Friday, June 02, 2006

Sen. Adair Arrested In Roswell As State House Battle There Rages, Plus: On The Trail With The U.S. Senate Hopefuls; It's Your Non-Stop Primary Blog 

Sen. Adair
Talk about bad timing. Roswell GOP State Senator "Lightning" Rod Adair was arrested in Roswell Thursday, just days before voters there decide one of the most hotly contested GOP state House primaries and one in which Adair is playing a major role. Here's how the Adair arrest was reported Thursday night by KRQE-TV's Dick Knipfing:

"Roswell police arrested GOP Sen. Rod Adair today for failing to appear in court for a traffic citation. Adair was stopped for speeding 85-miles per hour in a 55-mph zone in Santa Rosa March 17th. He was supposed to appear in court March 31st. When he didn't show up for two months, a warrant was issued. Roswell police picked him up, but before he was booked, Adair called the magistrate in Guadalupe county and had the fine paid."

An unanswered speeding ticket would normally be no big deal, but this incident comes in the midst of a very personal and heated campaign in which Adair has been front and center. It's the battle between Nora Espinoza and Mike Kakuska for the Roswell area House seat being vacated by the GOP's Avon Wilson. Rod has tangled with the local newspaper, The Roswell Record, which will endorse Kakuska Sunday, voiced automatic phone calls for Espinoza and plotted her campaign strategy. His arrest gives the Kakuska camp another round of ammo in what is expected to be a close contest.

Oilman Mark Murphy has donated heavily to Kakuska as he battles the breakaway R faction that in 2004 put up several legislative candidates against fellow Republicans around the state. Murphy has said he is considering seeking the chairmanship of the NM GOP next year, making the Roswell race one with statewide implications.

The contest has been the most expensive legislative battle of Primary 06', with Kakuska spending over $60,000. Despite his arrest, don't count on Adair slowing down his campaign pace. This race is turning into a must win for him as the Murphyites could mark him for a challenge in 2008 if they beat his candidate this time.

Sen. Carraro
It's been a good week for NM GOP U.S. Senate hopeful Joe Carraro. But can it make up for the not so good weeks that preceded it? The good week consisted of endorsements from Carraro's hometown newspapers, the ABQ Journal and Tribune and money enough for radio spots. And in a first for the three way race for the right to take on Dem Senator Jeff Bingaman in November, there is GOP TV. Carraro made a last-minute $3,700 buy at KOB-TV, according to station records. Carraro would not say what other stations the ad would run on, but it was expected by other sources to include cable.

The bad weeks have been those where Carraro has been running on a shoestring budget and amid persistent chatter that Farmington M.D. Allen McCulloch is the frontrunner because he has raised the most money (about $350,000 says his campaign) and handily won the R's March pre-primary nominating convention.

The veteran ABQ West Side state senator raised only about $22,000 through the end of March. But he told me Thursday some money "has been trickling in" from a fundraising letter sent by former GOP vice-presidential candidate Jack Kemp, allowing Carraro on TV for a couple of days. It will be the only tube action in the contest which also features former Santa Fe city councilor David Pfeffer.

Carraro's best hope is a big showing in Bernalillo county where he is well-known and where about a third of the GOP will be cast in Tuesday's primary.


As for McCulloch, his campaign said the decision not to go to the tube was mainly financial. "This is going to be a very low turnout election. We have sent out a total of 11 mailings and we think we have done a good job in targeting those most likely to vote," offered McCulloch manager Mario Sanchez speaking from the campaign trail in Carlsbad, NM.

McCulloch is all mail, all the time. No radio, Internet or other ads. He hopes to cruise to a victory in his home county of San Juan in the Four Corners and also garner big vote totals in rural NM before heading into vote-heavy Bernalillo County where Carraro will make his stand.

As for Senator Jeff, his campaign reports that he is going to take a novel approach to his current $250,000 TV campaign. The commercials will run for at least several days after the primary, giving him the political airwaves entirely to himself, unless someone decides to copy his idea.


The latest campaign finance reports from the state candidates were due Thursday and many of them were turned in, but the secretary of state's Web site, as of late Thursday, was still unable to post most of them. Big Bill's was up and revealed he raised over $550,000 in May, giving him well over $5 million in the bank. The AP's Barry Massey has more on that and what else was available as your blog went to press.


We will blog here through the weekend and appear on KOB-TV's "Eye On New Mexico" at 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning to analyze the races with Dennis Domrazalski. (Set your Tivo's or VCR's for that one.) Monday at 5 p.m. we will have a one hour Election Eve Special for you on KANW 89.1 FM in ABQ. Our wall-to-wall Election Night Coverage with exclusive, early results will begin at 6:30 p.m. on KANW. Hope you can join us.

Don't forget to e-mail me your late-breaking campaign news as we take this one down to the wire.

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