Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Teague Moves to Close Deal; Comes With Almost Half-Million, Plus: Bingaman Gets Clinton Fatigue, And: More On The Ballot Name Game 

$120 bucks a barrel is starting to talk. Hobbs oilman Harry Teague gave a big shout-out Monday as he dumped $475,000 of his own cash into his primary campaign for the Dem nomination for the southern congressional seat, bringing his total personal contributions to near $700,000. The cash dump sets Teague on course to close out the race against Dona Ana County Commissioner Bill McCamley who had $235,000 in cash at the end of March, but not the personal resources or fund-raising ability to counter Teague. By going over $350,000 in personal money, Teague triggers the Millionaires Amendment which allows McCamley to take donations of up to $6900 instead of $2300, but good luck getting them.

Teague, a former Lea County commissioner, has been on TV three weeks, but like McCamley, who is a Dona Ana County commissioner, he started the race with little name ID. If he spends the nearly half-million fresh dollars he is putting up, his name ID will not only be formidable for the primary, but if he secures the nomination, it could make a difference in his match-up with the Republican nominee in the fall.


Speaking of the Republicans, one of their candidates for the Southern CD nod, Monty Newman, may be getting some third-party support from the National Association of Realtors. Newman's campaign says he welcomes their endorsement, but can't confirm reports that the D.C. based group could come with as much as a couple hundred thousand dollars of TV ads for the former Hobbs mayor. We'll see.


While Teague is moving to dry up support (and hope) for McCamley, wealthy restaurant owner Ed Tinsley, supported for the GOP Southern CD nod by the national and much of the local GOP establishment, has held off on a similar big move. Is he being too cautious? If he is positioning himself for a narrow win in the GOP primary, maybe not. But if he is looking ahead to the general election, he could find himself starting off well behind Teague who, if he wins the nomination, could represent the Dems best hope for this district since the 1970's.


Jeff Bingaman has contracted Clinton fatigue, a key factor, insiders say, in his decision Monday to throw his support to Barack Obama and not Hillary. "He has grown weary of the direction of the Clinton campaign and is concerned what direction a Clinton presidency would take the country," related a source familiar with the Senator's thinking.

Bingaman joins Big Bill in endorsing Obama. The other unpledged NM superdelegate to the August nominating convention, US Rep. Tom Udall, is also expected to go for Obama.

Bingaman is an unabashed liberal and his endorsement of Obama is not surprising on that level. But some observers noted the close relationship Bingaman's wife, attorney Anne Bingaman, has had with the Clintons. President Clinton named her head of the Justice Department's anti-trust division in his first term. Anne first met Hillary when they were both working with the Children's Defense Fund. Whatever the status of their relationship today, it wasn't enough to keep Jeff on the sidelines until the conclusion of the primary season.

(This 1993 New York Times profile of Anne Bingaman is still an interesting read today.)

Politically, Bingaman may be of best use to Obama in the conservative rural areas of the state where Hillary dominated the NM Prez caucus and which helped her score a narrow win. Bingaman has demonstrated small-town appeal. Some Dems fear Obama could end up losing NM to McCain the same way he lost to Hillary--he scores landslides in Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties, but gets kicked hard almost everywhere else. If Bingaman can turn his endorsement of Obama into something other than a one day news release, all the better for the Illinois Senator.


Alligators monitoring the weekend Democratic Party Central Committee meeting come with an amusing tale. They say when it came time for the NM delegates selected to attend the August national convention to pick a chairman, they picked NM Dem Party Chair Brian Colon by just one vote. ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez ran aginst Colon, but Chavez left the meeting before the vote to fly to LA to pick up an award being presented to the city. If he had stayed to vote, he might be leading the NM delegation to Denver. Chavez will go to the convention as a superdelegate supporting Hillary. This has been a tough political year for the mayor. He withdrew from races for both governor and US senator and now this.


GOP US Senate candidate Steve Pearce made official what sources were telling us last week. The union for ABQ cops--APOA--came with an endorsement of the Southern NM congressman Monday. ABQ is the key to the Senate battle. If Pearce can hold down the winning totals of rival Heather Wilson here, his strength in the south and north could be enough to hand him the nod.

Meantime, Heather wasn't letting Steve go unanswered. She announced that Colorado GOP US Senator Wayne Allard is backing her bid, citing her electability over Dem Tom Udall.


ABQ Metro Court Judge Frank Sedillo, citing "a variety of family and personal reasons," announced Monday he will not seek nomination to a district court seat and is urging fellow Democrats to support Elizabeth Whitefield, the family court judge he was challenging. There is a little problem, however. Sedillo's withdrawal comes too late to remove his name from the ballot, although one supposes word will get around that he is backing Judge Whitefield. Sedillo made his withdrawal official in a letter to the Secretary of State. There is no Republican running, so once Whitefield wins June 3 she will be on her way to a six year term.


In the know blog readers were taken aback by the ruling of ABQ District Court Judge Geraldine Rivera that allowed Dem Congress candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham to be listed on the June ballot under that full name, instead of the name recorded on her registration--Michelle L. Grisham. We're told the judge ruled that Grisham signed her certificate of registration using her full name and that was good enough. The first e-mail details the law:

I read your entry re: Grisham ballot name and wonder how that decision could have been made.

NMSA Section 1-10-6. ...
In the preparation of ballots: A. The candidate's name shall be printed on the ballot as it appears on the candidate's certificate of registration that is on file in the county clerk's office on the day the governor issues the proclamation for the primary election....

Now this from a NM election official:

...that name is the way the candidate prints it at the top of the registration. That is the way it is entered into the voter file and the way it goes into the roster at the polling place. That is the person's name for candidacy and voting. If we started using signatures, you could never be sure you had it right because handwritten signatures are not that clear. I think someone was grasping with this interpretation.

No one is yet challenging Rivera's ruling, but it would be nice to have some clarification for future elections.

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