Monday, January 28, 2008

GOP Misfires: Gay Rights Measure Passes House With Their Help; Media Upset Over Closed Congress Debate, Also: Bill Clinton In ABQ; Kennedy For Obama 

Reps. McCoy & Fox-Young
A pair of Republican Party misfires put smirks on the faces of the Dems this weekend. First, the Dems funny bone was tickled when the state GOP sent out an e-mail missive exclaiming that it only fell two votes short in stopping a domestic partner bill that eked through the state House Friday on a 33 to 31 vote. The e-mail urged party stalwarts to help kill the bill in the Senate. But guess what? Two House Republicans voted for the bill. That was not mentioned in the GOP e-mail, but it did have other R's wondering about the votes of ABQ's Justine Fox-Young and Kathy McCoy. They voted for the measure which the party sees as a gateway to gay marriage. Will their break with party orthodoxy on such a hot button issue prompt Fox-Young and/or McCoy to draw primary challengers this year?

In the case of Fox-Young, she survived an '06 primary challenge after breaking with her party on another key litmus test tissue--the death penalty. She voted for a death penalty repeal measure in 2005. Her primary opponent, former state Rep. Bob White, tried to make hay out of that, saying she had earlier told the ABQ Tribune she was a supporter of the death penalty. Fox-Young easily defeated White. The domestic partner bill is expected to die in the state Senate as it did last year.


The R's had another misfire. The Bernalillo County GOP went ahead with a debate between ABQ GOP congressional candidates Darren White and Joe Carraro, even though the media was shut out. The Saturday breakfast predictably drew bad press for the contenders. Carraro said he never agreed that he media should be excluded form the debate held under the umbrella of the Bernalillo County Republican Party and hosted by former ABQ GOP State Rep, Rory Ogle. Ogle begged to differ. He told me for a second time Saturday that Carraro agreed to the exclusion. White admits he agreed to the no media rule and did not want to object to the rules so did not protest the media shut out. That struck a sour note with some e-mailers who pointed out the Sheriff is a former TV news reporter for KRQE.

Carraro decried the closed debate, but neither he or White would back down from participating. Dem congressional contender Martin Heinrich pounced on the chance to make merry over the R misfire.

Closing a debate between two candidates for the Untied States Congress may make a few insiders feel like a privileged few but it gave a black eye to White and Carraro and to county GOP chair Fernando C de Baca who remained mum on the entire affair, but who insiders now say will ban "no media" debates.


Former President Bill Clinton will be in ABQ Thursday, the NM campaign of Hillary Clinton confirmed Monday afternoon. National media is reporting that Senator Ted Kennedy will stop in NM for Obama before our Feb. 5th caucus. Bill Clinton will also be in Santa Fe Thursday evening for a $2300 a person reception at the home of Beth and Steven Moise. Insiders tell me a Hillary Clinton visit appears to be in the works for Saturday. Obama is expected to be in ABQ and Santa Fe on Friday.
We are also getting word that Chelsea Clinton may be making a NM stop.

Former NM Guv Bruce King and wife Alice, longtime friends of Hill and Bill, endorsed Hillary over the weekend. Meanwhile, Barack grabbed a big get. Ted Kennedy is going to endorse him. That could help Obama in the Spanish North precincts of NM, where President Kennedy is still revered. The Clinton campaign says it is employing "bilingual" phone banks as it works to seal the deal here.

He was all ready to use his campaign fund to pay off his legal bills, but now NM GOP Senator Pete Domenici has put that on hold. Why? Troubles at the FEC.


One of my favorite campaign slogans was when ABQ attorney Joe Diaz was running for mayor and went on TV and ended a spot by saying, "If you vote for me, I'll fix my teeth." He really said it. Joe had a mouthful of problems. He didn't win, but he got his teeth fixed anyway. Now comes another candidate making fun of his personal appearance in the hope of attracting some attention and votes. Greg Sowards, seeking the GOP nod for the southern congressional seat, titles his Web site: "Short, Bald and Honest." The first two attributes are self-evident. He'll have to prove to the voters he possesses the third.

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