The political star of New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is clearly on the upswing.
The state legislature’s session closed with the Republican governor completely routing her arch-foe, Senate Democratic Leader Michael Sanchez.
Martinez secured a budget including cuts in the corporate tax and a tax break for filmmakers who make a movie in the Land of Enchantment.
Polls show Martinez handily beating her likely Democratic foe, State Attorney General Gary King, who is the son of the late Gov. Bruce King, and state Republicans are now expected to make a major effort to win control of the state House of Representatives.
To top it off, the GOP chief executive was included in the delegation to the inauguration of Pope Francis in Rome.
Ventura County Rematch
Republicans are not writing off their close-but-no-cigar House races despite all the talk of the Obama political powerhouse known as “Organizing for America” making an all-out effort to put some of the seats narrowly won by Republicans in the Democratic column next year.
Former State Sen. Tony Strickland, who lost a heartbreaker to Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley in California’s 26th District (Ventura County) last fall, was in Washington last week to meet with officials of the National Republican Congressional Committee to discuss a rematch. Strickland lost to Brownley, 52.7 percent to 47.3 percent.
Halligan Exit Means More ‘Judge Wars’
President Barack Obama’s decision last week to withdraw his nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals was widely interpreted as a sign Senate Republicans are willing to go to the wall on Obama’s judicial picks rather than simply sign-off on the nominees. There are 18 judicial nominees awaiting Senate confirmation.
Senate sources say that means more filibusters such as the one which thwarted former New York solicitor general, Halligan, whose nomination languished for two and a half years. Republicans opposed Halligan largely for her pursuing a state lawsuit against gun manufacturers.
‘Nuclear’ North Dakota
Nine years after a U.S. Senate candidate slipped up in a debate and warned against the threat of a “nuclear North Dakota” (he meant North Korea), the Roughrider State will be the site of a political showdown this fall that pundits and pols predict will indeed be nuclear.
With North Dakota’s Republican-ruled legislature enacting a constitutional amendment outlawing all abortions by holding that life begins at conception, the measure will go to the voters in a statewide initiative scheduled for this fall.
That means that pro- and anti-abortion groups and money from nationwide sources will flock to the state this year in a debate that is sure to attract national coverage.
John Gizzi is the former political editor for Human Events, working for the conservative weekly from 1979 to 2013. Gizzi is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence, was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002, and has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV talk shows.
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