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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Election Night Tip Sheet: What To Watch For, And: KANW 89.1 FM Coverage At 6:30 P.M., Plus: Some Personal Thoughts On This Special Day In La Politica 

So few voters. So much uncertainty. It's a recipe for an exciting Election Night. Contested primary elections are the most difficult to predict, especially in a low turnout one like today's. The key to victory depends on just who shows up at the polls. That's why you see the top consultants and Alligators quoted here hesitant to go too far out on the limb. Having said that, here are some key things to listen for tonight. Of course, we hope you do so with us on KANW 89.1 FM starting at 6:30 p.m.

In the Dem race for attorney general it's early precincts with big Hispanic vote counts. If Lem Martinez is running competitively with Geno Zamora, it will make things difficult for Geno. It's the scenario Gary King's camp is rooting for. If Geno is cleaning up in these wards, his prospects for a good night improve.

It's a similar story in the four way Dem race for secretary of state. Stephanie Gonzales and Mary Herrera don't want to see Letitia make a big move in the heavy Hispanic wards. It would mean Shirley Hooper is going to be a threat.

Don't buy into the ethnic factor? Reconsider. According to Research and Polling, when a New Mexico voter has little information about a race, 78% of them will vote along ethnic lines. There won't be as many of them in a low-turnout primary election that attracts hard core, informed voters, but there will be a good number of them. That's why in the closing days Zamora and Martinez have been working to spike the Hispanic turnout.

King's last poll shows him at 39%, Geno at 19%. Geno should surge big tonight as Hispanic voters are the least likely to tell pollsters who they will vote for. Martinez is in high single digits.

The fate of Dem land commissioner hopeful Jim Baca may rest in ABQ. Watch precincts from the ABQ SE Heights where in the past Baca has been popular with enviros and Dem liberals. If Ray Powell holds him down there, Baca could have a rough night.

A DAY IN OUR LIVES

When I called my first election at the tender age of 19, my hands shook so severely, I thought the paper would start shredding. I have calmed down (some) over the years, but I still fret and get butterflies before the red light comes on. I guess if I didn't it would be a signal that perhaps a break was in order.

In live broadcasting, as in speech making, it's about knowing your material. If you are comfortable with the subject, you want the night to last forever. Of course, I have a team of experts who are quick to jump in when I inevitably falter on a particular race or get a fact wrong. Safety nets are good.

I start my Election Day scanning the papers statewide, checking in with some of the Alligators and monitoring turnout reports. And I look at the ballot and wonder about the candidates, their families and their hopes. I respect them because they are putting it all on the line.

It's the first-timers who I wonder about the most. This time it's Geno Zamora, Jeff Armijo and Allen McCulloch, to name a few. Imagine the emotional peaks and valleys they will have tonight. Win or lose, it will be one of the most formative experiences of their lifetimes.

And I wonder about the grizzled veterans. They are battle-tested, but they are human. Working in campaigns you see men and women who you know are as tough as nails let the tears freely flow when this most public of referendums turns against them. When they win, you witness almost a physical transformation, a new found confidence that only comes in a democratic system where your peers pass judgement.

Tonight, of course, is about the numbers. Who's up. Who's down. But behind those numbers is the personal drama that keeps us fascinated, year in and year out, with our beloved La Politica. Good luck to all our candidates and their staffs.

BIG NIGHT, BIG COVERAGE

We've got you covered. Our 19th year of consecutive Election Night coverage on KANW- 89.1 FM kicks off at 6:30. Our exclusive, early results come in shortly after the polls close. The aforementioned Scott Scanland, GOP State Senator John Ryan and Dem State Rep. Tom Swisstack will be joined by politico Lenton Malry to form the main team. Thanks to ABQ's Ladera Golf, Bill Campbell Agency, Realtors and Enterprise rent-a-car for making it possible. Here's more:

Steve Cabiedes and Harry Pavlides captain the precinct coverage. During the evening you will hear from State Senator Taylor; pollster Brian Sanderoff and Republican Bruce Donisthorpe. R Vic Segura is at ABQ GOP headquarters. Dem Chris Catechis reports live from his party's big party. Ace blogger Heath Haussamen covers Dona Ana county and political reporter Ave Maestas is our man in SW NM.

Like I said, we've got you covered, so join us for a night of pure, unbridled New Mexico politics. On the morning after come back here for all the highlights of NM Primary Election 2006. Meanwhile, I'll see you on the radio!

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2006
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