Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Lujan Grisham Goes For Guv; Heather Wilson Resurfaces With Visit ToTrump Tower For Job Talk; How's That Play With Pearce? Plus: SomeTuesday Bottom Lines 

Heather Wilson
ABQ Dem Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham has announced she will seek the Dem governor nomination in 2018. In an announcement video she cites the "failed policies of last six years" under GOP Governor Martinez. She is first official candidate for the Dem nomination. Lujan Grisham leaving her ABQ congressional seat to run for Governor will set off a land rush for that office. 

From her website New Mexicans for Michelle

I’m running for Governor of New Mexico to bring change to New Mexico – something I’ve been doing my entire life. As we begin this campaign, I want to hear from you - about the challenges you face and your ideas on how we can fix the state. It's going to take all of us..

No Republican has yet announced for governor. Another big name on the Democratic side that people are watching and who said he may run for governor is Attorney General Hector Balderas

Rep. Steve Pearce may have done a double-take when he learned that his old rival, former GOP ABQ Congresswoman Heather Wilson, was meeting with the Trump transition team Monday to talk about becoming the next Director of National Intelligence. While Wilson, 55, is now the president of the South Dakota School of Mines, she still has a deep New Mexico connection and if she managed to wiggle her way into the Trump circle she just might compete with Steve for the Trumpian ear.

So far, Pearce is the go-to guy in the state for the Trumpsters. He showed up at Trump's last NM rally and he threw his support (but not his endorsement) behind the billionaire businessman. Also, Pearce is tight with VP-elect Pence who served in the US House with Pearce and shares his socially conservative views.

Wilson on the other hand has been allied with Gov. Martinez--she ran her transition committee for a time in 2010. Martinez refused to endorse Trump and was often critical of his campaign.

(During that 2010 transition insiders say Wilson had a falling out with Martinez political Svengali Jay McCleskey who was basically running the show. Wilson's husband, attorney Jay Hone, currently works in the state's risk management division.)

Wilson, who lost the 2008 GOP US Senate primary to Pearce, has a strong foreign policy background. She has expertise in European and Soviet affairs, having worked in the DC defense establishment before getting elected to the US House in 1998. From that standpoint her being mentioned for a job with Trump is understandable but analyzing what the Trump folks do in any greater detail is a fool's errand.

One of the Alligators came with a wild guess that maybe Republican US House Speaker Paul Ryan put Wilson in touch with Trump world, reminding all that Ryan is no pal of Pearce's. But as we warned, analyzing any of Trump's moves subjects you to getting egg on your face, eating crow or perhaps even ten lashes with the dreaded wet noodle.

It is interesting that Wilson resurfaces in the political world shortly after her old patron and mentor, former GOP US Senator Pete Domenici, announced that at the age of 84 he was taking a job as an adviser to the state land commissioner. For the supporters of this duo it's all welcome news. For others (perhaps Pearce) it's like watching bad pennies popping back up.

Wilson's competition for the sensitive intelligence post is stiff. It includes former Hewlett-Packard executive and GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.

One other note on this. A national security scandal brushed up against Wilson a few years back. You wonder if that might tarnish her brand if the intelligence job talk gets more serious:

The world’s largest defense contractor has agreed to pay $4.7 million to settle charges that it illegally used government money to lobby top federal officials to extend its contract to run Sandia Laboratories.  Over five years starting in 2009, top executives for Lockheed Martin--who were being paid by the federal government to run Sandia--ran a fierce campaign to lobby members of Congress and senior Obama administration officials for a seven-year extension of their contract, according to the settlement the Justice Department announced. Lockheed executives, who hired former New Mexico Congresswoman Heather Wilson to help them, didn’t just press people with influence to rehire them for a deal worth $2.4 billion a year. . . They urged them to close the bidding to competition.

The intelligence position requires US Senate confirmation. Republicans now control the Senate with two votes to spare.


Joe Monahan
NM Attorney General and possible '18 Dem Guv candidate Hector Balderas gets a splash in the NYT this month:

A New Mexico businessman claimed to help low-income Spanish-speaking families by finding them foreclosed homes to buy and, in some cases, financing the deals. But Balderas said that Jesus Cano of Albuquerque deceived dozens of consumers by misrepresenting the conditions of the often poorly maintained homes he sold. Sometimes Mr. Cano sold houses he did not even own, the attorney general said, and at other times he tried to sell the same property to more than one family simultaneously. Cano and his firm, JSS, were sued by the attorney general in state court. 

How is NM Dem US Rep. Ben Ray Lujan doing in his job as head of the DCCC considering the D's only picked up six House seats in the November election? This piece takes on that matter and inform us there's some intrigue surrounding the northern congressman. Meantime, Lujan recently named Santa Fe politico Dan Sena as the new executive director the DCCC. . .

How about if Dems Brian Colon and Deanna Archuleta forgo a race for ABQ Mayor in '17 and take a look at running for the US House seat that Michelle Lujan Grisham occupies but is preparing to give up to run for the '18 Dem Guv nomination? It's a scenario the other Dems in the mayoral field would surely welcome. . .

Some belated "thank yous" to Congregation Albert in ABQ and NM AARP for inviting us to speak before them about the November election. They were stimulating sessions. . .

The correct age of new NM GOP Chairman Ryan Cangiolosi is 45. We had it otherwise in a first draft Monday. And the headline on the Monday blog should have read "Heinrich Has Work To Do." We had a typo in the first draft.

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