Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pete To Come For Pearce; Why That Matters, Plus: Teague Moves To End Debate Over Debates, And: Top Picks From The Reader Mailbag 

While GOP US Senator Pete Domenici's endorsement of Steve Pearce for the Senate seat that he will vacate at year's end was as expected as the summer monsoons, the timing is worth noting. Pete will come for Steve at a Thursday morning news conference. Unlike the GOP Senate primary when Pete issued a last minute endorsement for Heather Wilson, who ended up losing to Pearce, Pete is coming early enough for Pearce to actually help him. Not that Domenici's endorsement is going to persuade many voters to join the Pearce bandwagon, but if he agrees to make himself available, Domenici could be very useful in raising badly needed campaign funds for Pearce and also at healing the rift between the top players in the Pearce and Wilson camps.

Pete damaged Pearce's image by giving that last-minute Heather endorsement and he may have also hurt his own legacy by picking the loser. If Pearce can somehow pull off a US Senate upset, Domenici backers will spin that he picked the winner while headed out the door.

And it isn't taking long for Pearce to take financial advantage of Domenici's forthcoming endorsement. Immediately after giving Pearce the nod Thursday morning, Domenici will host a $500 a person "private luncheon" for the southern NM congressman at Tanoan Country Club. A variety of GOP heavyweights are joining Pete. You can see who by clicking on the image.


If Tom Udall can hold down Steve Pearce's anticipated margin of victory in the southern congressional district, the Dem will be that much closer to taking the US Senate prize. He's been spending a lot of time there and is headed back this week.

Today Udall kicks off a swing through the 2nd congressional district at Sunland Park. Next week, Udall will work the ABQ area with a couple of side trips to Cruces and the east side.

By the way, Udall is responding to Pearce's TV hit over his energy polices on the radio. We heard a spot paid for by Udall on KKOB-AM radio Monday. We have not heard of any negative TV from Udall to counter Pearce, but we will keep posted.


Has southern Dem congressional candidate Harry Teague taken the debate issue off the table once and for all? It appears he may have as Teague announced he will take part in three televised "debates" against his GOP rival Ed Tinsley. The first one will be this Friday in Portales at the NM Municipal League meeting and will be broadcast on public TV station KENW. It is not a prime time event, however. It will start at 8 in the morning and also be broadcast on the KNME-TV Web site in ABQ. Also, Tinsley's campaign says this is not really a debate but a "joint appearance" at which the candidates will not be allowed to ask each other questions. Teague also is confirmed for a KOAT debate on October 19th and for one on KRWG-TV, the public station in Las Cruces, on October 9th. The Tinsley campaign says only the KOAT debate is confirmed.

Tinsley has been focusing on debates, pressuring Teague for a multitude of them both televised and non-televised. Consultants say he is doing so because, among other things, he thinks he comes across better than Teague, a Hobbs oilman. But Teague may have little to fear if he does his homework and doesn't worry about trying to act like someone he isn't. Southern New Mexicans are not adverse to homegrown candidates, just ill-informed ones.

Perhaps sensing the debate issue has played itself out, Tinsley took a new tack to kick off his campaign week. He scored Teague for not supporting oil drilling on Otero Mesa, a southern New Mexican desert area that environmentalists want protected. Tinsley repeated his support for drilling on Otero Mesa where the Yates family, big Republican contributors, have a major stake. He also said Teague has not taken a position on drilling in ANWR, but Teague appeared to support such drilling in this May Las Cruces Sun-News interview.

"I don't think we have to drill everywhere. But I guess I don't know what the problem would be (to drill in ANWR). I do think we need to be energy independent." Teague said.

Tinsley also came with a three minute video on energy policy, showcasing his ease in front of the camera and trying to shift the debate to a policy issue in which the R's have an advantage.

None of the congressional candidates in New Mexico are on the TV airwaves yet because they have not raised big money.


Those controversial political nonprofits (see Monday's blog) were getting attention again Monday from Attorney General Gary King, but he was trying to lower the temperature as he works with the secretary of state to get her to classify the nonprofits as political action committees,. That means they would have to fully disclose the source of their contributions. We talked here of King eventually going to court if the status of the nonprofits in question is not changed, but an AG spokesman said a lawsuit is not on the frontburner; they are hoping the ongoing talks with the SOS lead to a resolution. Stay tuned.


Mike Parks opines that, contrary to our contention, debating skills are not essential to being a successful US Senator: "The life of a US Senator revolves around debate." Come on!! It certainly involves crafted sound bites and talking points, but actual, public debate has little to do with legislative power and effectiveness. You certainly know better."

Ellen Wedum comments on the fact that a nonprofit is mailing hit mailers into the state Senate district of Lidio Rainaldi in western NM: "If these folks are going after Lidio Rainaldi, they are wasting their money. He isn't running for re-election. The candidates in Senate District 4 are George K. Munoz (D) and Beatrice L. Woodward (R).

The nonprofits that have come under the scrutiny of Attorney General King say they do not mail solely into districts where there is a contested legislative primary.

We've been having fun with Steve Pearce's hippies--the ones he used in his full page ABQ Journal ad to mock his Dem US Senate rival Tom Udall. A reader pointed out that the hippie photo Steve used appeared to be taken from an album promoting 1960's rock, but this anonymous e-mailer weighs in:

"Dude, Regarding the readers that say those hippies were stolen from an album. Well, dude maybe the album hippie came from somewhere else? Check here. As shocking as it may be, not every person who sends you an e-mail has a clue. Good luck. Keep having fun with the blog.

Hey Dude, you are too tough on our e-mailers. After all, they beat you to the punch on the hippies.


ABQ Dem State Rep. Al Park's mid-Heights legislative district used to be a swing area, sending both D's and R's to Santa Fe, but not so lately. The R's are giving it another whirl this year, putting up a man with the most interesting name in state politics--Rhead A. Story. He'll have a $25 a pop fund-raiser tonight in ABQ. Rhead probably knows the story on Al. Park packed away a bunch of money when he sought the Dem nod for state attorney general in 2006, but left that race early and has since become chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

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