Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Campaign 06' Rolls On And We Have The Latest Action: From Auditor To Governor From The Southwest's #1 Political Blog 

Don't look for the campaign kitty of GOP Guv contender John Dendahl to be bursting with big homegrown Republican donations. Insiders report Dendahl has been getting the cold shoulder from many of the usual donors who are telling him they are reluctant to cross Democrat Big Bill who is pegged as the easy winner and someone they may have to do business with in the next four years.

The former state party chairman might want to plead with national R's to give him some cash to spare him and the party the embarrassment of having hardly any media presence in the final stretch of the Guv battle.

Joltin' John will get some free media today. If you wonder what he's been up to, you can hear him on Villanucci on 770 KKOB-AM starting at 4 p.m.


More on the NM visit of top White House political adviser Karl Rove. We broke the news yesterday. A top R refines exactly what Rove is expected to do here:

"Rove will not "visit Wilson campaign headquarters mid-morning on Saturday," as you blogged. He is going to the Victory 2006 office, the uncoordinated bunch of kids working on behalf of the Republican National Committee/GOPNM. Remember, Heather is independent. She would never ask for the support of Bush's top adviser!!"

Right, like Karl is not knee-deep in every important congressional race.

Our insider R also gives us some spin on what he claims is the latest take of the national R's on the Heather-Patricia Madrid congressional battle.

"The NRCC (Nat'l GOP Congressional Committee) is thinking about moving the Wilson/Madrid race off of their "toss-up" list into the leans "R" list. Insider polling shows Heather up five points with less of a +/- margin than the KOB/Survey USA poll. This means the NRCC may cut back on some of their ad buys."

So if all is well, what is Rove coming here for? And why is the head of the NRCC saying Heather is "one of our toughest races"? We await the ABQ Journal poll this Sunday to give us a better idea. But we thank our insider for his info, since getting information out of Heather's campaign is like trying to get a front row seat to a Rolling Stones concert. Just ask the ABQ Journal's D.C. chief Michael Coleman.

Meanwhile, Rove will also attend a fundraiser here at which tickets, says another R, are going for up to $5,000 a pop with the money going to the state party.

Some Dems have talked about setting up a protest to welcome Rove to the election battle.


Top politicos checking in here say most of the ethics reforms proposed by Big Bill's panel are going to be dead on arrival at the Legislature. That's hard to believe since we just lived through the huge Treasurer scandal as well as all kinds of pay to play allegations from both sides of the aisle. But the "zone of tolerance" is pretty wide around these parts and if incumbents don't feel threatened at the polls they will be reluctant to change the status quo from which they benefit. Don't say we didn't tell you.


One of the reform proposals is to let the Governor appoint the state treasurer and hve the auditor appointed by the Legislature or an independent commission, but even Dem auditor candidate Hector Balderas is turning thumbs down on that as is his GOP rival Lorenzo Garcia.

Says Hector: "I am concerned about appointment...the auditor serves as an independent check on executive and legislative power and must sometimes be in conflict with government in order to carry out a watch dog mission."

And Lorenzo chimes in to the blog: "The independence...of the auditor is crucial to his responsibility of providing assurance to the public that tax dollars are being collected and expended efficiently and honestly. An appointed auditor would not be independent."

They're both right. Appointing the auditor and treasurer would not necessarily mean less corruption. n the case of the Treasurer, it could encourage future gubernatorial abuse. How about Republicans getting off of their butts and hotly contesting the auditor and treasurer posts each election cycle? And how about the Dems weeding out the bad guys who go after the jobs? Is that so hard? Don't destroy the checks and balances our great-grandparents put into effect. Make it work.

While we're at it. Paying the Legislature anymore money in any form is just plain poppycock. What in the name of Clyde Tingley does that have to do with ethics lapses? An extra ten grand is not going to stop a crook from being a crook. The ethics panel got way sidetracked on that one. If such a proposal is made and has to go to the voters, put it on the dead-on-arrival stack.


Al Kissling
It's the Dems who are fired up this cycle with the polling and national news backdrop providing the encouragement. In southern NM retired Reverend Al Kissling, the Dem foe of GOP U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce is starting to give the D's some of that old time religion, firing hard over that national intelligence report that says the Iraq war is creating more terrorists, not getting rid of them.

"I urge the Congress to not accept another white-washing of the issues and demand the whole truth. I urge the voters in the Second District to reject rosy campaign rhetoric, and demand the truth from my opponent about his failed record on making our nation more secure."

And the 60 something Kissling, carrying the Dem flag deep into enemy territory, is trying to raise some funds to air these radio spots around the district. He's also trying to appeal to conservative Dems who normally vote for Pearce by slamming the "borrow and binge" Congress.

Pearce came in with a 60% win in 2004. The Dems think this time the current environment could stop him short of that mark. If Kissling keeps firing them up, maybe they've got a shot.


Meanwhile, in a news release explaining his vote in favor of a bill that calls for a national voter photo id requirement, Pearce made a claim that begged for back-up but gave none:

"Election fraud is a growing crisis in New Mexico. The estimated fraud in the 2004 presidential election was 7%. People arrived at polling stations only to find out that someone else had used their name to vote-stealing their most fundamental right as an American." Pearce said.

Seven percent of the votes cast were fraudulent? Where does that come from? Pearce did not say. Maybe out of thin air, as GOP NM U.S. Attorney David Iglesias had a task force look into election fraud and reported nothing significant. Using Steve's calculation, seven percent of the votes in a 500,000 turnout election would mean 35,000 were cast fraudulently. Man, if that's true Iglesias is sitting on the investigation of a lifetime.

We've said it before (to the catcalls of the nonbelievers) but the problem in America and New Mexico today is not massive numbers of people voting fraudulently, but getting people to vote at all. (There are problems with getting folks properly registered.) Just took at the sinking long-term voter turnout trends. If you don't believe me, ask David Iglesias. And if you think photo ID's are on the easy street to becoming the law of the land, think again. A Georgia court has ruled against that state's photo law.


Who are the only four NM congressional incumbents to be ousted by voters since 1970? We posed that query Tuesday and promised lunch to the first correct response. Well, appropriately enough for a political blog, it turned out to be a horse race.

ABQ attorney David Bucholtz beat out onetime reporter Jake Arnold by just 11 minutes. Another former reporter, Valerie Kimble of Socorro, was our show horse. Ryan Quinn of ABQ ("Love the blog!) gets an honorable mention for also getting it right, but Bucholtz gets the free lunch. Those who read the blog in the early morning had a better chance than others, so I may be reported to the Pajamahadeen Committee Overseeing Blog Contests.

And who were the victims of the voters' wrath? On the senate side, in 1976 Joe Montoya was ousted by Harrison "Jack" Schmitt. Then, in 1982, Jeff Bingaman did it to Schmitt. On the House side, in 1970 Harold Runnels defeated one term congressman Ed Foreman down south. The final one was the toughest to guess and had readers heading to their Almanacs. In 1998 GOP Rep. Bill Redmond, who had been elected in a fluke to the northern congressional seat, was defeated by Tom Udall who continues to hold the seat.

Political oldtimer and lobbying legend James "Bud" Mulcock called the contest, "pretty sneaky as (Congressmen) Johnny Walker and Tom Morris were both defeated in '68" and we asked for the victims from 1970 forward.

Bud, I'm not sneaky. I'm just not as old as you.

This is the home of Campaign 06'. Back at ya' tomorrow.

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