Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Candidate Money Reports Trickling In; What They Say, Plus: What McCain Called Pete; You Gotta See It, And: The Latest NM Prez Action 

Lujan Grisham
The first important money reports from the batch of candidates seeking NM's three open US House seats aren't due until the end of the week, but a couple are trickling out before the deadline. The latest comes from Michelle Lujan Grisham who met expectations for her fourth quarter '07 fundraising, but did not surpass them. The former Big Bill cabinet secretary filed a Federal Election Commission report that showed her raising about $116,000 and having $95,000 in cash on hand. Grisham is seeking the Democratic nomination for the ABQ congressional seat being vacated by GOP US Rep. Heather Wilson who is seeking the Senate seat being vacated by Pete Domenici.

Former ABQ city Councilor Martin Heinrich is the leading money raiser for the contest. He had taken in $368,000 as of September 30, 2007. He will add to that when he files his fourth quarter report. ABQ attorney Robert Pidcock is a recent entrant in the contest and former NM Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron is expected to come in as early as this weekend. Also, insiders say we could get yet one more candidate before filling day comes February 12th.

Grisham is hoping her money report will attract attention from such national groups as Emily's List which supports female congressional candidates. She announced her candidacy in mid-October so her $116,000 total is respectable, but her report reveals she was having some trouble attracting maximum contributors--those giving $2300. One maximum contributor was State Rep. Joni Gutierrez of Mesilla. State Expo Deputy Director Rodger Beimer came with $500.00.


Lujan Grisham is a cousin to the famous Republican Lujans. Manuel Lujan served as an ABQ area congressman for 20 years; his brother, Edward, was state GOP chair, and headed the Manuel Lujan insurance agency, founded by the brothers' father. Neither of the Lujan brothers are on her FEC report, but an agent of the insurance company did kick in $500 for the Dem hopeful.

Grisham has raised enough money to be taken seriously, her campaigns first goal, but the bar will continue to get higher as she goes forward against a determined Heinrich and an unpredictable Vigil-Giron. Stay tuned.


Dem southern NM congressional contender Harry Teague released his money totals to us earlier this week. Here's a link to all the details, including the $4600 he received collectively from Light Guv Diane Denish and husband Herb.


A big night Tuesday for John McCain as he took the GOP Florida Prez primary, beating out Mitt Romney who placed second. Senator Domenici recently endorsed McCain, even though he noted the two did not always get along. Just how much didn't they get along? Take a look at this piece from 2000 that's circulating on the Internet and describes how McCain repeatedly calls Pete "an asshole."


The WaPo's Jose Antonio Vargas paid a visit to Big Bill Monday and got the inside scoop on all the attention the NM Guv is getting from the Clinton and Obama camps as he weighs endorsing one of them in the Dem Prez contest. Ted Kennedy was among those romancing Richardson. Vargas will also soon hit the national newsstands with a piece on Hispanic voting patterns, including those in NM. I had some Starbucks with him as he was putting that one together on his laptop. Vargas is an up and comer on the national journalism scene. He is only 27, but already a key part of the Post's wide-ranging election team. The political reporter is based in California.


Will it take 20% at the preprimary convention for the congressional candidates to make the June primary ballot? A bill to eliminate the requirement is moving around the Roundhouse.


A slew of endorsements dominated the NM Dem Prez action Tuesday. The mayor of Las Cruces came for Obama as did former NM Guv Jerry Apodaca and State Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino. Hillary touted her backing from former Navajo Nation Chairman Peterson Zah and released a new TV spot.

The Clinton campaign also provided details on Bill Clinton's Thursday NM visit. They included the 3:00 p.m. “Solutions for America” event at Johnson Center at the University of New Mexico, but they did not mention the Thursday morning $2300 fundraiser at the Santa Fe home of Steven and Beth Moise, but the Alligators told you about that yesterday, didn't they? By the way, Dem heavy Ed Romero is helping to pack them in for that event.

I did Caucus '08 with KOB-TV's Stuart Dyson Wednesday. Catch that report here.

About 120 Sandoval County Dems conducted a "straw poll" last night and tipped their collective hats Obama's way--50 for Obama, 41 for Clinton and 28 for Edwards. Northern Dem congressional candidate Don Wiviott finished ahead of Ben Ray Lujan, Benny Shendo and Jon Adams. Wiviott called it a sign of "early organizational strength" but Adams pointed out it was "an unscientific poll" and invited people to call him so he can show them the unscientific poll he recently won. Martin Heinrich topped Michelle Grisham in the 1st CD race. About 150 people attended the event sponsored by the New Mexico Democratic Club and the Democratic Women of Sandoval County.

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