Friday, February 19, 2010

Meanwhile, Back to the Races

Now that the Legislature's over -- for this week --I should catch up on what's going on in the race for governor.

The biggest news there, of course, is Pete Domenici, Jr.'s interview on KKOB with Jim Villanucci, in which he admitted to using cocaine and marijuana while growing up in the 70s and 80s. At least two other politicians have made similar confessions years ago -- Former Gov. Gary Johnson and President Barack Obama.

The first rival gubernatorial candidate to point this out was Allen Weh. In a news release Thursday, Weh mentions the drug admission. But the focus of his attack was on another question Domenici answered. The transcript as included in Weh's e-mail.

Jim Villanucci: Are you the best person to win the general?

Pete Domenici Jr.: The general is going to be an extremely difficult election. The perception out there that somehow any of the five candidates can and should win the general, I disagree with strongly.

Jim Villanucci: Who can't win?

Pete Domenici Jr.: I don't know if I want to say particular names of who can't win.

Jim Villanucci: You obviously have a feeling on that. You said that not all of you can win, so somebody can't, and you think you can. So, who can't?

Pete Domenici Jr.: Actually, I would even include myself in the group that can't.

About which, Weh commented, "“In November, voters will be looking for a leader who can put New Mexicans back to work and get our economy moving in the right direction,” Weh said. “Unlike my opponent, I believe the next governor of New Mexico will be a Republican.”

But today, Domenici shot back in his own e-mail, calling Weh's attack "intellectually dishonest":

For those who wish to know the truth, my statement on KKOB was ripped out of context in an intellectually dishonest manner by Allen Weh.

His excerpt from the KKOB interview ended with my statement about how hard it will be for Republicans to win without the best candidate. The rest of my statement concluded with, I'm saying I can win, and I'm concerned with the perception that I'm hearing (from Allen Weh) that says any of them (the Republicans running) can beat Denish. I don't agree with that.

Mr. Weh cannot win. He has alienated too many Republicans and voters across the board. For him to have ripped out of context an innocent sentence was a half-truth and reflects the same type of dishonesty we are trying to rid our State Government of.

I didn't hear the interview, but KKOB reporter Peter St. Cyr writes in his blog that he listened to a recording of the show, and that after the part Weh quotes, Domenici went on to say:

I don’t think this is a sure thing by any stretch of the imagination. It is going to be extremely tough. So I, that’s why I don’t want to go in the negative. I’m saying I can win and I’m concerned with the perception I’m hearing that says any of these five can win. I don’t agree with that.”
Meanwhile, on the day of the KKOB interview, Domenici's campaign launched an attack of their own on another Republican candidate Susana Martinez. He criticized her for accepting her salary as district attorney in Las Cruces while running for governor.

“Ms. Martinez should take a leave of absence without taxpayers’ compensation, repay Dona Ana taxpayers for the compensation she has received while maintaining a fulltime campaign for governor, or explain her decision to have the taxpayers pay her while she is running a fulltime campaign for governor ... Republicans need to set the example rather than be part of the problems we are trying to clean up.”
So far, no counterpunch from Martinez,

By the way, Weh isn't the only candidate calling attention to Domenici's statements. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Diane Denish's campaign also is emailing recent news and blog stories.