Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day 2006: Power To The People; We Count The Votes At 6:30 P.M. On KANW 89.1 FM And On The Web; Details Here, Plus: My Bottom Lines 

Campaign 2006 went out the same way it came in--with snarls and growls and a final slew of negative TV ads. It may mean a lower turnout than usual, commented veteran NM political reporter and KRQE-TV anchorman Dick Knipfing who has covered them all since 64'.

"It's a turn-off," he summarized in a late Election Eve conversation following an interview we did for his audience. And the first wave of stats may bear him out.

The AP reported 205,000 of us cast our votes early, compared to over 222,000 cast early in the 02' gubernatorial year. It wasn't just the negative campaigning that may have kept some votes on their couches, it was the utter lack of competitive races at the top of the ticket; it's only the hard-fought ABQ congressional race gives us a shot at attracting a 50% turnout or more in Bernalillo county.

There are 1,088,000 registered voters, but if we take out the 200,000 or so "inactive voters," We are left with 889,000 and a 50% vote would give us about 444,000 votes cast, less than 02' and about where we may come in. If you count the inactive, we may be headed for a turnout in the low to mid-40's.


For live Election Night coverage from the ABQ studios of KANW 89.1 FM, click on our NM politics logo on the right beginning at 6:30 p.m. Mountain Time. Thanks to Bruce Donisthorpe and his company, BWD Global, for providing support so we can bring our readers and friends around the state and nation this additional service. And another tip of the hat to public affairs firm DW Turner in ABQ for sponsoring election coverage.


The final poll in the Heather Wilson-Patricia Madrid congressional battle confirmed the trend of the last several polls; Madrid has a narrow lead as Election Day begins. Survey USA, polling by automatic phone calls, had Patsy at 50% and Heather at 48% with two percent undecided. The ABQ Journal poll released Sunday gave Madrid a four point lead, 49% to 45% with six percent undecided. (Wilson released a campaign poll showing her ahead by two, 48-46.)

The all-negative-all-the-time campaign made dinosaurs out of those who were taught that you should close positively, actually trying to convince people to vote for you. No more. Madrid and Wilson were still attacking each other into the Midnight hour last night.

On my KANW-FM Election Eve special veteran NM journalist called it for Madrid "by a nose."ABQ GOP State Senator John Ryan said he is hanging his hopes for Heather on a superior GOP turnout and called it for her by three points. Lobbyist Scott Scanland said the trend is with Madrid and Dem State Rep. Al Park got real specific saying Madrid would win with 50.8%. Now that's what I call a barn burner. I had one prediction: If Madrid wins, it will be by a somewhat comfortable margin, meaning over 2,000 votes and we avoid a recount and the lawyers. If Heather takes the prize, it will be much narrower and we may not know the outcome on Election Night.


In the other race still on the table, the fight for state land commissioner, Dem Jim Baca, trailing GOP incumbent Pat Lyons, made a late play for the Spanish North where his hopes now lie to overcome Lyons' expected big Bernalillo county win. Baca's wife, Bobbi, sent out an email to Dems statewide touting her husband's public service record and reminding voters:

"I’m Bobbi Baca, Jim’s wife of 29 years. We have two great kids, Justin and Noelle Baca. Both graduated from Valley High School in Albuquerque, both speak fluent Spanish. "

Lyons hit the mailboxes with a last-day flyer that scored Baca. "Politician Jim Baca talks, but he failed to get results. NM can't depend on Jim Baca."


TV coverage tonight will be mostly crawls of the results across the screen with the network affiliates hitting it hard on their 10 p.m. news and beyond. At 9 p.m. in the ABQ market KASA Fox 2 will have an hour of coverage starting at 9 p.m. All the more reason to tune us in on KANW, as we will have exclusive early precinct results. I don't know how early, but believe they will be the first on the congressional race.


Voting in our Enchanted land will be mostly trouble free, except, of course, for big Bernalillo county, where troubles are par for the course. The best time to vote in the Metro is 10 a.m. or 2 p.m.

As far as counting the votes, the new state law allowed county clerks to start tallying the absentees on Thursday. That should help in Bernalillo where over 44,000 of them have so far been returned. But there will have to be hand tally of ballots that are rejected by the machines. That number may or may not be sizable. If it is a lot and Madrid-Wilson is close, we will have a long night. We will stay on the air as long as the Bernalillo county clerk is counting votes and releasing totals.


We will also be on the edge of our chairs watching the national results tonight and see if we have a switch in party control in the U.S. House and/or Senate, which leds me to this reader correction from W. F. Peifer:

"On your Monday blog you state that "If the D's take over one or both houses of Congress tomorrow, don't think voters won't more carefully consider putting a Dem in the White House in 08' which would put them in charge of all three branches." How do you theorize the D's could take over the Supreme Court anytime in the near future?"

Your are correct, W. F. I meant to say the two chambers of Congress and the White House which adds up to three, but not three branches of government, just two.


I am an optimist so I am thinking we will finish up on the air around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. I am usually proven wrong. Whatever the hour, I will try to post for you some kind of semi-coherent analysis of what happened by 6 a.m.....

And now there is silence as we await the decision of the voters. Maybe you will like the results of their collective wisdom, maybe not. But acceptance of their decision is fundamental to a free society. Despite the ugliness and sometimes maliciousness of our particular era, the great Democratic experiment marches on unperturbed, and there's nothing negative about that.

See you on the radio.

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