Sunday, November 05, 2006
Heather Wilson: Was It Just One Of Those Things? Her Affair With New Mexico Appears To Be Ending; Latest Poll Results Are Up Next
There may be no end in sight to the bloody and unpopular Iraq war, but there is an end in sight for Heather Wilson. According to the final ABQ Journal poll, the four term 45 year old ABQ GOP incumbent U.S. Representative is about to be swept away by a wrathful electorate seeking change. It may not even be close.
Democratic Attorney General Patricia Madrid has a solid 49% to 45% lead over Wilson with 6% undecided. When the undecided are asked which way they are leaning, Madrid hits the magic 50% mark and Wilson moves to 46%. Pollsters do not expect the remaining 4% to vote. That would give us a universe of 96%, meaning Madrid may be positioned for a 52-48 win. A strong GOP turnout and historic patterns Election Day could trim that margin and keep the race tighter. However, at this point, the upset would be a Madrid loss, not a win.
The higher the turnout goes Election Day, the worse for Wilson. The lower, the better for her. More voters will mean more Democrats and more liberal ones. Heather is only getting 12% of the Dems, a dismal number. She scores 27% of Hispanics, up a bit, but not nearly enough.
Journal pollster Sanderoff has a strong record that is the last thing Wilson wants to hear about. In some 20 years, he has had the winning candidate in a major race placing second in his final Journal poll just twice. Heather can only hope she will be the third.
Not that Wilson can give up. There are still votes to be cast. She will bring in Arizona GOP Senator John McCain for a second time Monday to try to rally the GOP base one last time and get back in the race.
But McCain may be the wrong person. Once the epitome of independence from the White House, he is now associated with the don't-get-out-of-Iraq wing of his party. One wonders if that will change Wednesday morning.
Ironically for Wilson, it was her refusal to assert her independence on Iraq that may do her in. Throughout her eight years representing the district she has called herself "independent" minded and, on occasion, even voted that way. But on one of the most pressing issues to ever face the American nation, she chose fealty to her President and party, not independence. The Dems absolutely hammered her for it, and it stuck. Big time.
If Wilson is velcro, Madrid is teflon. Iraq and its mounting casualty toll--105 in October alone--have made the charges leveled against Madrid appear like gnats on an elephants behind. The tragic deaths of young soldiers--now seen as a waste by the vast majority of voters-- trumped the many flaws in Madrid's record that Wilson began pointing out way back in July.
The political climate and the Journal poll say Wilson is history. If so, it could be this Rhodes Scholar's inability to understand history that will cause her political career to come to an ignominious end Tuesday night.
LYONS FINALLY ROARS
Jim Baca is a step closer to full-time retirement in the wake of the Journal poll showing him lagging incumbent GOP land commissioner Pat Lyons by seven points--48% for Lyons, 41% for Baca and 11% undecided. The Journal poll confirmed our earlier reports of tracking polls that showed Baca beginning to lose Bernalillo county to Lyons.
Is this race a done deal? Not quite, but Baca will need a lot of straight ticket voting from the Dems to get him in this one. He'll also need a strong showing in the Hispanic north. If that happens and GOP turnout also dips, Baca could still keep us up late. It is asking a lot and Lyons, who finally hit with powerful negative TV ads that Baca did not answer, may become the first Republican down-ballot officeholder to win re-election since we adopted four year terms back in 1990. But stay tuned to KANW 89.1 FM Election Night as we count the votes closely in this one.
All the other statewide races, according to the poll, appear safe for the Democrats. The secretary of state race is closest, with the R behind by six points, but projected voter turnout patterns show it finishing with a Dem flourish.
AROUND THE NET
Money poured into the attorney generals race in a big way in October. You can check that out and the highlights from the cash reports of the other statewide candidates here.
Which U.S. House candidate in the entire USA has aired more TV spots than any other. It may not surprise you to hear that it was Heather Wilson. New Mexicans have been diving under their couches to escape the ad onslaught from her and Madrid. Tuesday the ads go away and you get your life back, or at least your TV.
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2006
Not for reproduction without permission of the author