Tuesday, February 05, 2008
A Super Surprise Today? Clinton Fights A Surging Obama As NM Prez Caucus Day Arrives; Complete Coverage & Analysis, Plus: Live Blog Results Tonight
We're going to miss this campaign, and we haven't been able to say that in the past 20 years. You don't know how weary you are of thirty second attack ads until you spend two weeks in the middle of a presidential campaign and don't see any. And what happened to those anonymous phone calls and scary color mail pieces? Maybe we're giving the Obama and Clinton campaigns too much credit. They really didn't have time to go negative since they only had a couple of weeks to campaign here. Whatever the reason, we liked what we saw and we hope we see more of it. Now, to the Election Day action.
There are about 533,000 registered New Mexico Dems eligible to vote in today's caucus. A 15% turnout would give us 80,000 voters and with the frenzy of activity here--visits by the candidates and their top surrogates--you gotta believe we will at least hit that number, if not surpass it. NM Dem Party Chairman Brian Colòn seemed to back away Monday from his earlier prediction that only 30,000 to 40,000 D's would turn out.
"Activity has been feverish," he told NM TV news dean Dick Knipfing on KRQE late Monday. Colòn remains skeptical that we will match the over 100,000 that showed up for the Prez caucus four years ago. The polls are open today from noon until 7 p.m. To find out where to vote, check here. If you need additional help call 1-800-624-2457.
One of our readers in state government reminds us:
"According to the State Personnel Office the attorney general decided that state workers are not allowed voting time for the Dem caucus" because it is a political party election, not a state election.
Thanks state worker. You mean Big Bill has not blocked access to the blog from state computers? We really need to say something nice about his beard.
THE GUV IS NO "GET"
The Guv told CNN Monday that he didn't think his beard looked all that great, but the comely anchorwoman quickly responded that she thought it fit the Big Fella just fine. The Guv did not say who he is voting for in today's Prez caucus. He was courted heavily by Clinton and Obama but in the end held out from an official announcement, although having ex-Prez Clinton watch the Super Bowl with him Sunday sent a loud message. Bill said he could still make an endorsement following Super Tuesday, but seemed somewhat disinterested in the process. And why not? He campaigned for the White House for a year and has to be smarting from the rejection. He seems to be in no mood to bargain for a big government job. That could change, but he may need a good stretch of R&R before his ambitions are rekindled.
NM turnout could be dampened by the big winter storm that slapped much of the north Monday. Snow is rooftop high in way-up-north Chama and you have to wonder how high a priority voting is as folks dig themselves out. The consensus among my experts is that the northern weather is good news for Obama since Clinton is thought to be strong in heavily Hispanic and snowstorm ravaged Rio Arriba county. However, they still see Clinton turning in wins tonight in the Northern congressional district as well as the southern district. The ABQ district, they say, remains Barack's best shot at a NM win. Nine of the 26 delegates that will be handed out tonight go to the statewide winner. Obama may struggle to take the outright win, but when the campaign started he was seen losing here by double digits. The conventional wisdom now has him getting into single digits, and an outright upset is not out of the realm of possibility.
THE FINAL PLEAS
Perhaps sensing some leakage in her Hispanic support since the Obama endorsement by Senator Ted Kennedy and his NM visit, or just working to close the deal, the Clinton campaign Monday put up a final TV spot featuring the son of Robert F. Kennedy and the grandson of United Farm Workers legend Cèsar Chavez. It had been running heavily in L.A. It may not resonate as much here, but it could be enough to stanch any bleeding that has developed for Hill in the state's largest ethnic voting bloc.
A surging Obama also closed positive with a spot that positioned him as the candidate of the future and put on the screen his endorsements by the ABQ Journal and Santa Fe New Mexican. But the knock-your-socks-off spot came Super Bowl Sunday when Obama hit all Super Tuesday states with this post-partisan ditty. Whether you're Democrat or Republican, the polls say you are very likely dead tired of the Iraq war and the general national malaise. This spot was aimed squarely at that weariness and the young people who Obama hopes will help him turn the next page of American history.
With as many young people excited about this year's Dem contenders, the Election Night parties should be fun. Here is the details on Obama's ABQ and Santa Fe election bashes. Hillary's camp will throw a party at Garduno's on the Green in NE ABQ starting at 8 p.m. Both campaigns will have the troops out today waving signs from street corners urging commuters to visit the polls. I remember back in 1980 when I was working for ABQ GOP Congressman Manuel Lujan and Bill Richardson used that sign-waving tactic. It had never been done before here and scared the hell out of us. Now it is part of Campaign 101.
We'll live blog Super Tuesday results tonight and also report for National Public Radio, so be sure to visit us again for the very latest.
The New Mexican's Kate Nash said recently that this was one of the slowest legislative sessions in her memory. Observers say look for the pace to pick up, but not necessarily the production. ABQ Dem State Senator Dede Feldman, one of the leading advocates for health care reform, has not thrown in the towel on getting a bill out of this thirty day session, but she did issue a warning on her blog:
"This kind of gridlock may be typical for this stage of any session, and I remain optimistic on that count, but I wouldn't be too surprised to start hearing calls for a special session from the fourth floor this week."
The Governor calling a special session to win a major health care overhaul in a year when all 112 members of the Legislature are up for election? Isn't that like expecting the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series?
ODDS AND ENDS
Who is the guy from SW NM seeking the 2010 Dem nomination for Guv? We said Monday Diane Denish was unopposed, but I recall another candidate but their name evades me. Also, Di's camp thought our Monday blog implied she did not support limits on campaign expenditures. She does. And syndicated columnist Jay Miller wonders if ABQ politico Ted Martinez who went to the President Clinton rally with former NM Guv Dave Cargo isn't a Republican. We said he is a Dem. If you can help, pass it along to us or Jay who is covering his umpteenth legislative session. Also, we neglected to credit Las Cruces reporter Heath Haussamen for the info we passed on over the weekend about a prez poll conducted by a NMSU class.
Here is a pic sent in by newly minted ABQ Dem congressional candidate Jessica Wolfe. Contrary to what we implied last week, 28 year old Jessica does have political experience. The ABQ Tribune's Phil Casaus reports Jessica was chosen as prom queen at La Cueva High School. We can hear her Dem rivals, Rebecca Vigil-Giron and Michelle Lujan Grisham, purring in the background: "Isn't that special?" Welcome aboard, Jessica. The school of La Politica is in session.
E-mail your news and comments, and join us again later today for Super Tuesday coverage
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2008
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