The former District 31 State Representative and former District 8 City Councilor is known for his political ambition and his ability to campaign. However, this move towards the big chair on the 11th floor doesn't make any sense.
Directory Payne currently occupies one of those city dream jobs that pay exceedingly well - somewhere in the $100k range. Running against the boss isn't exactly calculated to enhance one's career and Payne is known for his political calculation. So, it's unlikely that the rumor has any merit. However, just because it's unlikely doesn't mean it isn't true.
If you consider all of the possibilities, a Payne run looks more plausible. After last weekend, Marty faces 6 challengers in the upcoming election - Donna Rowe, Richard Romero, Rob Dickson, Rudolph Serrano, James Thomas, and R. J. Berry.
Of course, not all of them will qualify for public financing. It's not easy to collect the 3200 plus signatures and associated $5 donations required as Councilors Cadigan and O'Malley found out the hard way. If we had to guess we'd say that the only candidates that end up qualifying for the "clean" money will be the Almighty Alcalde, Richard Romero, and R. J. Berry. Our guess is that there will be one, maybe two other candidates that decide to try and raise enough to continue the fight.
When you consider the makeup of the current field of candidates, it's quite possible that one or two of them will be Democrats or at least left of center. Marty has always depended on Republicans to win elections. He simply can't afford to face two opponents from his side of the isle. That's where Greg Payne comes in.
Payne is known as a vigorous and merciless campaigner. His entry into the race as a known Republican would siphon votes away from the lone Republican worthy of the name - R. J. Berry. At the very least, the Almighty Alcalde would force a runoff election - an election that favors the incumbent, just as the current Closed and Unethical Elections Code does.
If you take the possibilities even further, Marty could use his network of city employees to help his "rival" Greg Payne to receive public financing. If Payne makes his way on to the ballot with $328,000 he could do a great deal of damage to... Marty's rivals.
Ok... we might be a little too suspicious. But a loyal Payne on the ballot would make himself an incredible nuisance to anyone who became a threat to Marty. Consider for a moment a field of candidates with two Republicans - one loyal to the incumbent Democrat - and two to three Democrats. All of them have the same amount of money to spend, but two of them are coordinating their efforts behind the scenes.
The end result is that Marty would have twice the money and half the exposure. Marty can run a "positive" campaign, while his confederate takes aim at which ever candidate is causing him the most trouble. Yet one more way that Eli Lee and Eric Griego "Open and Ethical Elections" code can be used create a closed and unethical election.
Make no mistake, should Greg Payne enter the mayoral race it will not be for his political ambition rather, it will be for his personal gain. Payne owes his high paying job to Marty. It's simply in his best interest to remain Transit Director and continue to receive his $100k salary. Considering Albuquerque's new "ethical" elections scheme, it's going to be an interesting and perhaps Payne-ful election.
----- Correction -----
We originally indicated that Director Payne represented House District 32. That was one of our typos showing. He actually represented House District 31 until his deal at transit came through. Thanks to a poster for catching our mistake. It has been corrected above.
----- Update -----
We originally received this a couple of weeks ago. Due to some distractions from our vocation, we've been somewhat remiss in keeping up with our email. On March 18th we received the following email:
Eye,Surprising... not at all. After all, the mayor's job may come with all of the trappings and the big chair on the 11th floor, but it would mean a pay cut for the director. Not to mention severing ties with his boss - that is of course, if he were actually running against the Alcalde.
Like many rumors, the speculation that I might enter the Mayor's race is a fiction. I am not running for Mayor in 2009 in any way, shape or form.
I have two young children, a great job -- and absolutely zero interest in political office right now.
I personally know and like both Richard Romero (who was my principal at Sandia High School) and State Rep. R.J. Berry. However, it should come as no surprise that I am supporting Mayor Chavez in his bid for re-election. That support does not include my jumping into this year's mayoral election in a manner as the "grapevine" is suggesting.
Thanks and best regards,
Director, ABQ RIDE