Friday, July 27, 2007

Anonymous Foley Foes Circulate "Push Poll;" They Seek Primary Challenger, Plus: Big Bill Lowers Bar In Nevada, And: My Bottom Lines 

Nearly five hundred Chaves county Republican households were recently targeted for a "push" poll via automatic phone calls, as foes of NM House Minority Whip Dan Foley try to smoke out a challenger for the controversial state rep in the June 2008 primary. But the Foley foes won't go public, preferring to operate from the shadows, and that is to the advantage of the embattled Foley who faces charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest that have made him a top political news item in the Summer of '07.

The push poll asked respondents four questions about controversies Foley is facing or has faced, including his recent arrest at his son's basketball game and his involvement in getting a National Guard flyover to celebrate the opening of a Roswell auto dealership whose owner was a Foley campaign contributor. The questions were designed to put a negative spin on Foley, thus the "push poll' label. Those paying for the survey got what they were looking for. Over 81% of those responding said they would not vote to re-elect Foley after hearing about the charges he faces.

A memo from the unknown pollster accompanying the results says the phone survey "clearly shows that Rep. Foley is extremely vulnerable to a challenge in the 2008 Republican primary." (The entire survey is posted here. Click on the "download" icon.)

One of the poll sponsors, refusing to be named, said the poll is valid because if someone runs against Foley the same negative information that was dished out over the phone will presented in a public campaign. But that doesn't take into account the vigorous defense Foley could be expected to counter with to drive down those numbers.

The poll was conducted only among Republicans because House District 57 is overwhelmingly R and Dems are given little chance of ousting Foley, even though the spate of controversy he faces could give them a better chance.

Foley's trial on the disorderly conduct and other charges has been delayed and is now set for September 27th, but trouble getting a judge who can hear the case without bias judge could delay it longer, giving Foley's foes the opportunity to keep the negative story in the headlines.


Foley, an insurance man whose outbursts of temper are legendary, has not suffered with his Roundhouse colleagues who have elected him minority whip, in part, because he has been a consistent critic of Democratic Governor Richardson. He is admired for not being afraid to stand up, while others cowered. That willingness has won him a large fan club among conservatives, but their loyalty is being tested in light of the charges which include spitting on a cop, not exactly an example of conservative law and order values.

Foley's colleagues are not commenting, and neither are state GOP leaders. But if Foley is found guilty the Dems are positioned to pounce, perhaps forcing a statement and calling for Foley to be ousted from his Roundhouse leadership post.

Critics say no Republican is willing to take on Foley because they fear retribution. But Foley backers argue while the state rep's character has shown cracks, he is a fighter and a leader and commands the respect of his colleagues and the electorate. If he is found guilty at his upcoming trial, it would probably increase the chances of a Republican primary challenge. Whether the two sides of Foley are presented in a contested primary is the central question in Roswell these days and not one of of minor interest to those of us observing from afar.


Big Bill is working to tone down expectations for his showing in the January Nevada Dem presidential caucuses, now saying he expects a "strong showing" not a victory. Earlier in the campaign, Richardson's campaign was talking aloud about winning the western state. With less than six months to go before the Nevada vote and with Clinton, Obama and Edwards still out polling him in Nevada, Bill appears to be lowering the bar so a defeat in what the national press considers his backyard will not knock him out of the race. As for what he believes constitutes a "strong showing," the Guv offers no specifies. Do you think it's wherever he finishes on caucus night?


Here's that unusual "clarification" from the Washington Post over its original report on Big Bill's fundraising that we told you was coming earlier this week. The original report that questioned the Guv's adherence to federal campaign laws had his campaign bristling at the influential paper.

If you think the hot summer temps have you hot under the collar, ask an opponent of gay marriage in New Mexico how they feel after reading this. It'll take more than an iced tea to bring their temperature down...And here's some semi-deep weekend reading on President Bush's conduct of the Iraq war that is burning up the Internet lines. It's worth a scan...

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