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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pearce Readies First TV Ads; One Will Hit Udall, Plus: Latest On Special Session, And: We're Still Following The Money & Bloggin' It for You 

The free ride for Tom Udall will end in about two weeks. That's when insiders report that Republican Steve Pearce will launch his first wave of TV ads. Udall has been on the air since the June 3rd primary ended, maintaining a healthy lead in the polls as Pearce, challenged financially, stayed dark. Pearce supporters have been growing increasingly anxious that he has not been competing with Udall. Now, Pearce is ready to go:

"Pearce spent the weekend in ABQ cutting TV spots that will start airing in around two weeks. One of the ads is a negative hit on Udall. It criticizes him for not being more supportive of domestic oil drilling," said our Alligator.


Pearce only had about $530,000 in cash at the end of June, compared to Udall's $2.88 million. A decent TV buy in the ABQ market costs about $125,000 a week. Then there's the money needed for El Paso which covers the Las Cruces market.

Pearce is independently wealthy and could write a check to his campaign. His supporters are hoping third party groups will be generous in cutting TV ads and offering other campaign support.

SPECIAL DAYS

That special session of the NM Legislature could be a weekend affair, but that isn't likely. On Monday the Guv set Friday, August 15th as the start date for the special, giving rise to speculation that lawmakers could get their work done by Sunday night if they opt to work the weekend, but House Speaker Lujan told the Journal he is hoping the session is over in seven to 10 days. That seems like a long time. The national Dem convention starts Monday, August 25 and Bill is slated to attend. There is also the hotel issue. The special could collide with the Aug. 23 Indian Market, a busy tourist weekend.

The Guv's health care-plan ran into a buzz saw, but he has now signaled he will accept a "framework" for universal coverage that could be used in the regular January session. If so, that removes a serious roadblock to speeding up the special.

The taxpayer rebate checks the Guv wants as well as extra road money should not be a problem. So with the special costing taxpayers over $45,000 a day why not get it all done quickly?

COUNTERPSPIN

Big Bill has had the megaphone on why we need a special, so let's hear from the other side as found in the e-mail from this Santa Fe wall-leaner.

"Joe, the session is becoming a laundry list of issues that make a special session look like a regular session. Remember, special sessions cost money to operate...the Gov. obviously is staging the special session to be his encore in the event he hightails it out of New Mexico come January.

This guy is stuck in neutral on his RailRunner, and his CARE proposal that he will use as a bragging measure for Obama's consideration for a cabinet position. This governor continues to plan and implement by the seat of his pants...

SETTING THE BAR

Big Bill set expectations for the Obama NM campaign Monday, predicting that the Illinois Senator will carry the state, but only by a narrow margin over John McCain. Bill's track record for predictions will not get him in the Nostradamus club, but we empathize, having given up the pastime ourselves after years of wayward guesses.

With New Mexico experiencing cliffhanger prez elections in 2000 and 2004, the Guv's prediction of a narrow win could apply to either prez candidate.

HEATHER'S CASH


We wondered aloud Monday whether ABQ GOP US Congresswoman Heather Wilson had any significant money left over from her unsuccessful run for the GOP US Senate nomination. Apparently not. The AP's Barry Massey reports Wilson's latest FEC reports shows her with $219,000 in cash as of June 30. But she can't spend that money and is actually about $25,000 in debt which she is asking for help in retiring. Here is an excerpt from a fund-raising letter Wilson recently sent out and made available to your blog:

"We actually raised over $420,000 toward my general election. But under...federal laws I must return those funds to the people who gave them...and I cannot use them to close down the campaign...I'm asking you to dig into your pockets to help me raise the last $25,000 I need.

That will end speculation that Wilson would take a big cash kitty with her when she retires from the Congress in January.

We also mentioned Monday the $58,000 that Dem northern congressional candidate Benny Shendo had in his campaign account at the end of the race. But we need to take a look at his next report to see if that amount stays up there, or whether Shendo has unpaid debt that will shrink the account. Ben Ray Lujan won the northern Dem race.

HEATHER AND THE NIPPLE

It was back in February 2004 when we blogged of Heather Wilson's outrage over Janet Jackson showing her nipple at the Super Bowl half-time show. She dressed down the head of CBS for the incident which you can see here. But Monday a federal appeals court threw out the FCC's $550,000 fine of CBS for Janet's wardrobe malfunction. The court said that the FCC "acted arbitrarily and capriciously" in issuing the fine for the fleeting image of nudity, which it noted lasted just over half a second. Around here, it may be Heather's over-the-top reaction that will be more remembered than Janet's nipple.

JIMENEZ FUTURE

The Guv's office knocked down our post-Fourth of July report that Big Bill chief of staff would soon be leaving his post to be replaced by Deputy Chief of Staff Brian Condit. But a Senior Alligator is back and insisting that we got it right. In fact, he even has a date for James Jimenez's departure:


"James Jimenez will be hired by the City of Rio Rancho on August 6th as the City Manger." Says the Senior Gator.


This comes from a source with a 99.0% accuracy record, so we are really intrigued and staying tuned. By the way, if Condit does take the chief's job, insiders say he has some repair work to be done with a number of state legislators who have not been enamored with his style. And no, if Bill leaves and Diane Denish becomes Guv, Condit will not be her chief of staff.

DATELINE ESPANOLA

It's not a slow summer for the Rio Grande Sun, the feisty and well-read Espanola weekly. The paper is reporting an interesting twist on the northern Public Regulation Commission race in which Jerome Block, Jr. ran into some controversy after capturing the Dem nomination. There is no Republican running, but the paper reports:


The Green Party candidate for the seat has gained the support of one Democratic Party ward chair, a Democratic state senator, and two former Democratic candidate advisors as he attempts to dig into the support of his Democratic opponent.
After qualifying for public financing, Rick Lass has $64,778 in his campaign bank for his run against Democratic nominee Jerome Block Jr., who qualified for public financing in the primary race.


The Sun also quotes insider as saying it is still unlikely that Lass will pull the upset because of the huge Dem registration advantage and the little attention voters give to the down-ballot contest.

YOU CAN SAY THAT WORD

Some voters are already telling us they are already tired of the presidential campaign. By the time it's over, they will be exhausted. McCain, whose campaign will announce a veterans group in Las Cruces today, is out with his latest TV spot for swing states, including ours. The ad actually uses the word "drilling" as it urges more of that to solve the gas crisis. Some politicos have been shying away from using the word, preferring to say 'increase domestic production."

The polls must show even more support for drilling. I do think I spotted an oil derrick at Central and San Mateo in ABQ the other day.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2008
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