Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Light Guv Race: Two Tiers Developing: The Monied And The Unmonied, Plus: Teague And Sec. Chu Politiciking, And: Jerry Pino's Matanza 

Rael And Colon
The race for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor appears to be developing into a two tier contest--Lawrence Rael and Brian Colon versus the other half dozen or so announced or unannounced contenders. Monday night, Colon, the former Chairman of the Party said he attracted about 400 to his first big fund-raiser. He did not release how much he raised, but a campaign insider said "it will be competitive" with the $50,000 Rael told me he raised at his first major event.

The first state finance reports will be filed in October and if Colon and Rael are flush with cash compared to the other candidates, the race could quickly morph into a two man battle. It will be up to the rest of the field to stop that scenario.

Shadowing the race is the speculation first heard here on who Diane Denish would name as her Light Guv if she was appointed Governor in the event Big Bill snagged a job with the Obama administration. Would it be Rael who seems to have closer ties to Di than Colon? Or would it be someone out of the blue? No matter. The candidates have got to run like there's no appointment to be had and like there is no tomorrow. Certainly Rael and Colon are of that mind-set as they are fully engaged in the 2010 Money Primary.

(Colon's comments at his fund-raiser are posted here.


Rep. Teague
It wasn't all business for Energy Secretary Steven Chu Monday when he stopped at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces to talk about renewable energy at a conference sponsored by NMSU and at which southern Dem US Rep. Harry Teague was honorary chair. Chu also worked to give some financial energy to the Teague re-election campaign. A

According to a fund-raising invite, Chu was the "Special Guest' at a 7 p.m. dinner last night at the Ramada Palms Hotel. Cheap seats for those attending were going for $500, with the high end hitting $2,400--the maximum allowable under federal campaign finance law for a primary or general election. Says the invite:

The event is a dinner of small capacity with large interest in our special guest, which is why our contribution levels are fixed. We hope to see you there!

Teague is hoping that a good showing in Dona Ana County like the one he had in 2008 will offset the bleeding he will suffer in the conservative southeastern portion of the district. Republican Steve Pearce is off and running in what is the NM House election to watch in 2010. The R's slammed Teague for hosting the energy conference, calling Chu a "global warming activist."


Was there a poll conducted recently testing the waters for a possible US House candidacy by ABQ GOP State Senator Kent Cravens? The answer is yes, but the answer to whether Cravens will seek the seat held by Dem Rep. Martin Heinrich is no. Cravens confirmed to us that there was a poll, but he was mum on the details. He called the survey "encouraging" but said he is firmly in the corner of GOP candidate Jon Barela who has already announced a run. Earlier, funeral home director Kevin Daniels spiked the idea of a GOP congressional bid.

Cravens, who has served in the Senate since 2001, runs an Alphagraphics franchise with wife Melanie. Political circles have chatted him up as a possible 2010 GOP lieutenant governor candidate, but he said he is not interested.

While there are plenty of potential Light Guvs on the Dem side, there are no announced GOP #2 contenders. Santa Fe's J.R. Damron has told friends he will seek the slot. Former Clayton area GOP State Rep. Brian Moore told me he is also weighing a run.


US Attorney Greg Fouratt may or not be headed toward the exits now that the CDR pay-to-play investigation into Big Bill's administration has ended with no indictments. But it's a given that the Democratic White House would at some time want one of their own in the position. The Alligators of La Politica are already gaming the action. Here's one incisive take:

The difficulty in who to select is that because we are a fairly underpopulated state--most quality attorneys are also connected politically and that gives rise to allegations that the position is offered up as political payback--especially if the lawyer is close to the Governor because then the R's will say the appointment was done to protect the Gov. Of course, the vast majority of quality lawyers are close to him so that rules them out.

There may not be TV ads or campaign literature, but the race to be US Attorney is on. Santa Fe attorney John Pound is still frequently mentioned as a front-runner for the post because of his long ties to Senator Bingaman who will have a major say on who will get the job if and when Fouratt is replaced. ABQ's Pete Dinelli is actively campaigning for the post.

Speaking of the US Attorney post, former US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will be in Hobbs, NM next month. That's about as far away from ABQ as he can get and still be in the state. And that's the way he probably wants it. The US attorney scandal featuring the ouster of David Iglesias had Gonzalez under the gun. Gonzales of Texas will speak at the local Hispano Chamber of Commerce annual banquet.

Joe (me) and Jerry
ABQ Dem state senator and lieutenant governor hopeful Jerry Ortiz y Pino is known as one of the state's leading liberals, but he has come with a campaign plan that might even attract conservatives. Ortiz y Pino, noting our blog in which ABQ Dem State Sen. Linda Lopez discusses her Sept. 5 Light Guv announcement and how she will serve pastries and burritos at the event, says he is going whole hog--literally. Ortiz y Pino will throw a traditional matanza to mark his official entry into the race. Get your calenders out. The matanza featuring a pig roasted in the ground will be held October 11 at the Cornstalk Institute on Barcelona, midway between Isleta and Coors.

Good start, Jerry. Now about those tax increases. Could you bury them with the pig?

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