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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Late Breaking: Two Bush Visits? Top Source Says Prez Here On Primary Election Day, Plus: Insiders: Sec. Of State Race In Play; Come On In, Let's Blog! 

Bush & Pete
Two Presidential visits in just 10 days? It looks that way as a Senior Alligator passes word that President Bush will visit NM on primary election day, June 6th, to discuss "comprehensive immigration reform." The Prez, as first reported here, will make a campaign stop in downtown ABQ June 16th for GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson at which she hopes to persuade folks to line up and pay $5,000 for a pic with the Prez.

Some politicos might say Mr. Bush will be raining on New Mexico's primary parade, but with few key contests and a record low voter turnout predicted, they probably needn't worry much. Rather, it would seem the President would pick an area of NM to visit, like ABQ, where his immigration plan will get a sympathetic hearing. Conservatives are up in arms over what they consider to be an amnesty provision for illegals in the Bush favored bill.

Still, the timing seems odd. Maybe the White House felt it was unseemly to just drop in on the 16th and swoop up dollars for Heather, so they are adding another visit to "meet the people." Or, more likely, NM would be part of a White House road show on behalf of the immigration measure. The fact that our congressional delegation largely supports him on this one is an added factor.

The visit has yet to be confirmed, but our Senior Gator is a guy in the know, and we would be surprised if he didn't have this one nailed. But, if necessary, I can eat my share of crow with the best of them.

ANOTHER RACE "IN PLAY?"

Gonzales
The Democratic race for the secretary of state nod started out with Stephanie Gonzales as the clear frontrunner. Now, it has turned into a barnburner, according to top political analysts checking in here. Bernalillo County Clerk Mary Herrera says she has been throwing significant resources at the contest and even Gonzales insiders are acknowledging that the race is in play.

One of those analysts, Dem pollster and consultant Harry Pavlides, (in the game since 68') says Stephanie's campaign has not been very visible and that Herrera could win the contest if "she blows out Bernalillo county," a scenario he sees as possible. Herrera is on statewide cable TV and radio, is mailing 80,000 Democratic households and will soon hit with a series of newspaper ads. Her second cousin is a printer and has made in-kind contributions for the direct mail.

Gonzales is mailing twice to 35,000 key Dem households. She is a former two term secretary of state with high name ID, but Herrera is well-known in the vote laden Rio Grande Valley and can make inroads in the the important Spanish North. The other two contenders, Santa Fe's Letitia Montoya and former secretary of state Shirley Hooper, are seen as lagging by Pavlides and my other experts.

The political pros, still very cautious on picking a winner in the unpredictable, record low-turnout primary atmosphere, wonder if Stephanie has spent enough money to get her over the top. ABQ Mayor Martin Chavez Tuesday was raising additional funds for Herrera at a downtown lunch. Campaign finance reports will tell more of the tale this week. Meanwhile, Herrera has to wonder if anyone is paying attention out there. If they are, she has a shot, so if you took it off, add this one back on your must-watch list.

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN

Lem Martinez for NM Attorney GeneralAn anticipated primary battle between ABQ NE Heights GOP State Rep. Justine Fox-Young and former State Rep. Bob White failed to get off the ground. And with good reason. White, who lost the seat to Justine in 04', has been in and out of the hospital since early May. The print shop owner told me as he recovered at home that he had gall bladder surgery and has been sidelined. Fox-Young has put together a sizable campaign kitty and the race tips in her favor. The Dem candidate in the heavy R district is John McWaters. White, still in the fighting spirit, says he will vote for McWaters in November if he loses to Young on Tuesday.

Another contested R primary is in the ABQ Far NE Heights District 20, including Four Hills. It also features a candidate by the name of White, but no relation to Bob. State Rep and House Minority Leader Ted Hobbs is retiring and hopes to pass the torch to Jim White, a former state GOP treasurer and Air Force retiree. Politicos from the area say Hobbs may get his wish, but White will have to work it as two other hopefuls, Kevin Dixon and Richard Berry, are also out knocking doors. The R nomination is tantamount to election in the Republican dominated area.

SILLY SEASON

It's getting a bit crazy around here, but we wouldn't have it any other way. And we want you along for the ride in this final week of Primary 06'. Join top NM lobbyist Scott Scanland and me today at 4 p.m. on 50,000 watt talk radio 770 KKOB-AM for a rundown of the key primary races. Then, on Monday, June 5th at 5 p.m., join Scott and me again, along with ABQ South Valley Dem State Senator James Taylor, ABQ R State Senator John Ryan and former Big Bill spokesman Billy Sparks as we present a one hour Election Eve special on KANW 89.1 FM.

On Election Night, June 6, we'll bring the gang together to count the votes beginning at 6:30 p.m on KANW-FM, continuing a tradition that dates back to 1988.

As for your blog, look for special reports and breaking news every day between now and the election. You can take part by e-mailing your latest news and comments from the link at the top of the page.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2006
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