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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Campaign 06': It's A Gas; Pump Prices Pump Up Patsy, Plus: Big Bill Gets In On The Fun, And: A Senate Hopeful Rolls The Dice 

Those sky-high gas prices couldn't come soon enough for the campaign of Dem ABQ congressional hopeful Patricia Madrid. April has been the cruelest month for the attorney general as she has taken repeated hits from the R's for not aggressively investigating the state Treasurer's office as details of a major corruption scandal unfold day-by-day in an Albuquerque courtroom. They also piled on when she launched a probe of state insurance boss Eric Serna saying her past associations with the Dem politico tainted that probe. But now comes $3 buck a gallon gas and it's Madrid's turn to pile on.

Her recent news conference outside a gas station where she faulted the Prez and GOP foe ABQ GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson for the latest energy crisis received scant press notice, but if the petrol prices stay in this vicinity very long, her supporters are hoping it will be one of the breakthrough issues she needs to put Wilson on the defensive and keep her there.

Take a look at this simple, yet powerful idea for a TV spot from a Dem partisan. And the political voltage of high pump prices was reinforced Tuesday when the Prez entered the fray as motorists ponied up $50 and more to fill their tanks.

Advocates for Wilson and the R's are saying that while prices are high the D's really don't have any ideas to deal with the crisis, but who needs ideas when you have outrage?

PATSY'S OIL SLICK

Madrid's gnashing of the teeth over the fuel fiasco might cause discomfort for a fellow NM Dem. At her news conference she said: "While Heather Wilson and the Bush Congress are giving billions of dollars in tax breaks to oil companies, New Mexicans are paying the price.”

Hey, didn't NM Dem U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman sign up with Energy Committee Chair and Republican Pete Domenici to pass those tax breaks that Bush signed into law at a well-hyped ABQ ceremony last summer? Yep.

Pete and Jeff said their measure also had incentives for alternate fuels but that the bill would not have an immediate impact on gas prices. Boy, they got that right.

Madrid's next step could be to tie the unpopular Iraq war to the high price per gallon. But the issue is a moving target. If the prices head south, Patsy's political pump could come up dry. For now, however, it's a nice spring break to be able to hammer a defenseless Heather instead of thinking about the trials and travails of Robert Vigil and Eric Serna.

MORE GAS PAINS

As gas prices soar you might think there would be a hue and cry for another round of NM energy tax rebates to assuage the gas pains of Mr. & Mrs. New Mexico. But Big Bill, a former U.S. energy secretary, is so far holding the line on that notion. But he is having a good time again sticking a needle in the NM oil and gas crowd. He is renewing his call for the industry to donate $50 million which the state, he says, would be more than glad to distribute to hard hit consumers.

NM Oil & Gas Association honcho Bob Gallagher again says "nyet" to Bill's posturing and adds that the "free market" will take care of the problem.

Did you know Bob was a one time top aide to Bill? Sure was. At the Department of Energy. And in 03' Bill appointed Bob to the New Mexico State University Board of Regents which Bob continues to serve on. Oh, the web of La Politica!

ROLL THOSE BONES!
Pfeffer
The gas tank of GOP U.S. Senate candidate David Pfeffer may be hitting "E," but you gotta hand it to him. At the end of March he had $18,000 in the bank. This past Sunday he spent about $9,000 of it on a full page, black and white ad in the Sunday Albuquerque Journal (circulation about 149,000) lashing out at Dem U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman for not being tough enough on border enforcement.

It was a roll of the dice, and why not? An emotional issue like immigration is the type that gets hardcore R's off their seats. A one-time full page shot is probably not a bad way to go when you have so few bucks to make a splash.

Pfeffer's gamble comes just before we see what Farmington urologist Allen McCulloch does with the $128,000 he has in the bank. ABQ GOP State Senator Joe Carraro, also seeking the GOP nomination, is relying on ABQ name ID as he has less than $10k to play with.

And Pfeffer, a former Santa Fe city councilman, won't need any gasoline for his next campaign stunt--a 19 day walking tour of the NM-Mexico border to bring attention to the hot-button immigration issue.

Hey, with these gas prices, we may all be in for a long walk.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2006
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