Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Contests Develop For Leadership Of State's Major Political Parties, Shrapnel From Latest APD Bombshell Sprays; Should FBI Take The Case? And: Happy Thanksgiving, New Mexico  

Ryan Cangiolosi
Both major parties will be getting new leadership for the '18 campaign cycle. Let's look first at the GOP. . .

The race for the chairmanship of the New Mexico Republican Party has quickly ramped up with political veteran Ryan Cangiolosi facing off against grassroots-oriented John Rockwell. The victor will usher in the party's post Martinez-McCleskey era and face high political hurdles in the '18 cycle which will feature an open race for governor, a contest for US senate and yet another battle for control of the NM House.

Cangiolosi has the pole position, winning early endorsements from former Congressman Manuel Lujan and his brother Edward, both stalwarts of the Republican business establishment. In addition, he has worked very closely with oilman Harvey Yates, a former chair of the state GOP who last year ousted Martinez-backed GOP National Committeeman Pat Rogers. Cangiolosi served as business manager for Yates' Jalapeno corporation.

But Rockwell is not seen as pushover and viewed as more Trump friendly than Cangiolosi. The owner of two manufacturing businesses that employ about 100, he touts his "organization and leadership abilities" as he works to influence the 537 members of the GOP Central Committee who meet in ABQ December 11 to name a replacement for Debbie Maestas who is wrapping up a two year term.

Cangiolosi, 45, is a former deputy chief of staff for Gov. Martinez but he had a falling out with political guru McCleskey and quickly fastened himself to the Yates wing of the party which also parted ways with Jay. He is currently a project director for the UNM Health Sciences Center.

Cangiolosi, a Lt. Commander in the navy reserve, is a former chairman of the BernCo GOP. He is also getting important backing from Congressman Steve Pearce and Lt, Governor John Sanchez, both possible '18 GOP gubernatorial candidates.

John Rockwell
Rockwell is appealing to the Trump brigades in an effort to outflank Cangiolosi, saying in a recent email to supporters:

We need to seize this opportunity to help the nation and our state move toward conservative values, respect for the law and those who enforce it, respect for each other, respect for life, toward capitalism, and for job creation.

He also bemoans Trump's NM loss as well as the Dems recapturing the state House from the GOP

We watched as divisions within our own party tore us apart and lack of a comprehensive plan will set us back for years. Our party cannot accept losses like this again. That's why we need bold leadership.

Cangiolosi supported the GOP ticket, but  did not specifically endorse Trump. His focus was on the legislative races where he helped ABQ GOP Rep. Maestas Barnes quash a strong Dem challenge. He references the need for unity in his candidacy announcement:

As State Chairman I will build and execute a strong, sound strategy for victory in races statewide, work with county party leadership to achieve a vibrant network across the state, including an effective statewide voter registration program within the county party operations. I will also continue to unify our party in preparation for 2018.

History say after eight years of GOP rule the state will be looking for a change in the next cycle. Whoever leads the GOP--unified or not--is going to have the wind in their face.


The Democratic Party got back on its feet in this year's election, taking back the state House and winning the state for Hillary Clinton. Now they are looking for a new leader to replace outgoing Chairwoman Deb Haaland who gets some of the credit for the party's rebound.

Haaland is not seeking another term and is said by friends to be mulling over a possible run for Lt. Gov in '18. Remember, she was the Dem lieutenant governor candidate in '14 when she and running mate Gary King were defeated by Gov. Martinez.

Attorney and former longtime Santa Fe County Dem Party Chair Richard Ellenberg, 69, who Haaland defeated for for party chair in 2015, is said by insiders to be the front-runner for the post when the Dem Central Committee makes its decision next spring.

Also in the running is current Dem Vice-Chair Juan Sanchez III and he's not to be underestimated, according to party watchers. He offers a younger perspective (he's 24) and helped guide the party to recent success.

Juan Sanchez 
Haaland took heat from critics who thought she was being too out front for Hillary Clinton and to the detriment of Bernie Sanders who narrowly lost the '16 NM presidential primary to Clinton. Ellenberg stated neutral in the race but he is from Santa Fe, a hotbed of support for Bernie and Sanchez is aligned with Haaland.

The Dems can't afford to flub the governorship in '18. If they do, a Republican governor will preside over legislative redistricting and that could put the Dems on the defensive when it comes to controlling the House in the next decade.


The shrapnel from the latest APD bombshell continues to spray. Now this:

City Attorney Jessica Hernandez plans to hire an independent investigator to examine allegations that Albuquerque police tampered with officers’ lapel camera videos to conceal damaging information from the public.

How can the investigator be "independent" when he or she is hired by the city attorney who is up to her neck in police affairs? Nope. What they need is a criminal investigation by the FBI that subjects the city's leadership to critical questioning on what they knew and when they knew it. That leadership includes Hernandez, Mayor Berry, Chief Eden. Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry and the upper command of APD. Where is the US attorney, anyway?


We blogged Tuesday on how the freeways of ABQ have become race courses and are essentially going unpatrolled, perhaps leading to tragedies like the recent death of a ten year old girl. Here's reader reaction:

It's not only the freeways, Joe. Recently my wife and I were driving east on Montano at about 2:00 PM when we were passed by two pick up trucks racing at speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour, and weaving in and out of traffic lanes. The posted speed limit along that stretch of Montano is 40 mph. The scary thing about this scenario is that there is an elementary school on Montano, and lots of people use the thoroughfare for walking, biking and running, as well as side road traffic that wouldn't have a chance if they pulled out onto Montano during one of these maniacal frenzies. One wonders "where are police when we need them," but this is a tough situation. Maybe we the citizens of this community need to be more responsible in reporting such incidents.


Reader Eric Lucero will spend some of this Thanksgiving holiday at the local cinema. He has some film reviews if you're thinking about doing the same.

Arrival (PG-13) Science-Fiction/Drama **** Stars out of 5 This well written, presented, and imaginative story of an Alien First Contact boasts a great cast and adequate effects. And while Arrival is not based on an original concept, the classified linguistic team’s technical response to a pending world crisis is. Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner & Forrest Whitaker, et al, must race against time to prevent Armageddon.

Rules Don’t Apply (PG-13) Drama/Romantic-Comedy *** Stars out of 5 Actor/Director Warren Beatty (Reds, 1981) returns to continue where fellow director Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator (2004) left off, but on a budget. “Rules…” taps into the Hollywood nostalgia of 1958 LA. The story revolves around the bizarre world of billionaire Howard Hughes (Beatty) and the intersecting lives of two employees; an aspiring actress (Lilly Collins), and a driven personal driver (Alden Ehrenreich). A great ensemble cast, plus the Collins and Ehrenreich performances, save this comic splash of absurdity.

Allied (R) Drama/WWII Espionage Thriller **1/2 Stars out of 5 Director Robert Zemickis has brought us his share of spectacular films; but Allied is not one of them. Seems Zemickis and scripter Steven Knight tried to channel Bridge of Spies (2015), and shamelessly copy Casablanca (1946). Worse, Brad Pitt and  Marion Cotillard fail to sizzle on screen.


Do enjoy the holiday and accept our thanks for your continued attention and support of our efforts. We remain deeply grateful for that. And we are grateful for the resiliency of New Mexicans many of whom have faced difficult times in recent years and continue to do so. This very special state still has many places to go and much to give to you and yours.

Happy Thanksgiving, New Mexico!

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