2006 Attorney General’s Race — Now with Local Spin!

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I know the blog has been very un-political lately, and that’s going to change right now. With the election just a week off, it’s time to focus on last minute primary wrangling. Let’s start off with this question from New Mexico Matters:

My question is this: (Are) negative ads going to help or hurt Geno in a low turnout 3-way primary?

From the story in the Santa Fe New Mexican:

New Mexicans merely have to turn on their television sets to see that the Democratic attorney general’s race is the most hotly contested campaign in the June 6 primary election. A member of a politically prominent New Mexico family, a former chief counsel to Gov. Bill Richardson and a central New Mexico prosecutor are battling for a shot at one of state’s most high-profile elected posts — one that often has been a stepping stone for those seeking the governor’s office or a seat in Congress.

Santa Fe attorney Geno Zamora hit the airwaves Friday morning with an ad attacking his opponents. The spot starts by blasting Gary King’s voting record as a state legislator from the Moriarty area — saying the son of former Gov. Bruce King voted against increasing penalties for drive-by shooting deaths, among other anti-crime measures.

By Friday night, King responded with an ad upbraiding Zamora. “Geno Zamora does not want you to know that he has been on the payroll of a mining company that pollutes our air and water, so he is attacking Gary King,” says the announcer in King’s ad.

And just which mining company are we talking about?

King said in interview that his ad refers to the fact that Zamora’s law firm, Gallagher and Kennedy, represents Phelps Dodge Corp. Gallagher and Kennedy’s Web site states that Phelps Dodge is one of its “larger clients.”

Phelps Dodge eh? Any local connection to all this? This is New Mexico, so of course there is. Check this news release from last year, on G & K’s opening of a Santa Fe branch:

Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A., a full-service business law firm, today announced it will begin conducting business in its second market and open a new office in Santa Fe, N.M.

Scheduled to open January 18, the new office represents the first time the Phoenix-based law firm has expanded outside of Arizona. Dalva L. Moellenberg, a Gallagher & Kennedy shareholder and a New Mexico licensed attorney since 1993, will manage the Santa Fe office, while newly hired associate Anthony J. Trujillo will staff it. Mr. Trujillo has been practicing law in New Mexico since his admission to the bar in 2000.

“The opening of a Santa Fe office with a resident attorney will allow Gallagher & Kennedy to serve its existing clients who have business in New Mexico, including Phelps Dodge Mining Company,” said Mr. Moellenberg. “With its first out-of-state move, Gallagher & Kennedy looks forward to becoming more acquainted with the New Mexico business and legal communities.”

Trujillo, for those keeping score, is the son of Tony Trujillo, Phelps Dodge’s director of government affairs, ACI board chairman, and Silver City’s Citizen of the Year for 2005.

To wrap it all up, here’s one last graf from the New Mexican story:

Zamora isn’t representing Phelps Dodge in any litigation against the state, his campaign manager said.

I have a feeling that answer won’t satisfy all of Geno’s critics.

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