During three hours of Election Night coverage on KSFR, I was told that Gov. Martinez was “steering” the New Mexico economy over the last six years. My response is that she may have been “steering,” but Michael Sanchez’s foot was controlling the gas/brakes. In other words, the Republicans’ control over policy in Santa Fe was very limited.
For the next two years New Mexico will be among the 13 or so states (pending final results) with both houses under Democrat control. More importantly, the leadership in both houses may shift to Santa Fe where Sen. Peter Wirth is the likely successor to Michael Sanchez and liberal firebrand Brian Egolf may be House speaker.
With these two smart but very liberal Santa Feans at the helm, Gov. Martinez will have her hands full. She may need to add ink to her veto pen but will likely face a barrage of constitutional amendments which circumvent the governor.
Of course, Martinez only has two years in office. The race for governor has already begun and it appears that Sen. Tom Udall is looking to get out of being in the minority in Washington and would rather run for governor here in New Mexico. I can’t blame him and that just means that Republicans will have an even bigger hill to climb to win that race.
It will be interesting to see what the Democrats have up their sleeves to turn New Mexico’s failing economy around. There isn’t enough money (with or without tax hikes) to implement their big-spending “Economic Opportunity Plan” but you can bet that tapping the “permanent fund” will be part of their funding plans.