Tuesday, May 02, 2006
NM Politicos Fill Up Campaign Tanks On Oil Cash; We Dig Out The Numbers, Plus: Heather's Spring Fling, And: It's Dateline Tokyo For NM PR Player
New Mexico congressional reps seeking re-election this year won't have any trouble topping off their tanks as they take to the campaign trail and they can thank, in part, the oil and gas industry. A check of federal records shows that the campaign coffers of three of the four NM members seeking another term this year have benefited handsomely from energy concerns, a major employer in the state.
Not surprisingly, southern NM GOP Congressman Steve Pearce is the top oil and gas guy. In fact, out of 535 members of Congress Pearce ranks among the top 20 recipients of oil and gas money, coming in 18th. So far this cycle, Pearce has taken in $44,700 from the industry. His district is dotted with oil and gas exploration companies. The energy issue is a tightrope act for the two term congressman; many of his constituents make their living from oil and gas, but high pump prices in a district where an hour's drive is routine could cause a political pinch.
But Pearce has a lot of breathing room. His only opponent is Dem Al Kissling of Las Cruces who is not going to get any oil and gas money and not much from anywhere else either.
THE CAMPAIGN OIL GUSHER
There's not much, if any, oil and gas drilling in the ABQ congressional district, but incumbent GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson is a member of the powerful House Energy Committee, a plum spot for oil and gas contributions. So far, she has raked in over $36,000 from the industry. Her Dem challenger, Patricia Madrid, is not turning down their money either. She has collected $17,000 from the currently unpopular industry.
Democrat Tom Udall, a noted environmentalist, doesn't have the oil and gas barons banging at his door. Still, for his 06' re-elect he has managed to receive about $10,000 from the industry.
Governor Big Bill is an interesting study. We won't have his oil and gas totals for the 06' campaign until next week, but in 02' he benefited from over $200,000 in energy donations. Recently, he called for oil companies to donate $50 million to the state so it could be given to hard-hit consumers. In the past, he has also talked of raising taxes on the industry. On this one, the Big Guy has a good argument against the R's "pay to play" attack.
Dem Senator Jeff Bingaman, member of the Senate Energy Committee and seeking a fifth term in 06', is at $48,000 in oil and gas dough for this cycle, not a large percentage of his overall total of $2.4 million. But, as with Pearce, it shows the balancing act that our congressional folk are faced with as they represent a major oil and gas producing state and at the same time try not to be labeled favorites of Big Oil as those gas prices continue to hit home.
HEATHER'S SPRING FLING
In the latest edition of her ongoing series, "Why I am Really a Moderate," the GOP's Wilson is throwing political kisses to one of NM's old line Democratic families. Take a looksie at her latest newsletter missive.
"While we are from different parties, I have always liked the Kings. There's a hard, dry no-nonsense directness about them. They're honest men who work hard." Declared R Heather.
Hey, isn't Heather butting in on Patsy Madrid territory? After all, Madrid ran as Bruce King's running mate to form the 94' Guv ticket. Well, Spring is in the air, so what better time for Heather to romance the many D's she needs to retain her seat.
NM politico Doug Turner has gone Oriental. The ABQ PR operator is in Japan studying why minority political parties work there. He penned this piece for Time Mag's Asia edition.) His Japanese sojourn is courtesy of a fellowship with the Council on Foreign Relations. Turner, who managed Gary Johnson's NM Guv campaigns, is also developing clients for his business.
R Doug's CFR connection ought to get the conspiracy buffs going. But in our beloved La Politica it doesn't take much to do that, does it?
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2006
Not for reproduction without permission of the author