Monday, March 12, 2012

Roundhouse Roundup: Lessons My Grandfather Taught Me

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
March 11, 2012

Note: This will be my last Roundhouse Roundup column for about a month. I won't be working again until mid April, so there probably won't be much activity on this blog. But check in now and then. You never know.

Thinking about the poisonous hyperpartisan atmosphere surrounding national politics -- Rush Limbaugh's "slut" controversy being the most obvious manifestation -- I was reminded of a couple of sweet childhood memories involving my grandfather.

In an election year, some of that surely will trickle down to our enchanted land. In fact, when Sen. Steve Fischmann, D-Mesilla, announced recently he wouldn't seek another term, he said the "highly partisan" atmosphere of the Legislature was a big factor -- though compared with Congress, the Roundhouse is Romper Room.

My grandfather, C.W. Clift, wasn't a big partisan. He was a Republican, but according to family lore, he was cursing Richard Nixon on the day I was born. Pappa didn't talk much politics with me. But thanks to him, I learned some lessons I wish political mudslingers, Internet trolls, radio blowhards and others would take to heart. I know they won't, but let me try.

This was my idea of Russians
One day in the early '60s, Pappa, who was a honcho with the Kiwanis Club in Oklahoma City, had to pick up some Russian officials at the airport and take them to speak at the Kiwanis meeting.

Russians! Real live Russians!

This wasn't long after the Cuban missile crisis. I was still in grade school, so in my mind Rooskies were subhuman, godless evildoers who wanted to enslave us. Television used to run scary "public service" announcements with Kruschev bellowing, "We will bury you!" Local radio had spots featuring a local DJ using a phony Slavic accent bragging that he and his fellow commies wanted to outlaw religion.

I'm still not sure what these Russians my grandfather was picking up were doing in town. Probably some low-level diplomats. Whoever they were, I begged Pappa to bring them by the house on the way to the meeting so I could take a look. Bemused, he agreed.

Ethel & Fred
Besides my brother and I, there must have been a half-dozen kids in the neighborhood gathered in our driveway when Pappa drove up in his Buick Special. There they were. The Russians! There were two of them, a man and a woman. We kids stared at them like zoo animals as they smiled and waved at us from inside the car.

They looked like Fred and Ethel Murtz from I Love Lucy. How could you hate Fred and Ethel?

Around the same time, Pappa took us to the Friday night wrestling matches at Stockyards Coliseum in OKC. He was friends with an old man named Jerry, the guy who rang the bell at the start and the end of each match. Jerry agreed to take us to the dressing room and meet some of the wrestlers.
Vote Great Bolo in 2012.
Unless you're a slut

To my surprise, the dressing room was integrated. I'm not talking race. I mean there were both good guys and bad guys, sitting around talking and smoking cigarettes, like the old friends they undoubtedly were. They were all polite to us, even the bad guys.

I'll admit I was a little disappointed by that. It would have seemed far cooler had one of the masked maniacs taken a chair and bashed the skull of one of the heroes while we were back there. But I'm trying to find a moral here, so forget that.

With all the overheated political rhetoric that's become so routine, I've been thinking about those wrestlers as well as those Russians.

You can pump up your political opponents to seem like evil criminals or loathsome perverts. But chances are, they're probably more like Fred and Ethel Murtz than Dr. Doom. Figuratively speaking, knocking out your opponent's proverbial teeth with a verbal version of a flying dropkick might score points when you're in the metaphorical political ring. But remember, back in the dressing room, your "enemy" is just a fellow worker in the political grunt-and-groan business.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Night Funnies: Going Bald for Balderas

Former state Democratic Chairman Brian Colon shaved his head to show solidarity with state Auditor and U.S. Senate candidate Hector Balderas.

 For real.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mayor Coss Seeks Ben Lujan's House Seat

SF Mayor David Coss

Santa Fe Mayor David Coss late Thursday confirmed an internet report that he will seek the state House of Representatives seat being vacated by ailing House Speaker Ben Luján.

Coss said he will make a formal announcement of his plans on Friday.

“I saw another opportunity to serve,” the two-term Santa Fe mayor said. “Ben Luján has been an incredible representative. I feel it’s important to continue having a strong Santa Fe delegation.”

Like Luján Coss is a Democrat.

Coss said he will continue serving as mayor if he wins. “Being mayor is too much fun,” he said.

The conservative blog Capitol Report New Mexico first broke the news about Coss’ candidacy, on the word of “two extremely reliable sources within the Democratic Party in the Santa Fe area.”

Coss served as a city councilor before becoming mayor.

The only other declared candidate for Luján’s seat is Carl Trujillo, a technologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, who came close to beating Luján in the 2010 Democratic primary.

Luján, who has served in the Legislature since 1975, announced early this year that he won’t seek re-election because he is suffering from Stage 4 lung cancer.

First Candidate for Rhonda King's Seat Emerges

Venessa Chavez
Less than 24 hours after longtime state Rep. Rhonda King of Stanley announced that she won’t seek re-election, another Democrat has announced she will run for King’s seat.

Torrance County Commission Chairwoman Venessa I. Chavez of Tajique announced that she will run for the District 50 position. “I have spoken with Rep. King and thank her for her years of service”. Chavez said in a news release Thursday, She said she always has considered King to be a “great mentor.”

Chavez has worked with the city of Estancia and has served as vice chairwoman of the Tri-County Juvenile Justice Board, which includes representatives of Santa Fe, Torrance, and Valencia counties.

In other campaign news, it looks like Mark Moores has a challenger in the Republican primary in Albuquerque's District 21.

Rob Doughty, an Albuquerque lawyer who chairs the state Racing Commission announced he's running for the seat, currently held by Democrat Lisa Curtis.

Jack Sullivan Challenges Sen. Phil Griego

Jack Sullivan
Former Santa Fe County Commissioner Jack Sullivan will challenge state Sen. Phil Griego in the Democratic primary.

Sullivan was a two-term commissioner between 2001 and 2008. In his announcement statement, he said:

"Big corporations and lobbyists have taken over the roundhouse, jeopardizing the public's trust by putting corporate interests above the interests of average, hard working New Mexicans. The people of Senate District 39 deserve better. They deserve a leader who will work hard for the people of New Mexico to improve the economy, create jobs, protect our land and water, and ensure the public trust. I will work for job growth, not corporate growth."

Sullivan isn't the only challenger running against Griego. Nicole Castellano announced earlier this year. She's owner of Capitol Grounds Cafe in Rancho Viejo, daughter of former state District Judge Joe Castellano, and wife of Jim Williamson, director of the Consumer Relations Division of the Public Regulation Commission.

Griego told me earlier this year that he indeed is running for re-election. A former Santa Fe city council, Griego has held the Senate seat since 1997.

The largely rural District 39 includes areas of Santa Fe, San Miguel, Torrence, Bernalillo, Valencia and Lincoln counties.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Rep. Rhonda King NOT Seeking Re-election

Rep. Rhonda King, D-Stanley, has joined the growing list of legislators not seeking re-election. Her sprawling  District 50 recently gained the community of Eldorado, southeast of Santa Fe.

King,  is a cousin of Attorney General Gary King,a niece of former Gov. Bruce King and wife of Public Regulation Commission director Johnny Montoya.

In an email statement, she had this to say:

“For the past 14 years, I have been honored to serve and work with the people of District 50 as well as the people of New Mexico,” said Rep. King. 
“I am very proud of what we have accomplished together. As Vice Chair of House Education Committee and as a member of House Appropriations, I have worked hard to craft policies and implement programs to improve the lives of all New Mexicans, by promoting open and accountable government; supporting small businesses; protecting our environment by supporting renewable energy; creating jobs; improving our educational system and passing measures to protect our children.”

“At this point of my life, I want to spend more time with my family, including my young daughter. I also look forward to continuing my service to the community, particularly my work on the Tri-County Juvenile Justice Board which provides programs to help improve the lives of youth in our communities.”

“I thank my constituents for granting me the honor and privilege of representing them and for their support. It has been a pleasure to work together to find solutions to problems affecting us all. Being your Representative has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”

“I thank Speaker Ben Lujan and my colleagues in the Legislature for their camaraderie. Last but never least; I am ever appreciative of the love and support of my parents and my entire family.”

King is one of at least nine of the 70 representatives who are not seeking re-election next year. There also are two districts in which incumbents are pitted against each other, so at least 11 representatives won't be back next year.

Vetoed Severance Tax Projects in SF County

These are projects in Santa Fe County that Gov. Susana Martinez line-itemed vetoed in House Bill 191 (severance tax projects)

* $1 million for security cameras, furniture, fixtures and other information technology infrastructure for the First Judicial District courthouse in Santa Fe.

* $370,000 for building and infrastructure improvements, furniture and equipment, including purchasing and installing information technology, at the First Judicial District courthouse.

* $201,000 to construct, purchase, improve, renovate and equip, including beautification, landscaping, utility and irrigation installation, grading, water meters and outdoor structures, the Santa Fe Botanical Garden at Museum Hill.

* $204,000 to plan, design, construct and equip improvements, including a commercial grade kitchen and seating and lighting, for the Santa Fe Farmers Market avilion.

* $25,000 for Santa Fe Public Schools to purchase and equip athletic facilities for low-income children in the city.

* $35,000 to design, construct, repair and resurface parking lots in the Santa Fe Public School district .

* $78,000 to upgrade, replace and install a phone system for Santa Fe Public Schools.

* $100,000 to plan, design, construct, purchase, improve and equip the Ken and Patty Adams senior center in Eldorado.

* $73,300 to plan, design and construct water system improvements to tie in Canoncito's distribution system to Santa Fe county's water system for the Canoncito at Apache Canyon Mutual domestic water consumers and mutual sewage works association .

* $50,000 to plan, design and construct the cultural center at Santa Fe Indian School.

* $50,000  to repair, construct, equip and landscape the traditional ceremonial facility in the Pueblo of Pojoaque.

* $150,000 to equip, furnish and construct improvements to the wellness center, including the teen center sports facilities, security system, parking lot, swimming pool, spa and roof, in the Pueblo of Pojoaque.

* $125,000 to purchase farm equipment for a youth farm initiative at the Pueblo of San Ildefonso.

* $50,000 to plan, design and construct improvements, including relocating the acequia, to La Acequia de Llano de Santa Cruz in Santa Fe and Rio Arriba counties.

* $85,000 to design and construct a regional water management system for the acequia del Barranco de Jacona.

* $40,000 to plan,design and construct improvements to the Acequia de la Capilla, including piping for irrigation, in La Cienega.

*  $40,000 to plan, design and construct improvements to the Jose Gabriel Ortiz Acequia in Nambe.

* $58,700 to purchase and equip vehicles for use by an unnamed organization that promotes personal discovery and social change through the use of creative learning experiences in wilderness, community and cultural environments in Santa Fe County.

* $118,000 to purchase property for and to plan, design and construct the parking and entrance areas at the community and senior center in Nambe.

* $120,000  to furnish the county-owned La Familia Medical Center facilities.

* $130,000 to plan, design, construct, furnish and equip improvements to the Women's Health Services family and counseling center.

* $70,000 to plan, design, renovate and construct interior and exterior improvements to El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe.

* $150,000 to plan, design, construct, purchase, improve, renovate and equip improvements to dirt roads rated in poor condition in Eldorado.

* $35,000 to plan, design, construct, renovate and equip the trades and technology center at Santa Fe Community College.

* $490,000 to plan, design, construct and equip a multipurpose center in Estancia for youth from the tri-county area of Torrance, Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties.

UPDATE:  4:55 p.m.

Here's the list of the severance-tax projects in Santa Fe County that were not line-item vetoed by Gov. Martinez:

Projects not vetoed

* $440,000 to plan, design, renovate and expand the main police station in Santa Fe

*  $3,000,000 to renovate, furnish and equip the dormitories, including upgrading plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems and other infrastructure, at the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy.

* $332,000 to plan, design, construct and equip improvements,including electrical and accessibility improvements, to the Oscar Huber Memorial Ball Park and grandstands in Madrid.

*  $6 million  for infrastructure improvements, renovations, furnishing and equipping the Manuel Lujan Building.

*  $50,000 to plan, design and construct improvements to the city- and school district-owned head start facilities in Santa Fe and the Pojoaque Valley Public School district.

*  $37,500 to plan, design, construct and equip improvements to the Santa Cruz water association regional water system in Santa Fe and Rio Arriba counties.

*  $50,000 to plan,design and construct improvements, including connections, for the greater Glorieta community regional mutual domestic water consumers and sewage works association.

*  $50,000 to plan,design, construct, purchase and improve the water storage tank and well for La Bajada community ditch and mutual domestic water association

*  $75,000 for acquiring water rights, including needed applications and transfers, and for improvements to the water distribution system and wells for Agua Fria.

*  $50,000 to plan, design and construct water system improvements, including water lines, for La Cienega mutual domestic water consumers and mutual sewage works association.

*  $115,000 to design, construct and equip the Poeh cultural center studios and offices, including purchase and installation of information technology and related equipment, furniture and infrastructure, in the Pueblo of Pojoaque.

*  $50,000 to purchase and install information technology, including related equipment, furniture and infrastructure, for the leadership program at Santa Fe Indian school

*  $145,000 for the Department of Information technology to construct REDI net fiberoptic connections to state facilities and purchase and install telecommunications equipment within facilities located in Los Alamos and Rio Arriba counties to route traffic to and from the state's network hub in the Simms building.

* $30,000 to make improvements, including cementing, to the acequia de Santa Cruz in Rio Arriba and Santa Fe counties.

*  $100,000 to plan, design and construct improvements, including installing piping, to the Acequia de la Cienega.

* $110,000 to plan, design, construct, equip, purchase and install improvements to county corrections facilities in Santa Fe.

* $50,000 for improvements and renovations to county-owned facilities for the disabled in Santa Fe county.

* $20,000 to purchase furnishings for use by the disabled in Santa Fe county.

* $75,000 to plan, design, construct, purchase and equip improvements to Romero park near county road 62.

* $7,000 to construct a fire alarm system in the city-owned boys' and girls' club facilities in Santa Fe.

* $3,500 to construct a gravel parking lot at the city-owned boys' and girls' club facility in Santa Fe

 * $32,734 to renovate the pool at the city-owned boys' and girls' club facility in Santa Fe.

* $2,500 to purchase and install a security alarm system and cameras at the city-owned boys' and girls' club facility in Santa Fe

* $2,500 to purchase and install a security alarm system and cameras at the city-owned boys' and girls' club facility in Santa Fe

* $111,000 to construct, renovate, furnish and equip a city-owned multipurpose center for homeless people, including a commercial kitchen and outdoor patio space, in Santa Fe.

* $81,000 to plan, design, construct, equip and furnish an indoor multiuse arena and regional disaster relief facility at the Rodeo de Santa Fe grounds.

* $100,000  to plan, design and construct improvements, including resurfacing, to county roads in the La Tierra subdivision.

* $40,000 to plan, design and construct improvements, including replacing water and sewer lines and acquiring rights of way, to County Road 90.

* $477,000  to plan, design and construct road improvements, including surfacing, in Edgewood.

* $58,000 to purchase and install information technology, including related furniture, equipment and infrastructure, and to plan, design and construct laboratories for the sign language interpreting program at Santa Fe Community College.

Update: 3-8-12 9:35 am Here is my story in today's New Mexican. CLICK HERE.

Bill Signing Deadline

Today is the last day that Gov. Susana Martinez has to sign bills. Anything she doesn't sign by noon is considered vetoed.

The biggest question now is capitol outlay. She will sign the bill, but what will be interesting will be what she line-item vetoes. (Probably not much hope for the proposed state Botanical Garden on Museum Hill in Santa Fe, but we'll see.)

Two other bills we know for certain she'll sign are a couple having to do with veterans. This from the Department of Veterans Affairs:

The governor will sign HB-10, sponsored by State Representative Terry McMillan, R-Las Cruces. The new law will provide up to a $1,000 tax credit to businesses for the hiring of every recently-returned veteran. She will also sign HB-97, sponsored by House Speaker Ben Lujan D-Nambé, which revises the State Procurement Code to establish a resident veteran preference of 5 percent over and above the current resident business preference of 5 percent.

That's taking place at 11 am, at a public ceremony at the New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial in Albuquerque, 1100 Louisiana SE.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Martinez Vetoes SB 9

No surprise here. She basically promised to veto the bill to make out-of-state box-store corporations pay state corporate tax.

Here's what she said in a news release:

 Gov. Martinez also vetoed Senate Bill 9, a tax increase on an arbitrarily-chosen set of retailers that would kill jobs, pass higher prices on to consumers, and drive business out of the state. 

 "While proponents of this legislation may have had a few particular corporate targets in mind when pushing for this tax increase, the result would be much broader and raise taxes on businesses like grocery stores," the governor said. 

"Increasing taxes on grocery stores, clothing retailers, and home improvement stores, while choosing to cut taxes for a different set of corporations - such as large banks, casinos, payday loan companies, or any other large corporation that pays corporate income tax - is not only misguided and arbitrary tax policy, but it's also not the way to foster economic growth in New Mexico." 

“I’ve stated repeatedly that if this bill makes New Mexico less competitive, raises taxes, and drives up the cost of items that families and businesses buy every day, I would veto it – and it does just that,” the governor concluded.
UPDATE 4:35 p.m.
Here's the reaction of bill sponsor, Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe:

SB9 Wirth Press Release

The Dud That Was the Fireworks Bill

So why didn't the Legislature pass a bill to give state and local governments more power to restrict fireworks during the time of drought -- even though a big chunk of the state's forests were on fire last summer?

Sen. Dede Feldman, D-Albuquerque, who sponsored the bill, as well as Gov. Susana Martinez, who supported it, say it was a triumph of "special interests" over public safety.

Sen. Phil Griego, D-San Jose, whose committee killed the bill, and fireworks lobbyist Luke Otero say the problem was with the bill itself -- and not campaign contributions from a big fireworks distributor. Both noted that fireworks didn't cause any of the major fires last year and that protests of small fireworks businesses were effective in arguing the bill would have severely hurt them.

My autopsy on the bill can be found in today's New Mexican.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rep. Eleanor Chavez Running for New Senate Seat

Wasn't I just saying something about House members who want to move up to the Senate?

Rep. Eleanor Chavez, D-Albuquerque, just announced she's running for the newly created west-side Albuquerque District 14 seat.

Ans she's coming out swinging. Referring to her Democratic primary opponent for the seat, her news release says:

"Eleanor is facing Michael Padilla, CEO of Altivus CRM Solution. In 2007, ten female employees at the city of Albuquerque’s 311 and 911 call center filed a hostile work environment complaint against Padilla. In 2011, Altivus was also hired by MVD officials to handle calls coming in from 10,000 immigrants whose driver’s licenses were called for review by the Martinez Administration."

Sounds like this race might turn into a hostile environment pretty quick.

UPDATE: 12:25 pm: The original version of this post misidentified Padilla's political party.

Roundhouse Roundup : Why House Members Might Like Senate Better

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
March 4, 2012

Since the end of this year’s legislative session, most of the buzz in political circles hasn’t been about what bills might be signed or vetoed, but which legislators aren’t going to run again.

It seems that during the past couple of weeks, there have been almost daily announcements from legislators stating their intentions. One interesting thing about this is that Rep. David Doyle, R-Albuquerque; Rep. Bill O’Neill, D-Albuquerque, and Rep. Joe Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, are giving up their House seats to run for seats on the Senate side of the Capitol.

And they might not be alone. Rep. Thomas Garcia, D-Ocaté, last week said he is considering running for the Senate seat held for two decades by Democrat Pete Campos of Las Vegas, N.M. Campos said last week that he is seeking re-election.

There also have been rumors that Rep. Eleanor Chavez, D-Albuquerque, is considering running for a Senate seat. And don’t forget Ben Rodefer, a former House member who announced last week he’s running for retiring Albuquerque Democratic Sen. Dede Feldman’s soon-to-be vacant seat (also coveted by Doyle, who defeated Rodefer for his House seat in 2010).

And for about 20 minutes last week, freshman Rep. Conrad James, R-Albuquerque, pondered running for Sen. Mark Boitano’s seat before deciding to stay in the House.

Sen. Peter Wirth
Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe
This is all interesting to Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe. In a phone conversation last week, Wirth pointed out that currently only two former House members serve in the Senate — himself and Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque.

Wirth, elected to the Senate in 2008 after two terms in the House, said it’s surprising there have been so few former House members going to the Senate.

Why should a state representative want to become a state senator? Senate districts have more people than House districts, so you work harder keeping up with constituent concerns, Wirth said. But he said there are advantages.

“The immediate thing is that you only have to run for re-election every four years,” Wirth said. “When I was in the House, it seemed like I was always running.” Another difference: “It’s smaller. You really notice the difference between 42 people [in the Senate] and 70 people [in the House].”

Wirth said he has found that the Senate tends to be more independent. He pointed out that in recent years, the Senate has stood up to both Republican and Democratic governors. Wirth didn’t put it this way, but that’s got to be more satisfying than just being a foot soldier for the chief executive’s agenda.

Despite the fact that there are some issues that will always bring party-line votes, Wirth said in the Senate, there is a lot more co-operation across the aisle than in the House. “You never know where your votes are going to come from in the Senate,” Wirth said. “I’ve had a couple of bills that wouldn’t have passed without support from some Republicans.”

He attributes that largely to the long and close friendship between Senate President Pro-tem Tim Jennings, D-Roswell, and Republican floor leader Stuart Ingle, R-Portales. “It sets the tone for the whole Senate,” he said. Despite the current 2-1 Democratic advantage in the Senate, Wirth said, “Republicans are still in the game.”

When Wirth was in the House, Democrats had firm control of that chamber. But now, a shaky 36-33 Democratic advantage is even shakier because Independent Rep. Andy Nuñez of Hatch often votes with the GOP. This near-tie situation, Wirth said, creates more pressure for House members to toe the line and vote with their caucuses.

All 42 senators are up for re-election this year, and Wirth acknowledged it’s possible that voters in various districts could turn against incumbents known for compromising with “the enemy.” He hopes that doesn’t happen.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Political Poetry

My music column today was about politicians who sing and play instruments. (Check that out on my music blog. Lots of cool videos there.)

I didn't realize at the time we had a poet in the state Legislature. But I just learned that Rep. Bill O'Neill, D-Albuquerque will be reading his poetry at The Collected Works 6 p.m. Tuesday. He's been published in the New Mexico Poetry Review,  The Santa Fe Literary Review, and Malpais Review.

But wait, there's more ....

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Gov. Susana Martinez also tried her hand at reading poetry.
(Video by Trip Jennings. Editing by Rob Nikowlewski)

The governor's got a way to go, however, before she reaches this level. (Sorry. They disabled embedding on this video.)

Gov to Sign Budget Today

There wasn't much doubt that Gov. Susana Martinez would sign House Bill 2, the state budget.

But in case anyone was worried, her office announced a few minutes ago that she would indeed sign it 1 p.m. today at Puesta del Sol Elementary School in Rio Rancho after reading Green Eggs and Ham to kindergartners there.

I'm not making that up.

The question now is what green eggs and pork  in the bill will she line-item veto.

UPDATE: 1:02 pm A previous version of this post placed Puesta del Sol Elementary in Albuquerque. It's Rio Rancho. My deepest apologies to the good citizens of RioRancho and the wonderful children of Puesta del Sol.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

More Legislative Shuffle

Heath Haussamen is reporting that Sen. Cynthia Nava, D-Las Cruces, is stepping down and that Rep. Joe Cervantes, D-Las Cruces will be running for her seat. I guess this means he has given up on becoming Speaker of the House.

Meanwhile, Capitol Report New Mexico quotes  Tomas Garcia, D-Ocate saying he's is considering running for the Senate seat held for the past 20-plus years by Pete Campos, D-Las Vegas. Garcia's House district has been consolidated with that of Rep. Nick Salazar of Espanola.

If Garcia makes the Senate run, that would clear the way for another term for Salazar, who has been in the House since before I was old enough to drink.

Seems like there's more of these announcements every day. Have I missed anyone?

UPDATE: 6:15 pm I spoke with Garcia myself a little earlier. He confirmed what he told Capitol Report -- that he's gathering petitions for his House race but "keeping the door open" for a possible Senate race. I just spoke with Sen. Campos, who confirmed that he is seeking re-election.