Politicking, posturing are everywhere as 2012 slips awayState Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, joined with Republicans four years ago to help elect Tim Jennings as president pro tem of the Senate.
Lopez said in an interview Friday that she will not be part of any such coalition this time.
She is among the Democrats seeking the Senate presidency, and she says she wants her party to settle on a candidate, thereby shutting out Republicans.
In 2008, Democrat Jennings ascended with help from Republicans and colleagues such as Lopez.
Jennings, 62, lost his Senate seat in the November election, touching off a mad scramble at the Capitol for the Senate presidency.
Democrats will control the Senate 25-17 next year. It means that, if one Democrat running for Senate president gets 22 votes from his party, the Republicans will have no say-so in the election.
Lopez, 48, said she was working for votes, but would not disclose if anybody had committed to her.
Other Democrats interested in being Senate president are Howie Morales of Silver City, Carlos Cisneros of Questa, Pete Campos of Las Vegas, right, and Mary Kay Papen of Las Cruces.
Papen, 80, said she was encouraged by Democrats and Republicans alike to run for the leadership job.
But many Democrats, like Lopez, say they are not interested in brokering a deal with Republicans so that members of both parties elect the Senate president.
Sen.-elect Bill O'Neill, D-Albuquerque, said he was meeting with the candidates from his party. Already certain, O'Neill said, is that he wants Democrats to unite behind one of their own.
* Former senator Clint Harden, a Republican from Clovis, says he is now a lobbyist. Harden, who did not seek re-election, resigned from office in October.
Each January, a few legislators introduce bills that would require former lawmakers to be out of office for at least one year before becoming lobbyists.
These measures are sure bets to fail. Too many legislators want a loose system to keep open the possibility that they can someday become paid lobbyists.
Lobbyist reform may get even less attention now that its champion, Sen. Dede Feldman, is retiring.
* Jason Marks, D-Albuquerque, is about to end an eight-year career on the state Public Regulation Commission.
Marks says he may be interested in running for state attorney general in 2014. But, like any smart politician, he is not committing to anything just yet.
Marks, 52, right, said he will wait for a slow news day in January before announcing his plans. This means he will run. Why call a news conference to say you have decided to hang out your shingle?
A shining light on what often was a dysfunctional agency, Marks learned a lot about political strategy at the PRC.
* Jacob Candelaria, who, at 25, will be the youngest state senator, has been attending interim committee meetings. Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, sits in the audience, a quiet observer of the legislative process that he will be part of in January.
Already, though, candidates for Senate president are seeking out Candelaria and other new Democrats in hopes of getting their votes.
* The Senate will have 15 new members in the January, and the House of Representatives either 20 or 21. One House race, between Republican Rep. Terry McMillan of Las Cruces and Democrat Joanne J. Ferrary, is tied and goes to a recount next week.
If McMillan loses, one bit of fallout is that the House basketball team will continue to crumble. McMillan, a surgeon by day, was a decent hooper by night. His ouster would further weaken a depleted House team.
O'Neill, who was the best player in the House, moves to the Senate in January.
Rep. Thomas Garcia, D-Ocate, who could shoot the three, is not returning to the Legislature. He lost a race for the Senate.
The way this is shaping up, the Senate suddenly is the favorite to defeat the House in their annual charity hoops game.
Morales and O'Neill used to be on opposite teams. Now, the two best players in the Legislature will be running together for the senators.
The House still has Nate Gentry, James Strickler, Moe Maestas and Mad Dog Zach Cook, who can be counted on to foul a decent shooter when his team only needs to run out the clock.
Next year's game could end with a score of, say, 27-25. Legislative games are a throwback to the day when they cut the bottom out of the peach basket.