Inside the Capitol

Monday, June 29, 2009

7-3 Denish IS Running for Governor

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- Lt. Gov. Diane Denish's office wants to make it very clear that rumors she has reconvened her transition team are untrue.
The rumors have been circulating around state offices and various blogs recently. But according to press secretary Josh Rosen there is absolutely no truth to the rumor. "Diane Denish is focused on serving the people of New Mexico as lieutenant governor," he said.
Well, maybe not entirely focused. She also would like to serve us as governor. Not long after releasing a Democratic Governors Association poll showing her handily beating former U.S. Reps. Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson in the 2010 gubernatorial contest, Denish has sent an e-mail to supporters saying, "I AM running for governor."
Denish notes that all the other contenders for the office are merely "exploring" a possible run. Her bottom line pitch is to contribute to her campaign in order to send a message to the "explorers" that New Mexicans want her to be their next governor.
The e-mail also lists the government reforms Denish has championed over the past six years. It is a smart move because Republican candidates are sure to hit hard on the government corruption of the past several years.
So, my apologies for having helped spread the rumors of a reconvened transition team by saying they were believable in light of reports that a federal grand jury had finished its work on a state government corruption case.
Since our last report on the races for governor, Albuquerque Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones has off9icially become an "explorer" for the GOP nomination.
Blogger Joe Monahan says to add Albuquerque public relations executive Doug Turner to the list of Republican hopefuls. Monahan says Turner has been traveling the state interviewing potential staff for his campaign.
Steve Pearce has announced that he still isn't ready to announce his political intentions. Pearce has been looking at both the gubernatorial race and his old congressional seat in southern New Mexico now held by Rep. Harry Teague.
Pearce had said he would make up his mind by the end of June. Now it will be the end of July, he tells a national publication. If Pearce decides to go for his old seat, he already has name recognition and a list of supporters to set a campaign in motion quickly.
But if he decides to go for governor, the time is getting short for fundraising and setting up a statewide organization. One problem is that those who have gotten serious about campaigning already have picked off some of the key supporters that Pearce might have recruited.
Why the wait? Maybe he wants to do some more polling. Or Maybe he wants to see what develops politically from that grand jury investigation.
Cleaning up Santa Fe corruption surely will be a big theme of any GOP candidate's campaign. Monahan thinks Pearce might be best suited as a Republican gubernatorial candidate to fight corruption.
The most ticklish subject for Pearce may be his unwavering and outspoken support of conservative positions. That makes him an easy target. Opponents can pick and choose from a list of conservative positions that may not appeal to a certain part of the state or certain constituencies.
Republicans appear to be a beaten down, disorganized party at the moment. But as we have said here often, situations can change quickly. Enough Democrat scandals have occurred to give the GOP plenty of ammunition. If the grand jury probe turns out to add further embarrassment, it could be a deciding factor.
One other factor that could help Republican candidates is the creation of a new nonprofit organization that aims to counter the progressive nonprofits that were given credit for ousting several incumbents, Democratic and Republican, in the 2008 primary and general elections.
Blogger Heath Haussamen reports that Southwest Citizens Coalition chairman Allen McCulloch has recently sent a mass e-mail urging support of the organization.
WED, 7-03-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)



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