New Mexico Dems Faking Out Tea Party?

The New Mexico state Democratic party has been freaking out over the last few weeks over New Mexico’s lieutenant Governor John Sanchez, who is competing with former Rep. Heather Wilson for the chance to compete for New Mexico’s open Senate seat in 2012. They’ve been peppering the internet with arguably hilarious ramblings, calling Sanchez New Mexico’s Rand Paul, an “extremist” who will drive New Mexico straight into the dark ages (never mind Rand Paul isn’t exactly doing that).

The state Democratic Party is pushing back against likely senatorial candidate and current Lt. Gov. John Sanchez. In a fundraising appeal to supporters Monday, the state party compared Sanchez to U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and painted him as too extreme for the state.

“New Mexico does not need a Tea Party Senator like Rand Paul who wants to cut 25 percent of the budget across the board,” an e-mail from Democratic Party of New Mexico chair Javier Gonzalez said. “Cuts like that would devastate New Mexico families and our economy.”

The party cited quotes made by Sanchez in recent media appearances while discussing a possible Senate bid as reasons why Sanchez would be too far to the right for the state.

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I say “arguably hilarious” because just weeks before, Roll Call was bellyaching that Sanchez was far to much of an “establishment candidate” to grab the Tea Party’s attention. Roll Call was waaaaay closer to the truth. John Sanchez isn’t much of a conservative, let alone much of a Rand Paul. Let’s run down his record, shall we?

While other Republicans across the country are working to end collective bargaining for public sector unions in their states in order to correct looming budget crisis, Sanchez was working with Democrats to pass a bill that would have given unions greater collective bargaining rights had the governor not managed to veto it. He even managed to get a standing ovation from Dems in the legislature, for leading fellow moderate Republicans straight over the fence. New Mexico residents also know Sanchez as “that Republican who helped Democrats work to raise the New Mexico minimum wage” back in 2002, a move that’s really working for New Mexico business owners now that the economy is just chugging along.

Obviously, though, Sanchez’s economic policies didn’t even work for him. In 2002, it was revealed that Sanchez’s own roofing company was skirting the laws by employing…you guessed it…illegal immigrants, even after being warned by the INS. Years ago, when they were first attacking Sanchez, the Dems tried to prove how moderate Sanchez was by stating that instead of helping New Mexico’s illegal immigration problem, he was actually making it worse.

So either the Dems can’t make up their mind, or they’re trying to goad New Mexico Republicans into picking their preferred candidates. With Dems, you can never quite tell, but the Tea Party in the southwest is going to need to be very careful before they throw their weight behind a consensus candidate.

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