Let's Talk Sense...
Friday, November 7, 2003 Volume XXVIII, No. 5
Roswell, New Mexico
Readership this date:
In this issue...
New Mexico Politics
We want to try something a little different with this edition of
Let's Talk Sense...
Over the past several days we have received a ton of unsolicited e-mails about the hiring of the new RPNM Executive Director. Most of the e-mails urge us to focus an issue on the subject. But rather than providing any commentary, we have decided simply to give you the facts and seek your opinion.
The Issue: A Democrat to Run the Republican Party. Good idea, or bad?
GOP Chair Ramsay Gorham recently hired former Democrat political consultant Tom Carroll as the Executive Director of Republican Party of New Mexico, Gorham's 4th ED in 6 months. Carroll, 46, says he has been a Republican for about three years.
Prior to coming to New Mexico, Carroll worked for Willie Brown,
formerly Speaker of the California State Assembly (equal to the
New Mexico House of Representatives) and currently the mayor of
Here are some quotes from Carroll's former boss:
"I will accept money from any one and any group...except
Gun Owners of California."
---Willie Brown, Mayor of San Francisco
"The old white boys got taken fair and square."
---Willie Brown on defeating Republicans when he was Speaker, 1995
"Let me assure you, if I ever participate in an election
where I vote dead people, it ain't going to be 1,500 (votes), it'll
----Mayor Willie Brown, dismissing allegations of vote fraud brought on by the discovery that as many as 1,500 ballots were cast by dead voters in a election to build or not build a new stadium
"You would think that those who are always talking about
family values would want to create an environment of permanent relationships
for people of the same sex. But they're not advocating family values.
They're advocating their values."
----Willie Brown, Mayor of San Francisco
In New Mexico, the new RPNM Executive Director, Tom Carroll, worked
for Democrat Marty Chavez and a top aide to Bill Richardson, Rick
Homans, who is currently a cabinet secretary under Richardson. Carroll
managed Homans' unsuccessful bid for mayor of Albuquerque in 2001.
But the race that has by far caused the greatest stir among those e-mailing users is Carroll's management of Eric Serna's unsuccessful campaign against Bill Redmond in 1997 for Congress.
Some of you may recall the barrage of blistering, anti-Redmond ads that filled the airwaves. Even those of us who do not live in the 3rd Congressional District saw the ads on Albuquerque TV (which covers 95.8% of the state's media market).
Carroll's most vicious ads attacked Redmond's pro-life views. One
radio ad in particular blasted Redmond as a:
"radical right-wing preacher who wants to impose his extreme values and social agenda on all of us."
When Carroll was challenged on the ad, he refused to back down. Instead, Carroll told the Albuquerque Journal that Redmond is a "hypocrite."
Some in the pro-life community have emailed us to express outrage
that Chairwoman Gorham has put Carroll in charge. They viewed the
1997 campaign as a direct assault on the Right-to-Life movement
and the social-conservative wing of the Republican Party. They point
out that Carroll's first job as a Republican was to back a pro-choice
candidate for Governor. They believe he has an agenda that runs
contrary to the RPNM platform and vow to desert the GOP in 2004
in protest. They claim that it's not Carroll's pro-choice views
that are bothersome, but rather his apparent activist nature.
Remarkably, and in some ways surprising to us, many have expressed the desire for an ED that can't be so readily identifiable with EITHER side of the abortion debate. (We have to confess that this has been somewhat surprising to LTS...because "pragmatism" is not usually a top priority of strong RTL activists.)
Also upset are the Redmond loyalists who supported Gorham for State Chair. They see this as a stunning act of betrayal. Many give Redmond credit for electing Gorham and are disappointed she is now repaying him by making his top critic the new ED.
So, what does this all mean? We are passing on what we have been
sent, but we refuse to do any commentary on this issue. This time
we are leaving it up to you. Here is the question:
Is Tom Carroll the right hire at the right time to unite the Republican Party of New Mexico going in to the crucial 2004 election? Is he the right person to help carry New Mexico for President Bush?
That's where we are asking you to respond.
Chairwoman Gorham sees Carroll as an able political professional capable of doing a good job. She says she hired him only after others refused the job and says his Democrat background should not be used against him. She points out that he has switched parties and even managed the unsuccessful campaigns of Republicans Larry Ahrens for Governor and Rob Perry for Attorney General.
To be fair, these arguments sound reasonable (we are not saying
"convincing," but reasonable.) To be fair to those who
have contacted us, we would also say the points they make sound
reasonable---again, not necessarily "convincing," but
What do you think? Will Carroll's appointment be good or bad for party unity? Given his close ties to Democrats and the Richardson administration, can he be trusted? Is Gorham broadening the base with this hire, or is it nothing more than a bizarre mistake that will cripple the party?
There it is. We have just laid it out there. We don't know the answer to question, and won't presume to comment on it. Write back and let us know what you think. Your comments will not be published unless you give specific permission to do so.