2014: Out with the old, in with the … old?

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By Hal Rhodes

At years end reflections on some of the people and events that helped shape the political news during the final weeks of 2013 seem appropriate.
Preeminent among those people, in this reporter’s opinion, is the late John Dendahl.
For anyone who has paid the slightest attention to New Mexico political affairs over the past quarter of a century, John’s passing at age 75 on Nov. 9 is cause for remembrance. Dendahl was a sophisticated man, graceful in comportment and gracious in manner, a witty and bright conversationalist, with a sense of humor as keen as his political passions.
I liked him.
But he was a fierce political adversary who spent nearly a decade (1994-2003) as New Mexico Republican Party chairman, a post in which his seemingly natural instinct for the jugular could stun and enrage political opponents of the Democratic persuasion.
I once told John that he was easily the most partisan person I had ever known, Republican or Democrat. He laughed and said, “Well, thank you, Hal. Coming from you, that’s a compliment.”
In a way, it was.

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