Thursday, June 23, 2011

Susana's Losing Hands; Smacked Again With Judicial Paddle; How To Turn It Around? Plus: He's Back; Gators Report Ex-Mayor Chavez Will Run for Congress 

The Governor
At a time when she should be at her most powerful, Susana Martinez keeps showing losing hands. With Wednesday's State Supreme Court ruling the six-month Governor has lost three major cases before the high court while her relationship with the Legislature continues in gridlock. In short, nothing much is getting done. If it continues much longer, they'll have to rename Paseo de Peralta outside the Roundhouse "Confrontation Road."

Martinez is expending precious political capital in these first six months. Maybe the polls hold up for a while, but over the long-term losing weakens you. Soon the public's take could shift from, "Look how they're trying to stop Susana from doing good," to "Why can't Susana get anything done?"

There's also the issue of institutional damage to the Governor's office. She lost Wednesday defending a partial veto, something earlier Governors had done, but she decided to press the matter in court. When she lost, she lost a negotiating tool for herself and all future Governors.

Advantage: Legislature.

Having a confrontational and gridlocked governorship as we last did in the 90's when Republican Gary Johnson was at the helm is a luxury for when the economy is booming and confidence is high. Folks don't really take much notice. But they do notice when the economy is lousy and the future is riddled with uncertainty.

Susana, as Donald Trump might say, needs to learn the art of the deal if she is to have a successful tenure. She can get some deregulation, further spending reductions and even some tax reform, but she can't get it by dictating or prosecuting.

There's nothing like a good whack of the judicial paddle against a Governor's posterior to get their attention. She has had three of them (Here and here). Now is the time for the Governor to begin building bridges, not continuing to burn them.

What happened to the vaunted legislative and interpersonal skills of Chief of Staff Keith Gardner and Deputy Chief of Staff Brian Moore, both former legislators? Weren't they supposed to be providing the adult supervision for this new Governor?

Are we going to put some points on the board, fellas, or just continue to play as if there are no other teams? Because if the present course continues, the gubernatorial buttocks are sure to suffer many more sore days.


Former ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez has made a decision about seeking the Democratic nomination for the ABQ US House seat. And the decision is...drum roll, please....he will enter the contest.

TV news has been working the story, but Chavez is not going on the record yet. We confirmed the entry from multiple Alligators. They say he may indicate a candidacy by the end of the month so he can begin raising money July 1. But whenever he goes, Marty is going.

(We kicked the race around with KRQE-TV's Katie Kim.)

The Chavez entry means he will face his longtime rival, State Senator and former ABQ City Councilor Eric Griego. He has already entered the contest to replace Dem Rep. Martin Heinrich who is vacating the seat to run for Senate.

Chavez vs. Griego? Someone keep those guys out of that very dry bosque. The two of them going at it is enough to spark a fire.

We don't see Diane Denish relishing the opportunity to get between Griego and Chavez. We could be out on the limb, but we think her chances of joining this fray just went down.

Who else will dive in? Stay tuned.


Just a friendly reminder to our friends who want to slash federal spending in our state:

In FY 2009, New Mexico ranked fifth in terms of per capita federal spending. That year, the federal government spent $27.4 billion in the state. New Mexico’s gross domestic product that year was $70 billion.

Our private sector here is deeply dependent on the spin off from the Federal cash influx. You start cutting that money in a tiny populated state of two million and you will drive private enterprise here even deeper into the gutter.Nearly 40 percent of the state's economy comes from the federal government in one form or another--jobs, transfer payments etc.

We can protect and enhance our federal dollars and encourage and expand a robust private sector. The two are not mutually exclusive.


Since there's been Alligator talk that interim Bernalillo County Manager Tim Zdunek has a shot at being named as permanent manager by the county commission, we asked one of our county Gators to give us his background as we begin monitoring the selection process:

Tom Zdunek (Zah-DUN-nek)joined the county in 2002 as director of the Facility and Fleet Management Department. In 2008, Tom was promoted to deputy county manager of the county’s Public Works Division, a position he held until the county commission this year asked him to take the reigns as interim county manager. Tom’s professional experience includes over 30 years as a manager and executive administrator in the private sector. In 1970, he joined Mountain Bell in Albuquerque as a technician and manager. Tom concluded his career in telecommunications as a field operations director for Qwest in 2002. He has a Master of Business Administration degree. Tom resides in Albuquerque with his wife, Janet. They have been married for nearly 40 years and have two daughters, Brenda and Lori of Albuquerque, and five granddaughters.

Okay, now that we can pronounce his name, Zdunek is on the watch list


Roll Call in DC reports that GOP US Senate candidate Heather Wilson is staffing up:

Wilson has hired Todd Harris as general consultant to her campaign for the state’s open Senate seat. Harris was a top adviser to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in his campaign last year. Wilson has also hired pollster Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies, and Steve Meyers will be her fundraising direct mail consultant. Wilson previously announced Bryce Dustman will serve as campaign manager.


Here's an interesting email on that far-in-the-future 2014 race for Governor:

Joe, your blog began the early discussion this week of potential Democratic challengers to Governor Martinez in 2014. I would keep an eye out for U.S. Attorney Ken Gonzales for any number of positions including a 2014 race. He wasn't on many radar screens for the U.S. attorney job and hasn't been included among the usual suspects for the U.S. House or Senate seats but his potential is worth watching. He could be a troubling match-up for the Governor.

And Gonzales does have northern New Mexico roots. And the Democrats are sorely in need of fresh Hispanic faces. And younger ones. Gonzales is 47.

We'll keep an eye out even as the other one is drawn to the cool waters of the pool in this Summer of 2011.

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