First, let's thank the pollsters for laying off of Primary 06.' Heck, all the races could be blowouts Election Night, but at least we won't know it until then. Ironically, what will likely be the lowest primary voter turnout in NM history is generating frenzied speculation among the insiders because no one really knows with any degree of certainty where key races will end up. So it was as we took to the airwaves of 50,000 watt 770 KKOB-AM in ABQ Wednesday to update our Enchanted Land on the final adrenaline filled days. Joining the political party were top NM lobbyist Scott Scanland, veteran talk show host and politico Mike Santullo and an audience of callers.
Topic A was the Dem race for attorney general, with Scott breaking the news that Gary King has pumped $100,000 from his personal checkbook into his coffers as he fights to resurrect his political career. The young and aggressive Geno Zamora out raised Gary in the last finance reports (The latest numbers will be released today.) and was already heavily armed for battle.
All three of us stated the obvious; that King is the frontrunner, but all agreed the race is still open. Compared to his rivals, Lem Martinez is underfunded, but the tough D.A. will not abandon ship and was given a boost in Geno country as the Santa Fe Reporter joined the New Mexican and endorsed the Martinez candidacy. Lem is also hitting the radio airwaves heavy to try to keep up with the massive TV buys Gary and Geno have up.
Soon the candidates will turn to the all important get-out-the-vote effort, and with forecasts for a turnout of 20% or less of registered D's and R's, that could make the difference. THE RADIO DAZE
We were at ground zero for the radio ad wars Wednesday. During the commercial breaks we heard many last minute pitches. R Light Guv contender Sue Wilson-Beffort, unopposed for her party's nomination, was on and trying to generate some interest in the R Guv ticket, soon to feature J.R. Damron. GOP senate contender and ABQ State Senator Joe Carraro, hit with a script that had him using the time-honored phrase "Vote for me!" Carraro will also go up with a last minute TV ad to complement his endorsements from the ABQ Journal and Tribune. Allen McCulloch established himself as the early GOP senate leader by raising the most money and winning the R pre-primary convention. Insiders say he has sent out at least four mailers. David Pfeffer is also on the trail.
Earlier in the day, Carraro and McCulloch attended the ABQ funeral of Jerry McKinney, former press aide to the late Congressman Joe Skeen, where they shared campaign news with attendees. Jerry would be glad to know that La Politica was part of his final goodbye. Joe's wife, Mary Skeen, made the trip from Roswell to pay her final respects.
Back in the downtown ABQ radio studios, we heard Dem land commissioner hopeful Ray Powell, in a duel with ex-land boss Jim Baca, take to the airwaves to woo conservative Dems. And Pat Lyons, the incumbent GOP land commissioner, unopposed for the R nomination, but knowing history doees not favor his re-election, is wasting no time and was also up with a radio spot he voiced in his down home eastern New Mexico drawl. WINNER GETS LUNCH
It was that four way D shoot out for the ABQ West Side State House seat being vacated by Harriet Ruiz that had the KKOB phone lines humming with supporters in this who-knows-who-the-heck-is-going-to-win race. Moe Maestas, Dominic Aragon, Pat Baca, Jr. and Dan Serrano are the duelists and if anyone can predict the winner and the percentage within three points, I'm buying them lunch. Even legislative expert Scanland, in the game for 25 years and whose livelihood is the Legislature, said a call on this one is like picking lotto numbers. You might get it right, but you wouldn't know why.THE BOTTOM LINES
The best response from a candidate NOT getting a newspaper's endorsement comes from ABQ Public Regulation Commission hopeful Andrew Leo Lopez. In response to the ABQ Tribune endorsement of Derith Watchman-Moore, Lopez said, "Both Trib readers in my district already voted early for me!"....
The Primary Day NM visit of President Bush to tout his immigration plan, news of which we broke here yesterday, "will be in Roswell, or some place down south," reports a Republican congressional staffer. I was a bit surprised to hear that as the south is probably least supportive of the Bush plan, but he did carry the region big in 04'. You have to give the Prez credit for tackling an issue that is not scoring him many political points....
The best response to the "expert" analysis on the blog yesterday in the Dem race for secretary of state comes from Letitia Montoya's campaign manager. "There will be shock and awe when the VOTERS (not the "experts") of New Mexico select Letitia Montoya as the Democratic nominee for Secretary of State."
He won't get an argument for me. Every day is a shock covering New Mexico politics.
We're bloggin' straight through Primary Election Day, every day, with the exclusive insider news and analysis you can find only here. That means you Alligators and wannabes are working overtime too. E-mail me your stuff.
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2006
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