Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Has The Tea Party Saved Ben Lujan?

That's what some people think. "Tea Parties" from several New Mexico communities have been contacting Republican Legislators telling them not to get behind Rep. Joe Cervantes for House Speaker.

I spoke with Rep. Andy Nunez, D-Hatch this morning. He wasn't sounding nearly as optimistic as he has in the last couple of weeks.

Ironically, former Gov. Gary Johnson, who spoke at the Tea Party rally outside the Roundhouse this morning, told reporters he thinks that backing Cervantes would be good for "change." He recalled how in 2001 Senate Republicans united with a handful fo Democrats to oust Manny Aragon as Senate president pro tem.

We should know in a couple of hours.

Johnson's speech to the Tea Party was well received, especially his talk about tax cuts and shrinking government. But not everyone there was enthusiastic what Johnson had to say about issues such as immigration (Johnson favors work permits for Mexicans and opposes building a border fence), the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, marijuana legalization.

One audience member came up and had a short and heated -- though ultimately civil -- discussion with Johnson about the issue. Whatever you think of the issue or Johnson, I find it refreshing to see politicians facing their critics and debating like this.