Friday, April 09, 2010

Snuggling With Di; Light Guv Hopefuls Line Up For Hugs, Plus: PRC Intrigue As Sloan Is Convicted, And: More Weh TV And Dems Don't Like It 

Denish & Colon
All the Dem lieutenant governor candidates are trying to snuggle up to the current light guv and soon-to-be Dem Guv nominee Diane Denish. Here's a pic of Brian Colon and Di that Colon included in a recent fund-raising email.

Insiders point out that among the five candidates for Light Guv, Colon, former chairman of the NM Dem Party, has the closest ties to Big Bill. His relationship with Denish is the subject of constant chatter, with the consensus being they are not close.

But most New Mexico Governors have had little luck influencing who their number two will be. And that seems to be the way things are shaping up this year. Colon is the front runner for the nomination. He has the largest cash account and dominated the Dems preprimary convention. Denish may want someone else, but overtly interfering is not seen as a wise move, given that Di has her hands full in advancing her own candidacy in this volatile political environment.

Lawrence Rael seems best positioned to challenge Colon in the final weeks. The key question is whether he will have the money to buy the TV time to mount the challenge. State campaign finance reports to be released Monday should provide a clearer picture.


Allen Weh is up on the air with his second TV spot, one of many we'll be seeing from the independently wealthy GOP Guv contender.

Weh opens the 30 second ad saying, "This campaign? It's all about jobs..." Like his first ad, it is well-produced. Weh, who Democrats see as hot-tempered and prone to flying off the handle, is cool as a cucumber here. The director obviously worked to present a likable and approachable Weh. They also used a female announcer to set a more mellow tone.

Weh asserts in his ad that, "We have big challenges. We don't need more politicians, we need honest leaders." The ad ends with the announcer intoning: "Honesty, integrity. Allen Weh means business."

But isn't Weh a politician, Dems asked? After all, he campaigned for two terms and was elected as NM GOP chairman. More seriously, the D's are already challenging Weh's integrity by calling him a "war profiteer" because of Iraq war contracts his CSI Aviation was awarded under the Bush administration.

And the Dem Party piled on. They said Weh claims in his ad to have a plan to create jobs, but pointed out his Web site doesn't even have a "jobs" section.

But Democratic attacks are not going to hurt Weh now. It is his fellow R's who are going to have to soon start poking holes in him, or his slick ads backed by deep pockets are going to continue to give him momentum for the nomination.


Thanks to readers of the weekly Alibi for voting us the best blog in ABQ in the paper's "The Best of Albuquerque 2010." That's particularly gratifying because the paper circulates heavily among twentysomethings, and this is all about building a better New Mexico for them. Our Web address is www.joemonahan.com.


Everyone and their mother is calling on Democratic Public Regulation Commissioner Carol Sloan to resign in the wake of her felony convictions for assaulting a woman last year who she thought was having an affair with her husband. The state Democratic Party and Light Guv Diane Denish, already fighting the image of a party engulfed in corruption, wasted no time in calling for Sloan to resign. The state GOP was also quick to call on Sloan to get out.

If Sloan doesn't take to heart those calls for her resignation, she will be allowed to finish out her term which runs until the end of the year. But state law says she won't be able to seek re-election, and that brings us to the now four way Dem primary race for the western NM seat to replace Sloan and get a $90,000 a year salary. The primary winner is assured of victory in November as it is heavy Dem.

Insiders say there's a good chance that another Native American could replace Sloan. The district is designed for Indian Country and was represented for eight years by Lynda Lovejoy, now a state senator, before Sloan won it in 2006.

Theresa Becenti-Aguilar, a Navajo who once worked as the tribal liaison for the PRC, is the lone Indian in the race now that Sloan is gone. She also worked in tribal relations for Congressman Tom Udall, now a US Senator.

Former Gallup Mayor George Galanis is also seen as a top contender. He was elected as a magistrate court judge a few years ago in a heavy Navajo area. However, Galanis has some baggage. In 2002, a Gallup firefighter charged with domestic violence was released from jail on a Sunday when Galanis called in the release by telephone. Normally, people arrested on the weekend have to wait until Monday to face a judge. The special treatment could be an issue, especially since Sloan made so many headlines over domestic violence.

Andrew Leo Lopez of ABQ's South Valley is also running and says his candidacy has appeal in Indian Country. Also in the primary for the Dist. 4 seat is Hank Hughes, an advocate for the homeless in Santa Fe.


It's a big break for Court of Appeals Judge Linda Vanzi in her fast and furious primary battle with challenger Dennis Montoya. The Secretary of State has ruled that Montoya is not eligible for public financing for the race because he did not follow the qualifying rules. That means he loses out on $85,000 in public money to run his campaign against Vanzi.

Vanzi is not taking public money and she is the heavy favorite of the legal community. They will push money her way. Montoya is not going to have that advantage and if he doesn't raise significant cash, the race could be lost. But Vanzi may need the advantage. In a Dem primary between an Anglo woman and a Hispanic male the numbers could go either way.

Vanzi, who was appointed to the bench in 2008, has won another break. The labor union AFSCME has endorsed her over Montoya. That means manpower and money to help her get the vote out.


We traveled north to Taos recently and then up to Cimarron where we stopped at the historic and nicely updated St. James Hotel where noted western outlaws stayed in the 19th century and where more than a few of them met their maker in legendary gun fights.

We took this pic of a mountain lion that now presides over the hotel lobby. Even one-time regular St. James guest and notorious outlaw Jesse James wouldn't scare this fella....

Thanks for your company this week. From Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan reporting.

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