Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Week To Go: Across The State Blog Coverage; Prez Visits For White; Senate TV Debate Tonite; Tinsley & Newman On Move In South; Roswell Still Rockin' 

White & Bush
If he was floating in a sea of campaign cash, ABQ GOP congressional contender Darren White might put up some TV ads for the final week of Primary '08, but favored as he is with high name ID and under-financed opposition from ABQ State Senator Joe Carraro, the Bernalillo County sheriff has opted to be the only major NM Congress hopeful to stay dark. He reported $383,000 in cash, an ample but not overwhelming number. Now most of that money will be spent on the general election. Today President Bush will give White a free-media boost with Republicans as he appears at a Los Ranchos noontime fund-raising reception. The White campaign hopes to pick up $300,000. But money is proving to be much tighter for the R's whose popularity this cycle is as low as a worm's belly. For White, the option of saving cash for the main event is one he probably could afford to take.

GOP US Senate candidate Heather Wilson probably isn't too happy that White will not be on the airwaves, perhaps boosting turnout in the R primary in Bernalillo County. The ABQ congresswoman's only hope of staving off rival Steve Pearce is a large landslide here. Having a popular R like White on the air urging votes for him could translate into votes for her. But while Wilson and White were joined at the hip at the March GOP pre-primary nominating convention, that now seems long ago and far away.

For White, today is all about taking the money and running. By having Bush here days before the primary, donors can be hit for a $2300 contribution for the primary as well as another $2300 for the November contest. Don't look for Bush, sporting historically low approval ratings to make another appearance in ABQ before his presidency ends, although the pros won't rule out a visit to southern NM where Bush's support is not yet the kiss of death. Dems will do their best today to keep Bush and White on the defensive, organizing a protest of the visit.


Tonight may be the last best chance for Heather Wilson to make up lost ground on Steve Pearce. Behind and scrambling, the ABQ congresswoman will debate the southern NM US Rep at 9 p.m. tonight on KOAT-TV. If she can force Pearce to drop the ball, she will also get good play in the next day's ABQ Journal which is cosponsoring the one hour event. But Pearce, who made an error or two in the early going and had a poor performance in the Los Alamos debate, has since proven more disciplined, holding Heather to a draw in a recent Roswell square-off. Look for him to eat the clock and hang tough.


There is another Senate debate slated for Friday night at 7 p.m. which is sponsored by the NM Broadcasters Association and will run on several TV stations, including KOB, KRQE and KNME. It will also be simulcast on a number of radio stations. However, it may come too late to have dramatic impact. Friday night debate watching is not a prime NM pastime, and most voters will have voted or have their minds made up. Still, a giant mistake might have the campaigns trying to produce a last-minute TV spot that they could try to get on air by Sunday night. Rather than such dramatics, we expect both contenders to avoid the big error.


Wilson is trying to stir things up by accusing Pearce of threatening widows and orphans with cuts in the Social Security program. The emotional charge is screaming across the airwaves and into the mailboxes as Wilson tries to make up what campaign polling is showing to be a healthy Pearce lead statewide. Nothing scares the seniors like the thought of their check not coming, so Pearce, as insiders anticipated, responded to Wilson's charge with a new spot of his own.

"After ten years in office all Heather Wilson can do is try to tear me down with false ads, desperate attacks and a negative campaign. She even accused me of wanting to take Social Security away from widows and orphans. We can do better and we deserve better...I've always protected Social Security and I always will...


How frustrated is Heather Wilson that country bumpkin Pearce is setting up to end her political career next Tuesday night? Pretty upset. She actually called the three term congressman "stupid" for an amendment he sponsored recently in the US House. You gotta hand it to Pearce for putting up with that crap. Most foes would be throwing Heather's Oxford school books at her and telling her to head back to New Hampshire. But when you're headed for a win, the skin tends to get very thick indeed.

Obama in Cruces
It's a deluge of local and national politics. Obama and McCain were in the state on Memorial Day. Here's the recap of the McCain ABQ visit, video of the Arizona senator and our analysis for KRQE-TV of the NM Prez campaign. He drew about 1,000. And here's a complete report plus video of Obama's Las Cruces visit before an invited audience of 200.

Michelle Obama is in ABQ and Santa Fe today for two fund-raisers, but the presidential campaigns will have to forgive us for not getting overly excited. Right now, we have bigger fish to fry in this historic New Mexico election year.


No TV debate for the Northern Dem congressional candidates, but KNME-TV did finally get an interview with each of the candidates. You can see them here.

Benny Shendo, who has been such a thorn in the side of Ben Ray Lujan is the only Native American candidate seeking the northern Dem US House nod, but Lujan is getting his share of Indian support. Pojoaque Pueblo endorsed Lujan saying. "He's worked hard his whole life, and we're proud of his accomplishments."

The ABQ Journal poll released Sunday showed Lujan with a six point lead over Don Wiviott. Campaign polling is confirming that lead.

Ed Tinsley
Ed Tinsley appears to be making steady gains in the crowded and competitive race for the GOP nomination for the southern NM congressional seat, with Aubrey Dunn receding and former Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman on the rise. That's the word we are getting from campaign polling and Alligator analysis. Tinsley is now nuking both Dunn and Newman on ABQ TV--a move insiders said they expected because Tinsley's mail attacks did not seem enough to get the job done. Tinsley slams Dunn for only being a Republican "for seven months" and says Newman raised "taxes and fees" 19 times as mayor, even though many of those fee increases are normal for any city.

Rancher Dunn put up hard-hitting negative TV on Tinsley and Newman but has not put himself on camera, unlike Tinsley and Newman. Dunn is now up with a spot aimed solely at polling frontrunner Tinsley. Newman is getting nearly $1 million in independent support from the National Association of Realtors, but it is Newman's own campaign spot emphasizing family values that appears to be moving him, say the insiders. Is that Monty in a church pew? Indeed he is, says his campaign.

Newman's problem is time. He may not have started soon enough to overtake Tinsley. Dunn's media is not keeping him in the game and there are very few innings left. If the election were held today it would likely be Ed's. But it's not being held today.


Blog reader Diane Albert gives us her take on the 3rd CD contest:

Don Wiviott's money and Lujan's daddy (NM House Speaker Ben Lujan) have diverted attention away from a candidate who has tons of experience as a public servant; who is highly educated and intelligent; who has the temperament to work with both D's and R's, and who has deep roots in NM. It is a shame that Harry Montoya has not been able to raise the money needed to get the word out about his stellar accomplishments...


We're heavy on the Roswell beat this primary because of the first-ever GOP challenge to State Senator "Lightning" Rod Adair and another stiff challenge to House minority whip Dan Foley. Today we've posted (click on images) some of the gloves-off literature making the rounds in Chaves, Lincoln and Otero counties. The hit piece on Adair comes from his foe, former two term Chaves County Commissioner Rory McMinn. The other piece comes from Foley who is using the support of the Chaves County GOP chairman to fend off retired FBI agent Dennis Kintigh who has mounted the fiercest-ever challenge to Foley.

The controversial Republican lawmakers and their races were profiled over the weekend in a front-pager in the ABQ Journal. If either of them should lose, it could be the beginning of a remake of the strife-torn GOP in SE NM and would also have impact on the direction of the state GOP. Roswell oilman Mark Murphy has been among those leading the charge for reformers McMinn and Kintigh, helping financially. The Roswell Daily Record has also endorsed the pair. Murphy has been subjected to emotional and personal attacks for his stand, but has stood his ground as these races reach a fever pitch in their final days,.


Michael Padilla, challenging ABQ Dem State Senator Linda Lopez, boasted to us of his endorsement from the NEA-NM teachers union. And now so is Linda. It turns out both candidates have been endorsed by the NEA-NM. A spokesman for the group tells us a vote by Lopez in favor of a tuition tax credit for private schools raised their eyebrows, but in the end they chose to endorse both her and Padilla because of their overall support for education. Meanwhile, Lopez won the endorsement of the main ABQ teachers union--the American Federation of Teachers. Padilla notes that he picked up the backing of the Firefighters Union #244, representing Bernalillo County and City of Albuquerque firefighters.

This endorsement back and forth stuff just won't quit. Let's move on....


Please join us for our 20th year of election coverage on KANW 89.1 FM Monday, June 2 when we'll have a live, one hour pre-game show at 5 p.m. Our guest experts will run down the key races and make some fun predictions. On Election Night join me and top NM lobbyist Scott Scanland as we bring you wall-to-wall election coverage as has been our tradition these many years. GOP State Rep. Larry Larranaga, Dem State Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, former Dem party chairman John Wertheim, former Bernalillo County Commissioner Lenton Malry and Dem strategist Heather Brewer will be on hand to offer insight. We'll also have exclusive early results from selected precincts so we can give you the early heads-up on the big races,

Election Night coverage is made possible on KANW by grants from Ladera Golf, Serrano and Sons--Construction and Bill Campbell Agency--Realtors.

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