Monday, February 01, 2021

Nancy Teams With Randi And Rocks ABQ Congress Race; Pelosi In Tele-Town Hall For McGinn, Plus: Libertarians To Enter Congress Contest And Guv's Pocket Veto Appraised  

The ABQ congressional race was rocked to its roots this weekend when hopeful Randi McGinn announced a telephone town hall she will conduct tonight with none other than US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as her "special guest."

(McGinn said Monday the townhall has been postponed because meetings Pelosi is having over COVID are going late in DC due to the snowstorm. The Speaker did come with this four minute video in which she praised McGinn, without explicit endorsing her.)

Even though Nancy did not officially endorse McGinn, it is a tacit endorsement from the Speaker who R's love to revile but who is highly popular among state Democrats and who has a knack for picking political winners. 

McGinn, 65, is a prominent trial attorney who has been a major donor for the Democrats, giving hundreds of thousands in contributions that go back to the mid 90's. That includes boatloads of cash for the Dem Congressional Campaign Committee and Emily's List. 

The Nancy-Randi tag team sent the other five Dem hopefuls in the race reeling. Those who could catch their breath launched a counterattack, saying McGinn's background has not been fully vetted, that she is an amateur who isn't ready for the Congress and that she is trying to buy the congressional seat.

But Pelosi had to know all that before she lent her name to the townhall. And they left out something. McGinn was a feminist and fighter long before #MeToo. Her prowess on her chosen field of battle--the courtroom--is unquestioned. She's rich for a reason. 

And what do MLG and Senator Ben Ray think, both of whom are close to the Speaker? Were they consulted? Well, what do you think?

After the riots at the Capitol and Pelosi's unflinching response her political capital within the Democratic Party has never been higher (Sorry, AOC). Her speakership has entered the realm of the historic. Her push for McGinn is going to be hard to ignore by the several hundred members of the state Dem Central Committee who will choose a nominee for the special election once Rep. Haaland is confirmed as Secretary of Interior.

The Dem nominee is the near certain winner in the special that is expected to be held in June. No R has been elected to the ABQ seat since 2006. 

The other candidates in the contest--State Sen. Sedillo Lopez, State Reps Stansbury, Caballero and Louis and polticio Victor Reyes--are no slouches. But that wind they just felt in their faces is McGinn running past them--with Nancy Pelosi pushing.

Chris Luchini
The scrappy NM Libertarian Party will field a candidate for the special election for the ABQ congressional seat. 

Chairman Chris Luchini says the party retained major party status when Stephen Curtis, a Lib candidate for a court of appeals seat last November, received 7 percent of the statewide vote. That's above the 5 percent threshold required for the party to secure major status.

Among other things, that achievement gives the Libertarians the right to field a candidate for a vacant US House seat. Luchini tells NM Politics with Joe Monahan:

Like the other major parties our central committee members (currently about 3 dozen) will choose a nominee when the vacancy becomes official. We have three or four names being tossed around and there is the possibility that we could get a name in there that is well-known to the public. 

So who will it be? Luchini says the potential candidates weighing a bid are keeping it low key. He did say the big name he teased is not former NM Gov. Gary Johnson, who ran for president as a Libertarian 2016.

The Dems have six announced candidates for the post. The R's have at least two with more looking.  

Luchini, a physicist, says their candidate will bring the party's traditional message of minimalist government and individual liberty to the congressional race. 

The Libertarians have only 0.9 percent of the 1.360 million registered voters in the state or about 13,000. But they make up in zeal what they lack in numbers.


That vote by a state Senate committee that would take away the pocket veto from NM governors has the Roundhouse watchers analyzing. From one of our Senior Alligators:

The debate on the pocket veto misses an important point. If the Legislature did not wait until the last minute to get bills up to the Governor, she would not have the power to pocket veto them. The law states:

"Every bill presented to the governor during the last three days of the session shall be approved by him within twenty days after the adjournment. . . Unless so approved and signed by him such bill shall not become a law."

I've wondered why our Legislature, which is already significantly weak in our Constitutional structure, would cede so much power to the Governor (any Governor) by waiting to get bills to her or him at the last minute. The Legislature could avoid pocket vetos by getting bills up to the Fourth Floor before the three-day window at the end of the session. 

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