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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Obama & D's Set $1.5 Million Goal For Most Expensive State Fund-Raiser Ever, Plus: Heinrich & White Point Fingers, And: Kari & Lisa DA Race 

In what will be the most expensive political fundraiser in state history--up to $28,500 per person--the Obama presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee aim to collect $1.5 million from a Thursday ABQ fundraiser. And, a Senior Alligator also reports that $1.2 million has already been committed. Such a single day sum is small potatoes in states like California or New York, but it's a startling amount in a state of only two million souls. It is a testament to the fund-raising skills of Governor Richardson--the lead host of the Thursday reception at the home of Downs at ABQ racetrack and casino owner Paul Blanchard--as well as the allure of the Obama candidacy.

"Many of those committed to giving are not recognizable names in political circles. They are new names," informed our Senior Gator.

The Illinois Senator will attend the fund-raiser and pose for photos after conducting a 12:30 p.m. rally in Española designed to attract Hispanic support.

As we blogged recently, the cheap seats for the ABQ North Valley reception go for $2500. A host for the reception, which includes a photo with Barack, is asked to donate $28,500 or raise a total of $50,000. Most of the money will go to the DNC which the FEC allows to take much more in individual donations than the prez candidates who can only take individual donations of $2300 per election. The DNC will use the money to promote the Obama candidacy.

Governor Richardson is often mentioned as a potential cabinet member or ambassador in an Obama administration. We haven't determined yet whether he is donating $28,500 or a lesser amount, but you know he is putting the arm on everyone he knows. Big Bill said in February 2007 that a fund-raiser for his presidential campaign raised $2 million in one night. If so, that was the biggest single-day NM fund-raiser ever. If Obama's event, the most expensive ever, collects the $1.5 targeted, it will be right behind it. Not bad for an afternoon's work.

WHAT HARD TIMES?

Obama criticized McCain this week for saying the fundamentals of the economy are good even as Wall street grappled with a financial meltdown. However, the economy that impacts Obama looks more than solid as he raked in over $66 million in donations in August. What makes his NM amount all the more impressive is the constant carping from lobbyists and big money givers about how they are tapped out and tired of getting hit on for cash. For the first time in history the state has three open congressional seats as well as an open US Senate seat on the ballot. When it comes to raising money, Big Bill and his co-hosts are showing sometimes you can squeeze water from a stone.

THE INVITE

Here is the complete wording of the invite for the historic ABQ Obama reception:

Governor Bill Richardson and hosts Kandace & Paul Blanchard, Marty Cope, Anthony Correra, Lisa Enfield & Paul Bardacke, Governor Stuart Paisano, Ambassador Ed Romero (*host committee in formation) Cordially invite you to join Senator Barack Obama, Democratic Nominee for President, for a Reception Benefiting The Obama Victory Fund

Thursday, September 18, 2008 Reception– 3:30 PM Host Reception*– 5:00 PM (*Host Reception includes a photo) At the Home of Kandace & Paul Blanchard Albuquerque, NM

Host Reception: contribute $28,500 per person* or raise $50,000 per person; Reception: $2,500 per person *Individuals who contribute $28,500 will be granted admission to the Caroline Kennedy Debate Watch on September 26, 2008 at Debbie Fleischaker’s home.

Speaking of the Caroline visit, Fleischaker says tickets for that event are now going for $1,000, not the original $2300. Debbie says that makes the event more accessible. Well, maybe if you live in Santa Fe.

HISPANIC FACTOR LOOMS

We've covered it extensively, now here's another take from the AP's Barry Massey on the all-important Northern Hispanic factor in the NM Prez race. The salient point is that Obama can't have just 60% of registered voters in Rio Arriba County come to the polls as they did when Kerry lost the state four years ago. The Dems need to bump that number closer to a 70% turnout. The work for Obama starts in Española Thursday.

TOSS-UP

Some of the Obamaites have a fit when NM is not ranked a "lean Obama" state. Who cares? The point is that their man has not locked down the state and neither has McCain. Real Clear Politics is the arbiter used by many observers and it has the state ranked as a toss-up. Actually, the burden is not on those who rank this a toss-up state, but on the Dems and the Obamaites. How can this state not be a foregone conclusion for Obama when it is supposed to be a a big Democratic year and this is a state where 50% of registered voters are Dems? How come?

WHITE-HEINRICH POINT FINGERS

Well, we've wanted some compare and contrast between the two ABQ congressional candidates, but we need to be careful what we wish for. Rather than jousting on the issues of the day, the two camps are sparring over alleged ethical violations. We'll let the respective camps make their cases in their own words. First, from the state GOP on behalf of Darren White:

Heinrich is once again refusing to release his business records and directly answer questions regarding his career as a lobbyist. The Republican Party believes it is clear that Heinrich broke state and federal laws by failing to register as a lobbyist. Heinrich has repeatedly refused to release his gross receipts tax records, or release his client list...Voters deserve to know what special interest groups paid Heinrich and what issues he lobbied for before Congress and the State Legislature. We are again calling on Heinrich to release his gross receipts tax records...

Now from Martin Heinrich's side:

Today, Martin Heinrich hand-delivered a letter to Darren White demanding he reimburse Bernalillo County for the expenses incurred when Darren hosted President George W. Bush for a private fundraiser for his campaign for Congress in May. Four months later, Darren White has yet to reimburse the taxpayers for the $5,000 in expenses for a motorcade escort, traffic control, and security. In addition, taxpayers were also stuck with the bill for President Bush's fuel and expenses for Air Force One.

The GOP released audio of Heinrich answering questions when he delivered that letter to White. They think it reflects badly on him because he limits the number of questions he is willing to answer. It is kind of strange to hear Martin say he only has time for two questions. What, you have a train to catch? We'll see how much legs the charges from the two sides have, if any.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Heinrich campaign says our report noting that Heinrich will not take part in an October prime time debate proposed by AARP for KRQE-TV is "much ado about nothing." She says there will be other debates. Apparently the spokeswoman hasn't been paying attention--it is the Heinrich-White campaign that has been "much ado about nothing." That's why debates where the candidates are forced to talk about key issues matter so much. We can't speak for the TV stations or the newspapers, but as long as we're blogging the last folks we're going to let frame the campaigns for the voters of New Mexico are the ones from the campaigns. It's nothing personal. Just business.

KARI & LISA
Torraco & Brandenburg
Two high-powered women are seeking the Bernalillo County District Attorney's job, but an attorney- reader wonders why there hasn't been more heard about the campaign between incumbent Dem DA Kari Brandenburg and Republican Challenger Lisa Torraco:

I am wondering why the local media hasn't spotlighted the Bernalillo County DA race. Two women going for a powerful position. Especially now that women in politics is the hot topic with the mainstream media. Maybe they need to start wearing lipstick, heels, get french pedicures and get their photo taken holding a large shotgun to get some attention.

Well, besides being legal heavyweights, both ladies are already known to wear lipstick and heels. As for the french pedicures, we'll leave that between them and their L'Oréal consultant.

ONE MORE THING

Caught this just before blog presstime. The Journal reports possibly 1,100 phony voter registration cards sent in to the Bernalillo County clerk's office. Now that's depressing. Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver has her work cut out for her. She will take the blame if any phonies escape her notice. Her best bet to protect herself and the voters is to get tough--real tough--with anyone she suspects of trying to foul the system. And a note to GOP Chairman Allen Weh. Remember, Allen, it's not the county officials committing the fraud, it is rogue groups. Good luck, Maggie.

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