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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

PEARCE RUNNING FOR U.S SENATE, And: Legislators Play Safe On Open Congress Seat, And: More From The Home Of NM Politics 

  • PEARCE WILL RUN FOR SENATE AND WILL INFORMALLY ANNOUNCE WEDNESDAY. WILL FACE OFF WITH GOP US REP. WILSON FOR NOMINATION
  • THE AP REPORT IS HERE
  • WILL NOTIFY SUPPORTERS VIA EMAIL AND LETTER; FORMAL ENTRY IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS
  • NO OBVIOUS GOP REPLACEMENT FOR PEARCE HOUSE SEAT
This won't knock your socks off, but for the record, ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez is not going to defer to Light Guv Diane Denish in the unlikely event she opts to join him in the race for the Dem nomination for the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Pete Domenici.

"Marty will not get out for Diane. He has announced and we believe his chances of beating her for the Senate are much greater than for the Governor's seat (especially if she is the incumbent) so we have made the decision to move forward regardless of her entrance. "

That statement from a Chavez insider who refers to the possibility that Lady Di could become Guv in the event Big Bill departs for bigger pastures. Of course, many of the politicos still think Bill will end up coming back to this pasture to run for that Senate seat. What would Marty do then? And would that the answer knock our socks off?

You heard Dem northern US Rep Tom Udall say he's staying put and not leaving his House seat to seek the Senate job and you heard right. Still, folks want to have fun, so here's the link to the Draft Udall for Senate" site.

What isn't so funny is the $800,000 Udall has in his campaign account after years of weak challengers. And no one has even announced to run against him in '08! He could use that money for a Senate run, but why?

MONEY TALK

Udall was among those reporting their third quarter money totals to the FEC Monday. US Reps Pearce and Wilson already released their general info, and the AP has an overview.

Looking at the specific reports, what stood out was the $15,000 given to Heather Wilson this election cycle by GOP House leader John Boehner's PAC. Now that she's running for Senate, she won't be able to vote for Boehner again, but she will be able to spend the money he sent her way. Hey, isn't Boehner one of the top dogs trying to talk Pearce out of running against Heather for the GOP Senate nomination?

Steve Pearce has some good friends in the Murphy oil family. According to the latest federal report, the Murphy's--and branches of the Roswell family--have so far in this cycle donated in the vicinity of $25,000 to the southern GOP congressman. Pearce can use the money. He is thinking about joining Heather in that race for the GOP US Senate nomination.

THE PEARCE WATCH

My sources late Tuesday were telling us that Pearce's decision could be "very near," with the insiders saying the odds are tilting toward a run. But we are cautious of any predictions as we are dealing in the highest realms of La Politica where nothing is final until the Fat Lady swallows the green chile. Also, the Internet domain name 'pearceforsenate.com' or .org. and several others related are unavailable. Is this getting interesting, or what?

BILL'S BILLFOLD

As for that cash intensive Prez race, Governor Bill reports he raised $5.2 million in the third quarter and finished with nearly $6 million in the bank as of September 30. Sounds pretty good, until you look at Hillary Clinton's pile. She has a stunning $35 million in the bank.

Bill has fired his TV guns early. Take a look at this:

"So far, Romney has placed the most political ads on the air than any candidate, Democrat or Republican. The Nielsen Co., which also monitors advertising, reported Monday that Romney had placed 10,600 television ads from Jan. 1 to Oct. 10. Democrat Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico, was second with 5,800 television spots."


What happens when Hill and Obama start spending their millions. it won;t take long for them to pull ahead of the Guv in the TV totals.

ALL ABOARD WITH BILL?

It's been odd to see Big Bill getting criticized in some of the papers for saying he wants to find needed funds for the Rail Runner from the state budget and federal money, instead of from a tax increase. Can the papers and other critics really believe any of us are up for a tax hike as the state has piled up (and spent) hundreds of millions in surplus oil and gas money the past several years? If Bill and the legislators fouled up on figuring how much the Rail Runner cost, let him and them find the cash needed from what's already been collected. So far, that's what the Guv plans. The remaining question: What programs are going to be cut to keep the Rail Runner on track?

SAFE AND NOT SORRY

Where are all the legislators wanting to advance to those prized congressional openings? It seems none of them are willing to give up their Roundhouse slots to take a shot (and a gamble) at the big time.

ABQ GOP State Senators Mark Boitano and Joe Carraro and ABQ GOP State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones are making noise about running for Congress but none of them have said they will give up their legislative seats. Only if they did that would the political community and money donors judge them as serious.

(Arnold-Jones, her friends say, will gather petition signatures to file for her legislative seat, as well as form an exploratory committee for the ABQ US House seat. We presume Carraro and Boitano are doing the same, though not necessarily starting exploratory committees.)

All these lawmakers have told me the issue of raising money for a congressional run will very likely keep them in the Legislature. But the law gives them a month to play around. Play around they will. Seriously run? Not likely.

Filing date for congressional and statewide candidates is February 12. Filing for legislative candidates is March 18. That means a legislator could file petition signatures for Congress and qualify for consideration at his party's March 15 pre-primary convention. If they failed to get 20% of the delegates needed to qualify for the June ballot, or had an otherwise poor showing, they could file on March 18th their previously gathered petitions signatures for their legislative seats.

There is a risk. Unless you are fully secure in your legislative seat, playing around with other offices may draw potential primary rivals who could tell your constituents they would love nothing more than to represent them in the Roundhouse as their current lawmaker may be more interested in another office.

NOT SAFE, AND NOT SORRY

Who among the current crop of congressional candidates, you may wonder, is going all in? Putting it all on the line?

Dem ABQ City Councilor Martin Heinrich gave up his council seat to run for the ABQ US House seat, 29 year old Bill McCamley has sworn off a run for re-election as a Dona Ana county commissioner to go all in for the Dem nod for the southern congressional seat. And, while technically she still has time to back out, ABQ GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson has said she will relinquish her current position for a shot at higher service. Will Steve Pearce join this elite list?

It's no knock against the candidates with fall back positions, but in this era when the safe political option seems to be the popular one, these three exceptions stand out to us, and maybe to some voters as well.

DOUBLE SIDED PARTY

A fundraiser tonight for ABQ GOP State Senator Diane Snyder lists Johnny Cope, well-known Hobbs Democrat and friend of Big Bill, as one of the lead sponsors along with state GOP Chair Allen Weh and Ken Zanagara, former chair of the Bernalillo County R's.

Snyder is unlikely to be challenged in the June '08 GOP primary, but needs to look ahead to next November when she will need Dem support in her NE Heights district. The insiders say it has the potential to be a D pick up. Several Dems, including John Blair, are making plans to run.

The cocktail reception tonight goes for $250 a head and is being held at the Chama River Brewing company which is owned by another Big Bill friend--Gerald Peters.

Will Democrats for Diane be meeting there next?

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2007
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