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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

New Poll: They Call It A "Stinker," But It Depends Who's Smelling, Plus: Bill & Senate Update, And: The Jose Campos Mini-Movida 

The latest SurveyUSA poll showing wild differences with one conducted just three weeks earlier was being labeled a "stinker" by sharp-eyed observers, but the smell certainly didn't offend ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez. He jumped on the results like green chile to an enchilada when he heard the survey had him beating GOP US Senate candidates Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson. Never mind that the October 8 numbers showed Chavez being waxed by Pearce by 18 points. It now has Marty beating the southern NM congressman by five (48% to 43%). And never mind that he was losing to US Rep. Wilson by four in the first poll, but now beats her by four (48% to 44%). Chavez was not about to lose an opportunity to take on his number one problem--the perception that he can't win a statewide race.

The poll, as shaky as it was, nevertheless comes as northern Dem NM US Congressman Tom Udall weighs getting in the race against Chavez for the US Senate nod, providing Chavez with a hook to keep the money coming in while Udall ponders. It also highlighted the importance of being on the field and in the game for the coveted Senate chair. Chavez is able to crow about the poll, use it to raise money and there is no one around to challenge him. It's the kind of thing that drives his many critics up the wall. For Chavez it's just another day at the office.

Veteran political analyst and consultant Harry Pavlides said the methodology of the poll--random dialing by automatic phone call into households not screened for registered voters--is bound to deliver inconsistent results.

"Once in a while you are going to get a stinker using this method, and that what we have here," explained Pavlides.

He said Pearce going from 18 up to four back is the most glaring example, but he also said the Chavez-Wilson match-up is jumping around because of the polling method, not because of news or campaign events. He sees it as a potentially close race, with no clear front-runner. (Udall was not included in the survey conducted last week. In an earlier survey, he beat both Pearce and Wilson handily.)

There is a consistency in the two recent SurveyUSA polls that Pavlides said merits attention. Dem Guv Big Bill is trouncing Pearce and Wilson in mock Senate match-ups. He beats Heather 59% to 37%. Against Pearce the Democratic Governor wins 58% to 37%. The first survey showed similar results, with Richardson a notch stronger.

BILL AND THE SENATE

And that brings us back to Bill. Is Richardson reluctant to give a firm answer to Tom Udall on his Senate plans? And is that causing heartburn for Udall? Udall is saying the Guv has "definitively" ruled out a Senate race, but some Richardson insiders are saying they have been told to keep their powder dry, indicating that the Senate is still on Bill's radar. I asked one of these "insiders" who it was that told him to cool his jets. "It came from the top," he said. The Governor? I asked. "The top," he replied."

What is especially worrisome to the Udall camp is statements like these from politicos close to the Guv. "Even if Tom gets in the race, I wouldn't rule out Richardson running. Bill Richardson is going to do what is good for Bill Richardson." Said one.

Tom Udall has something to lose--a comfortable US House seat. If Richardson is turned away in his bid for the Dem nod for President and his chances for Veep look dim, he could very well join Marty Chavez in singing that Bob Dylan line: "When you ain't got nothing, you ain't got nothing to lose."

NAME DROPPING

We don't want to start breaking their hearts so soon, but the multitude of candidates floating their names for the southern congressional seat and the one up North, have little chance of making it to the June ballot. Remember that 20% thing? You need a minimum of 20% at the March pre-primary convention to get on the ballot. As comedian Bill Maher would say: "New Rule."

It means we will probably have no more than three, perhaps four, candidates ultimately running for the Dem nominations down south and, if Udall leaves his House seat, the same number for the Dem nod up north. Same for the R's down south. The northern House seat is overwhelmingly Dem and will likely attract only one or two serious GOP contenders.

THE MINI-MOVIDA
Rep. Campos
Would State Rep. and Santa Rosa Mayor Jose Campos really give up his seat to go for the Dem nomination for the Pearce House seat? Probably not, say the Alligators. But it may have the intended effect of freaking out Dem State Rep. Joe Cervantes who is preparing to announce his candidacy soon. Campos would eat into Cervantes's Hispanic support. The Gators point to NM House Speaker Ben Lujan to explain this one. Cervantes opposed the Speaker's re-election and now the Speaker's friend Jose is talking of opposing Joe.

Hey, you and I can be pretty sure that Campos won't do it, but Cervantes may have to hit Walgreens for the Sominex. And that is what they call a "mini-movida."

Meanwhile, Speaker Lujan's son, Ben Ray Lujan, chairman of the NM Public Regulation Commission, is hitting the phones talking to Dem Central Committee members seeking support for a run for Udall's House seat, but Udall, according to one of our informers, has called the leading candidates and told them not to jump in before they get word from him.

BACK TO THE NAMES

Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman is having his name tossed around as a possible Republican candidate for the Pearce House seat. GOP Restaurant owner Ed Tinsley tells us he is going to talk to reporters Wednesday about his planned run. The son of Roswell area rancher Aubrey Dunn tells us his dad will make his plans for the GOP race known by mid-month. Bob Cornelius of Tatum in Lea County has already announced. Others are toying with it. Another Bob, Bob Gallagher of the NM Oil and Gas Association, is also a possible for the Udall seat on the Dem side.

Tom, you better hurry up and make up your mind. The dam is about to burst.

THE BOTTOM LINES

State GOP chair Allen Weh says we jumped the gun when we said the current leadership of the NM GOP is in the Heather Wilson camp when it comes to her Senate race with Steve Pearce.

"That’s a broad brush statement that would logically implicate me since I’m the chairman. Not only is there no “proof” of my boosting Heather (excepting prior support and contributions as a member of the House running for re-election), you will find this chairman is neutral and focused on keeping the debate civil and on the issues."

News? Comments? Send them our way and help keep the politics coming.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2007
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