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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Big Bill's Nevada Strategy: Can It Deliver The Punch He Needs? Plus: Heinrich Inches Closer to Wilson Challenge 

Maybe it's time to reassess. Big Bill has repeatedly said he is placing a big bet on the Nevada Prez caucuses to break him out of the pack and put him on the national radar. But as the campaign progresses the traditional power of Iowa and New Hampshire seems to be asserting itself, leaving Nevadans hoping their contest (January 19, 2008) doesn't get lost in the shuffle. Big Bill is hoping the same, but D.C. political analyst Charlie Cook is not offering much hope.

“Nevada will get more attention from presidential candidates than it did in previous years but far less than it wants or expects,” Cook told the Politico. Habits are hard to break, he said. Candidates and the media alike are reluctant to gamble on Nevada, instead investing time and resources in states with a record of results.

Another view, summed up by Dem strategist Bill Carrick, sees it Bill's way, believing that with even more states now planning Feb. 5 primaries, the first four states, including Nevada, will be vitally important in establishing the major players.

But the nagging question is whether Nevada alone is enough to launch a Richardson insurgency. The uncertainty has to give the campaign second thoughts. An all-in approach to Nevada is fine if a win there garners big national headlines and creates momentum for New Hampshire and the February 5 primaries. But with the campaign now three months old, the outlook remains iffy, and a March Nevada poll doesn't show much happening for him.

Richardson has already warned that he does not expect to blow the doors off in the important Iowa caucuses. That has the armchair quarterbacks telling him to take it to New Hampshire where his strong background in person-to-person politicking may give him a better chance for a big breakthrough in an important state.

A strategy hooked only to Nevada may be a winner if you're positioning for the vice-presidency, say the armchair quarterbacks, but if it's the big leagues he wants to play in, the NM Governor may want to get busier in the Granite State and polish the Silver State just a bit less.

OVER THERE...

Meanwhile, Big Bill is doing the nation service in North Korea, but don't count on it boosting his Prez chances much. In the long run, the only foreign policy question that is going to matter in the Dem race is Iraq. Our Guv's long shot chances still rest on the top-tier candidates messing up, which may actually may not be the longest of shots.

HEINRICH MANEUVERING
Martin Heinrich
ABQ City Councilor Martin Heinrich may try to clear the field and announce his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the congressional seat held by Republican Heather Wilson within the next several weeks. That's what Heinrich told me Monday as a list of potential Wilson challengers circulated, including the latest addition mentioned by Heinrich--NM Economic Development Secretary Rick Homans.

Heinrich, coming closer than any of the potential challengers thus far, called to say: "I am very serious about a candidacy. I am going to meet with the Governor as soon as as I can and let him know that." That was a veiled reference to Homans who is a friend of Big Bill's and who might be counting on him for support in a contested Dem primary involving Henirich or others.

But Heinich also has ties to the Guv having been appointed by him as NM's Natural Resources Trustee, so the Fourth Floor taking sides in any primary is far from a certainty.

Henrich's potential rivals have been downplaying his possible candidacy saying he has a young family and the race would be too much, but the SE Heights councilor retorts: "They're the ones downplaying it, not me. I think I should have something in the next couple of weeks."

The Alligators who follow these matters tell me Heinrich has made up his mind and is taking the plunge. Unlike the southern CD seat where two Dems are seeking the right to take on GOP U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce the ABQ seat is "in play" since in '06 Wilson won re-election by less than 900 votes.

Henrich also dropped more news Monday--if he seeks the congressional seat he will not seek re-election this October to his city council seat, opening that race up to a myriad of possible candidates.

Homans recently helped pass the Spaceport tax in Dona Ana county, but barely. Whether it would provide any juice to an ABQ congressional candidacy is highly questionable. My Las Cruces blogging buddy Heath Haussamen reports that Homans is not expected to make a decision on the Wilson race until the end of the year--maybe too late if Heinrich gets in now-- and that Homans does not even currently live in the district.

Henirich is a mid-30's fresh face for the Dems. Homans ran what was then the most expensive mayoral campaign in ABQ history in 2001, but his some $750,000 was only good enough to earn him fifth place in a seven man race. Still, Homans is well-spoken. Maybe the second time out he could do something. Henirich already has his bona fides established. Having won a council seat, he would be deemed an attractive candidate because of his proven vote-getting ability and appeal to Democratic liberals who dominate the primary turnout. He is also telling insiders he will broaden his appeal when he launches a candidacy to avoid being pigenholed by Heather's operatives as a lefty.

The good news for the Dems is that they finally appear to be moving toward getting a marquee name to run against Heather who has been embroiled in the U.S. Attorney scandal, but getting a free ride politically.

THE ROOTS OF BILL

Wondering about Big Bill's great-great-great-great-great- grandparents? That and more is found in this genealogy rundown.

IGLESIAS FIX

Let's take it to Washington now and the editorial pages of the Washington Post where ex-NM U.S. Attorney David Iglesias again gets support in his ongoing battle with Sen. Domenici and ABQ GOP Congresswoman Wilson.

THE BOTTOM LINES

ABQ's frisky alternative weekly, the Alibi, is out with it's "Best Of..." issue. They stopped by this corner asking for our thoughts. The paper also gave kudos for Web efforts, including those made by the Duke City Fix...Our Monday blog examining the strategic problems posed in the national media by the personal life rumors being attached to Big Bill's Prez candidacy was the first full treatment of the issue in New Mexico media. Some readers did not think the Guv would take to kindly to the frank analysis, with one joking: "You won't be getting White House Christmas cards from me when I take over--Bill." Well, it's always delicate when the personal becomes the political, and it's those times that writing for you is not fun. We don't endorse it, but it is the brutal reality of the world we live in today and, if anything, a Presidential campaign must deal with reality.

You've found the home of New Mexico politics. I'm Joe Monahan reporting to you from Albuquerque.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2007
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