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Thursday, August 25, 2005

U.S. House Speaker Slips Into ABQ For Heather; You Are There, Plus: Cannon Death Watch; D.C. Decision Today As Clovis Holds Its Breath 

Speaker Hastert
The GOP Prez may be coming under heavy fire for a war gone awry in Iraq and gas prices pushing three bucks a gallon, but NM Republicans in attendance at a heavy-hitter, high-powered fundraiser featuring U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert were light on both their feet and in their mood, according to those in the know. Hastert commanded $500 a ticket for Heather who served "heavy o'dourves" and free-flowing wine. The speaker slipped into town just for Wilson and was feted, along with Wilson, by some 50 R's at the Four Hills area home of local businessman Sherman McCorkle and his wife Kathy. Heather's camp, nor any other camp for that matter, has floated any new names who might oppose her next year, following my exclusive report that Attorney General Madrid was a very doubtful spear carrier for the D's next year. The prospect of a free Heather ride looms, or at least the lack of a three million dollar challenger as she has had in the past.

On the war, Wilson is fresh back from Iraq with other members of the House Intelligence Committee and still supportive of the U.S. role there, telling the top-tier R's last night that "progress is being made." It is a viewpoint not shared by a majority of the New Mexican and American people, but vocal opposition has yet to surface from NM Democrats. The last Survey USA poll in NM had 81% of the R's here supporting the Prez, a total disconnect from the rest of the electorate. The NM Bush overall approval rating was only 42%.

Speaker Hastert of Illinois, a former high school wrestling coach and a big bear of a man described as likable and avuncular, told the NM R's he visits some 200 congressional districts a year. Next year is an off-year election and he could be visiting fewer districts in the future if history is any guide and the R's lose a couple of seats. But unless the D's come out charging with some new blood and soon, Heather Wilson's seat won't be be one of them. Don't say we didn't tell you.

There is some Dem opposition to the war, says ABQ South Valley political operative and former Young Dem leader, Sisto Abeyta. Look at this, he says. OK, but it isn't in New Mexico.

CANNON DEATH WATCH

New Mexico politicos are on Cannon Air Force Base watch today. The Washington hearings where a decision will be announced on Cannon and other bases suggested for closing will be televised on C-Span II starting at 6 a.m. today. You can also watch the BRAC hearings live on C-SPAN’s Web site. Big Bill flew to D.C. for the hearings. I'll update the news when it breaks,

Back to the Heather-Hastert dinner last night, Doris Rhodes, daughter of former State Senator Virgil Rhodes, is said to be Heather's new fundraiser, replacing Jane Altweis who is now out of the game and leaving to teach school. Well, not everyone can be a La Politica lifer, just us chosen few I guess. And we're not going anywhere. Why give up a front row seat to the best show in the state?

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2005
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