Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Udall Goes AWOL, But R's Drag Him In; Looking For Fire In His Belly, Plus: Heinrich's Mail Pitch; Foley Blogs In, And: Bill Raises Cash For Barack 

Tom Udall is expected to hit the TV airwaves any day now and for antsy Democrats it won't be a day too soon. The soon-to-be NM Dem US Senate nominee has been getting the snot nuked out of him for several days in statewide TV ads being run by the campaign of GOP Senate contender Steve Pearce. Udall has nothing up anywhere to counter the Pearce onslaught. Pearce's principal target is his Senate foe Heather Wilson who Pearce says shares “liberal values” and "liberal votes” with Udall, whose photo is prominently displayed along with one of Heather.

What makes some Dems especially restless is that Udall has well over a million bucks in the bank and has spent little of it to build up his positives during the primary in which he is unopposed. No mail. No radio. Some TV to come. His Web site remains bare-boned. The worriers argue it's not like he will need the money. The fall Senate race will attract millions from around the nation.

Pearce has been relentless in pursuing the Senate seat, and the snickering heard about him being to the right of Atilla the Hun and absolutely unelectable is still heard, but it is now shared with long-standing concerns about whether Udall has the requisite "fire in the belly" to carry the Dem banner.

Udall was out with a missive Monday night criticizing a "push poll" he said was being conducted against him. He asked for money to respond to the push polling. But think about it. It could have been Tom Udall push polling the Republicans and putting them on the defensive. It could have been Tom Udall already up on the TV screens defining the Senate race of 2008. And since when did push-polling become a mortal sin in these anything goes campaigns?

Dems know for sure they have the Senate race won on the issues, but they don't have it won yet on leadership ability, character, passion and who will fight hardest for this small southwestern state that is losing so much seniority on Capitol Hill. It is on those grounds that the outnumbered R's will try to have this fight fought.

Welcome to the campaign, Tom. Vacation is over.


Dem congressional hopeful Martin Heinrich. like Udall, has has also been taking heat for running an overly cautious and heavily consulted campaign that has done little to position him for the fall battle in which he would enter as a decided underdog against Republican Darren White. But Heinrich moved to address those concerns in the past week by putting in voters' mailboxes a couple of pieces of literature. One of them says Heinrich "didn't have to learn middle-class values, he was raised with them." The piece points out he is the son of an IBEW lineman and a factory worker.

The chardonnay sippers and the Volvo drivers with the Obama stickers are already money in the bank for Heinrich. Reagan Democrats, Hispanic veterans and homemakers and other working class voters have been voiceless in this congressional campaign. Heinrich's lit pieces begin the process of bringing them home and framing this race on economic issues. The former city councilor also got a pop over the weekend when he secured the endorsement of the ABQ Journal. (Republican Darren White also got the paper's nod.)

The ex city-councilor's financial inability to go up and stay up on television for at least a month means if he wins the nomination he will enter the general with less muscle than he could have. Heinrich raised over $700,000. A decent TV buy can be had for $100,000 a week. If there was a missed opportunity, that was it.


You hang around this blog long enough and you're going to hear from everyone. And we mean everyone. Take, for example, this e-mail from Roswell State Rep. Dan Foley who we blogged Monday is in an exciting race for the GOP nomination for his House seat.

...After reading of my demise on your blog I thought I would help you gain some credibility. I mean these same people who are telling you I am “done” are also the same folks who told you Mike Kakuska was going to beat Nora Espinoza???? I guess the fact that I am endorsed by the NRA and the Right to Life organization has no bearing in my election? I am enclosing a letter that was e-mailed this weekend. I thought you might like to see it before you count me out yet!

Welcome aboard, Dan. It's a bumpy ride around here, but we think you'll like it. First, we did not predict your "demise." We said you are in the fight of your life, which you are. Retired FBI agent Dennis Kintigh is playing to win. As for that 2006 Roswell State House GOP primary featuring Kakuska and Espinoza, you are right about the outcome. Espinoza won, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a good race.

As for your endorsements, if readers click on the image posted next to this story, they will see your mailer about them in all their glory. Now, back to the campaign trail with you and Kintigh. The masses demand their entertainment.


Is the negative mail Ed Tinsley has launched against GOP southern NM congressional rival Aubrey Dunn enough? That's the question after Tinsley hit the mailboxes with the hit piece pictured here. (Click on it for a full image.) Restaurant chain owner Tinsley cites Dunn's opposition to the Patriot Act and his recent switch from the Democratic to the Republican Party. But will it be enough to thwart rancher Dunn in the conservative SE counties where he has staked his claim and hoes for a victory? Maybe.

Tinsley wants to keep the negative as low-key as possible so former Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman, recipient of over $600,000 in largesse from the National Association of Realtors, doesn't run up the middle while Dunn and Tinsley hammer each other. But if the numbers don't move off the mailboxes, Tinsley will have to take it to the tube with all the uncertainty that entails. Dunn was in the mail Monday, but it wa s a positive piece aimed at seniors, but he will have to respond to Tinsley's negative before long.


Hold on to your wallets wall-leaners, lobbyists and everyone else who has ever given a dime to a Democrat. Big Bill is back in action. He is hosting a fund-raiser for Barack Obama tomorrow night at the Gerald Peters gallery in Santa Fe, or so we are told. Tickets are relatively low-priced compared to Big Bill's parties. One insider says they are going for as low as $100 a piece. The same insider says Bill hopes to help raise $100,000 for Obama at the Wednesday night party.


If Eric Griego hasn't got the attention yet of Dem State Senator James Taylor, he's got it now. The former ABQ city councilor said Monday night he has raised over $59,000 in his bid to take the Dem nomination away from the veteran lawmaker. Griego says he raised contributions from 445 donors--the majority of whom gave $50 or less.

Our finance report shows we're running a grassroots campaign that has generated widespread, local support. My donors are people in our community who believe we need to change the way things are done in Santa Fe."

Taylor's campaign told me last week their fund-raising was "going well." Taylor has been endorsed by Big Bill whose campaign committee gave him $5,000. Here are the other legislators the Guv gave to. Finance reports on all the legislative campaigns were due in Santa Fe Monday.


The ABQ Journal (thanks to intrepid reporter Bruce Daniels) has now posted Senator Domenici's Friday night statement in which he announced he will not endorse a candidate in the GOP US Senate primary. We noted that it had only been in the Saturday print editions. Read all about it.

I'm Joe Monahan, reporting to you from Albuquerque, NM. E-mail your news from the campaign trail and elsewhere.

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