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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

From New Jersey To NM: The Ex-Wife Factor, And: More On the GOP Senate Chase, Plus: Big Bill's Bad Suits And Botched TV 

If the ex-wives and husbands start talking, can anyone get elected? The question arises in the wake of the nasty campaign for New Jersey governor which ends today and where the ex-wife of U.S. Senator John Corzine told a newspaper the senator "let his family down" and had an affair that broke up their marriage. The quote was then used in paid ads by Corzine's GOP opponent, Doug Forrester, who was then accused on the rumor mill of having an extramarital affair. So, as Mr. and Mrs. New Mexico prepare for Campaign 06' should they prep by watching reruns of Divorce Court?

Actually, our state brushed up against the politics of the personal quite recently--in the ABQ mayoral campaign. The ex-wife of Mayor Marty Chavez, after flirting with the idea of running against her ex, gave an interview to KOAT-TV in which she said the mayor had let politics take precedence over his family. Unlike New Jersey, the quote was left on the table and not used by the mayor's foes in any paid media. But they easily could have and we would have had the same mess as Jersey.

It seems each cycle the politicos push the envelope a little more, even if it disgusts the voters and has nothing to do with the jobs they seek. Will it ever stop? It's tough to say. Voters say they can't stand this stuff, but the consultants say it works. And it does, in a limited way. It often drives turnout down, keeping those who don't like the negative at home, but catering to those who respond and who go to the polls.

New Jersey gives candidates everywhere fair warning. Those of us who think what goes on in a marriage or in the bedroom doesn't belong on the campaign trail or the TV screens may soon be outnumbered, if we aren't already. And we thought this was settled with Bill Clinton.

SEEKING A SENATOR

More on that GOP race for the right to take on NM Dem U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman next year. Former Bernalillo County State Senator and former Dem turned R, Tom Benavides, apparently did not raise any money in the recent federal filing period since he did not file a report, but insiders say he is still in the race along with David Pfeffer and Dr. Allen McCulloch and is planning to gather petition signatures.

Meanwhile, the Alligators were busy asking for specific contributions McCulloch received in totaling up his $141,000 campaign kitty. Here it is at the FEC. And hard to read too. Most of it came from the oil industry and medical profession in the Four Corners area.

Others wanted to know about ABQ R State Senator Joe Carraro and whether he is running for the GOP Senate nod. He's still on the fence, according to his last e-mail a couple of weeks ago.

And why are so many R's scrambling to take on Senator Jeff who is as close to a sure thing for re-election as you can get? Says one politico: "Joe, Senator Domenici's future is still uncertain. If he decides not to run in 2008 some of these candidates may want to be positioned for that race. Of course, Reps Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce might be in on that one too. And Pete is in no hurry to announce anything.

SUITING UP

We didn't make what kind of suits the Guv wears a campaign issue. He did. His TV spot says his suits might not fit, but "he fits New Mexico." So just what kind of tailor is it that Big Bill employs who can't make his suits fit? Or does he buy the ill-fitting garments off the rack at Dillards? Or, attention rival Prez candidates, does he buy foreign suits over there on London's Savile Row? Say it ain't so! So far, no response from the Guv's people on this "pressing" matter. But here's a tip for him: Two words, Guv: Hickey Freeman. Otherwise, the GQ worst-dressed list awaits. Now about those ties...

BOTCHED TV

And one more thing on that TV spot. Big Bill's high-priced out-of-state media mavens have a bunch of egg on their faces. For the kind of money they get, can't they get it right? Here's the AP's Barrey Massey reporting that the TV spot contains a factual error:

"Oops! Gov. Bill Richardson's debut TV ad for his re-election campaign made a mistake when it touted the governor's recent efforts to help New Mexicans with high energy costs. Flashed on the screen is the wrong amount for the minimum rebate going to New Mexicans. The ad shows in white letters: "Tax rebates for gas $50-$298." However, the minimum rebate is $64. The maximum rebate is correctly stated in the ad."

Do you think Big Bill can get a rebate from his media consultants? Good luck!

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2005
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