The good news for Toney Anaya -- the only good news the ambitious but embattled governor has had in a while -- is that the legislature adjourned this weekend without evicting him.
Legislation booting Anaya and his staff from their offices in the round adobe state Capitol was seriously proposed more than once during a raucous legislative session marked by constant warfare between the liberal governor and conservative leaders in both houses.
Beating up on Anaya has been a bipartisan pastime in Santa Fe this year as politicians have distanced themselves from the deeply unpopular chief executive, whose combative personality and liberal policies have given him an approval rating lower than President Richard M. Nixon's at the depth of Watergate.
Anaya's troubles have clouded his once promising political future. The fallout has undermined growth of the state Democratic Party, traditionally one of the strongest Democratic organizations west of the Mississippi.
In a way, the transformation of Anaya, the nation's only Hispanic governor, is a paradigm of the plight of the liberal Democrat in 1985.
Just a year ago, New Mexico's energetic governor was stumping the country on behalf of liberal candidates and wishing out loud for a Cabinet job or even the vice presidency in the next Democratic administration.
Today, weary and battle-scarred, Anaya, 43, says he's looking forward to the end of his term next year because "I'd really like to get into real estate development."
Things looked rosy for Toney Anaya back in 1982, when he breezed to an easy electoral victory and set up shop in the governor's office in this charming old city where everything from the Safeway to the new county jail is built in the traditional flat-roofed, earth-tone adobe style.
But it soon became clear that Anaya's goals -- to revamp the state government, largely with female and minority-group appointees who shared his liberal views, and to build a national coalition of Hispanic politicians -- were not in sync with more conservative elements in both parties who had run the state for years.
When the new governor set out on a series of foreign trips (either "junkets" or "trade missions," depending on whom you ask) and began traversing the country to campaign for presidential nominee Walter F. Mondale and other liberals, he was blasted as an absentee in editorial pages around the state.
Republicans began distributing bumper stickers saying "Toney -- Phone Home."
Anaya's grand plan for major expansion of public education, a centerpiece of his campaign, became less popular when he had to propose a tax increase to finance it. The tax plan was trounced in the legislature last year even though Anaya's Democratic Party controlled both houses.
Anaya's popularity suffered more when he appointed his nephew to head the State Fair Board, a preeminent position in any western state, and when his brother was indicted in a scandal involving alleged extortion of Anaya campaign contributions from a bank. (Charges against the governor's brother were later dropped.)
"His approval ratings started going down pretty early. And now, every time I think he's hit rock bottom, he goes lower," said Chris Garcia, a political scientist and founder of ZIA Research, the state's major polling organization.
A survey Garcia released last month showed that only 17 percent of New Mexicans think Anaya is doing a "good" or "excellent" job. Nixon had a 24 percent "good" or "excellent" rating the day he resigned the presidency.
The governor was the major issue across the state in last fall's legislative elections. This time the GOP bumper stickers read, "Does Toney Annoya? Vote Republican."
Republicans and conservative Democrats picked up enough seats that both houses were run this session by conservative coalitions headed by Anaya-haters. The Anaya Democrats, or "loyalists," were a besieged minority.
Anaya, a fighter by nature -- he has two meat cleavers mounted on the wall in his office -- responded by attacking the annual bill that finances the legislature. In Washington, this would be called the "legislative appropriation"; here, it goes by the more descriptive term "feed bill."
Four times in this year's 60-day session Anaya vetoed the feed bill, and the loyalist minority was able to block an override. Conservative legislators first talked of impeachment. Then they found a new threat: "If he won't fund our operations, we'll have to evict him from the Capitol and let him rent an office somewhere downtown," Senate Republican leader William Valentine said.
The legislature adjourned this weekend with the feed bill still unsigned and the governor still ensconced in his office. It was a small victory, but that's about the only kind Anaya has had recently.
"I was so confident after my victory in the '82 election that I never saw this coming," the somewhat shell-shocked governor said last week. "But now it's obvious that in this state, at this time, I just wasn't able to be as progressive as I wanted to be."