rumor. The Lieutenant Governor has not reconvened her transition team. Diane Denish is focused on serving the people of New Mexico as Lieutenant Governor, continuing to make state government more open and transparent.

And it seem like Di is ready to rumble. Take a gander at this campaign message she zapped into cyberspace:

You may have heard over the last couple of weeks that there are several people who said they are "exploring" a run for Governor. I, however, do not need to explore the idea of running for Governor; I am running and want to be the next Governor of New Mexico.

Okay, if you say so, Di.

And then there was the Light Guv's mini brush fire over donations she received from some of the key figures in the NM housing authority scandal.

The Lt. Governor cut a check donating the funds we received in relation to the housing indictments to the United South Broadway Corporation. The check was for $5,000.

There's some deja vu with that one. Remember how Big Bill was constantly returning campaign donations when he was getting busted in the newspapers in his earlier years for taking money from those who then ended up with contracts from the state? Denish has had a few episodes of her own, including this latest one. Suffice it to say, she doesn't need any more.


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Friends of Lynn Rosenthal, executive Director of the NM Coalition Against Domestic Violence, have been sending in this notice of Rosenthal's appointment as the White House's new advisor on violence against women. And friends of Raul Torrez, 32, of ABQ also wanted it known that the assistant attorney general in the special prosecutions division for AG King has been named a White House Fellow for 2009-2010. The program is for promising future leaders and it is a hard-to-get appointment. Don't get too homesick, Raul. Tell mom to send you green chile. They don't serve that in the White House cafeteria.

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