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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

State Cash Still Flowing: Could Help Bill's Health Plan, Plus: Hillary Hangs By Her Nails, And: Election Year Free Rides Highlighted 

The sky is not falling...yet. And that means--believe it or not--Big Bill's long-stalled health care reform plan lives. The Guv's numbers crunchers released an updated state money forecast Tuesday for the current fiscal year showing those sky-high gas prices that are tearing a hole in your wallet mean tax dollars from the NM oil and gas industry continue to pour into Santa Fe. That is blunting the effects of a slowing economy elsewhere.

However, Senate Finance Chairman John Arthur Smith isn't buying any rosy scenario for the next fiscal year that starts in July. "I do not forecast a pleasant year. These are challenging times. We've got a lot of big ticket items for the next fiscal year we are trying to address."

Smith says the state would need to increase spending by hundreds of millions of dollars if the Legislature and governor agreed to proposals for universal health care coverage, revamp the state's school finance system, shore up an ailing health care plan for government retirees and cover a highway funding shortfall.

Smith and Company will soon get a forecast for the next fiscal year from their staff. If oil and natural gas prices stay in the stratosphere and the new cash forecast is not markedly different from what we heard Tuesday, Smith is going to feel Fourth Floor heat to move on health care reform.

On that front, insiders report nine state senators, staff for the Legislature and the governor were meeting again last week on health care while Richardson continues to hammer out political strategy for a special session. When it comes to state finances this has been one of the luckiest governor's in modern history. Will the streak continue long enough for him to pass landmark legislation, not just a fig leaf? Stay tuned.

OBAMA NEARS NOD

Late Tuesday, Hillary pulled out Indiana over Obama, but he landslided her in the North Carolina Dem prez contest. NBC's Tim Russert told the nation, it will be Obama winning the nomination. That's good news for Big Bill who has cast his lot with Obama. How long before Light Guv Denish, an ardent Hill backer, gets aboard the Barack Express?

TINSLEY'S TV

Ed Tinsley went up on ABQ TV Tuesday, the first of the five GOP southern congressional contenders to do so, and none too soon for his itchy supporters who see rancher and retired banker Aubrey Dunn breathing down Tinsley's throat.

Tinsley, owner of the K-Bob's restaurant chain, came with a new spot that positions him as tough on sealing the border. The ad also splashes the slogan "Conservative Republican" across a corner of the screen. Dunn has attacked Tinsley for not being tough enough on illegal immigration when serving as president of the National Restaurant Association. In a piece of lit Dunn also labeled his rival "Liberal Ed Tinsley." This ad seems directed to counter those charges.

Dunn has gone negative in the mail and on the stump, not on TV. It appears we are in a game of chicken. Neither of the two leading contenders for the GOP nod appear to want to be first to do negative TV. Maybe they need to look at some Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson spots for inspiration. Meantime, Tinsley fans are hoping that former Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman will split the SE vote with Dunn, leaving Tinsley to claim the victory by outperforming in the remainder of the sprawling district.

POSING WITH THE PREZ

A photo of you smiling with the Prez will go for $5,000 a pop when he sets down in ABQ May 27th for a fund-raiser for ABQ GOP congressional hopeful Darren White. A ducat (you can look that up, kids) for a general reception will set patrons back a thousand a piece. White will likely net at least several hundred thousand from the prez's visit, but risks souring swing voters who are through with Bush. That's why the visit is in May, not October. Where Bush will make his appearance has not been released.

Yes, White is opposed in the primary by State Sen. Joe Carraro and it is unusual for national and state R's to endorse in a contested primary. The endorsement highlights the division in the GOP which was evident when Allen Weh was challenged for the chairmanship last year by Earl Greer. For his part, Carraro has put up a giant billboard at ABQ's Big I, complete with smiling picture. At least he'll have something to show the grandkids.

FREE RIDERS

Rue, Whitefield & Daniels
Here's a snap from photog Mark Bralley of three happy politicians. They all now have free rides to election or re-election. On the left, Sander Rue gets a free ride as David Pyne drops out of the GOP race for an ABQ West Side state Senate seat. No Dem is running so Rue will take the primary and then the general. Alligators report the lobbyists have already been seen swarming over the soon-to-be Senator.

Elizabeth Whitefield got lucky. The incumbent ABQ district court family judge was opposed by Metro Judge Frank Sedillo, but no more. Sedillo dropped out. There is no R running so Judge Elizabeth joins our free rider club. And then there's newly named NM Supreme Court Justice Charlie Daniels. No Dem challenged him in the primary and no R is running in November. Daniels will finish out the term of the late Pamela Minzner without giving the give and take of La Politica a second thought. That's the luxury of a free ride.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2008
Not for reproduction without permission of the author

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Bill To Hit Trail: Has Favorite Senate Candidates, Plus: Di-Bill Spat Could Have Fall-Out, And: Bush To ABQ 

Everyone has their favorites this political season and that includes Big Bill. The Dem Governor may not be on the ballot in NM anymore, but he still has a couple of legislative sessions to negotiate (if he doesn't head to D.C. under a Dem administration) and will use some political muscle to influence the June primary results. His eyes, say the insiders, are especially fixed on the State Senate where his healthcare reform plan was stalled. One of them weighs in.

The Governor is engaged in the upcoming elections, and is going to pay special attention with contributions and appearances on behalf of Senators Shannon Robinson, Carlos Cisneros, James Taylor, Howie Morales, Linda Lovejoy, David Ulibarri, Dede Feldman and John Pinto.

We didn't see the name of ABQ Sen. Linda Lopez on that favored list. She is in a primary battle with businessman Michael Padilla, and it's no secret that Linda, who has clashed with Bill in her role as chair of Senate Rules, is not a Fourth Floor favorite.

THE COST OF WAR

This state of aggravation between Big Bill and Light Guv Diane Denish could have some political consequences. Denish has been considered a shoo-in for the Dem guv nomination when Bill departs, but his political allies might want to make that more questionable if the top two can't settle their differences. For example, the name of former NM House Speaker Raymond Sanchez is being floated as a possible 2010 Dem Guv contender. Not that Raymond, who was tossed from his legislative seat in 2000, is going to put the fear of God into Di, but his stirrings could encourage others to weigh an entry, complicating Denish's designs for the state's top job.

The stakes could be going up, but when it comes to the 400 year old New Mexican governorship, they've never been very low.

BUSH'S BAGS TO ABQ

A presidential visit these days is a mixed bag, but Bush still raises a bag full of dough when he campaigns for GOP candidates, and that will be the case when he touches down in the Duke City May 27th for a fund-raiser on behalf of ABQ GOP congressional hopeful Darren White and the state GOP's 2008 victory fund. Bush's visit, being leaked out by the R's, will come just days before the June 3 primary.

Dems will be gleeful to get photos of White snuggling with the unpopular Prez, but White will use the visit to cement support in the primary in which he faces a cantankerous challenge from State Sen. Joe Carraro. Also, White's fund-raising has not blown the doors off. Bush' s visit will help shore up his bank balance. The downside for White is being seen so close to Bush by conservative Dems and key swing voters.. That almost cost Heather Wilson the seat in 2006. She brought the Prez in for a June '06 visit, making sure he was nowhere to bee seen when October rolled around. Insiders suspect White will do the same--use Bush--who he served as chairman of his 2004 Bernalillo County campaign effort--to raise money now, but by the time the Halloween masks come out, Bush and his visit will be a long lost memory.

AT THE TRACK


The handicapping continues. Capitol hill newspaper Roll Call pegs NM's US Senate seat "safe Democratic" in the November election. Speaking of soon-to-be Dem nominee Tom Udall, the paper analyzes:

While his politics are probably more liberal than those of most voters, New Mexico is a swing state that rewards likability and integrity-- qualities that Udall possesses...But a Republican victory is not impossible.

WE'RE OUT OF THE GATE

It's here. The first day of voting for Primary '08 is today. Here's info on where to cast an early ballot in Bernalillo County. For other counties, check your county clerk's site. It's expected that over half the primary vote will be cast through early and absentee balloting.

HISPANIC POWER


From the Politico: Democrats are poised this week to pass a crucial milestone in Florida: For the first time, the number of Hispanic Democrats in the state is expected to exceed the number of Hispanic Republicans.

OVER THE TOP SPOT?

The latest anti-DWI TV spot from the state Department of Transportation has drawn some fire. Critics ask: should the state be implying that persons picked up for violating the drinking and driving laws will be subjected to homosexual assault? In one scene, a state PSA showcases the flabby belly of an actor posing a as a prison inmate in an orange jump suit. The alleged DWI offender asks: "Who's that? The response comes, "That's your new buddy in jail."

A curious viewer asks: Do NM Corrections Secretary Joe Williams or NM's county jail directors accept sexual assault as an expected outcome of a jail or prison stay? The pokey is no place to be coddled, but shouldn't citizens incarcerated for alleged crimes be provided a minimum of physical safety? Or is that a value being kicked to the curb in an over zealous public service message? They're just asking.

E-mail your news and comments.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2008
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Monday, May 05, 2008

Monday Monster Blog From NM's Web Leader: 3 CD's From End-To-End; TV Debate & More; Di Dings Colon; More Wiviott Cash, And: Will Press Use Its Power? 

Heinrich & White
Republican Darren White and Democrat Martin Heinrich may be the leading candidates to take their party's primary nominations for the open ABQ congressional seat, but a Friday night televised face-off revealed considerable baggage both will be toting into the fall battle.

Appearing on public station KNME-TV in what may (disappointingly) be the only TV debates between the four Dem hopefuls and the two GOP contenders, both White and Heinrich held their own, but neither had satisfactory explanations for what will likely be key issues following the June 3 primary.

Heinrich was hammered by challenger Robert Pidcock over whether he has held a full-time job during his adult life. Heinrich pointed out that he had a consulting business and was also executive director of the Cottonwood Gulch Foundation, a camp for teens and pre-teens offering personal growth through outdoor experiences. But Pidcock retorted that the camp was a "summer camp" and did not constitute a full-time job.

The work history of the 35 year old former ABQ city councilor is going to be an issue, said NM GOP communications director Scott Darnell, signaling that we can expect to see the Heinrich resume highlighted in scalding TV ads. It could be reminiscent of that Big Bill spot used against Republican rival John Sanchez in the 2002 race for governor. Bill claimed Sanchez had doctored his resume by saying he was running a business when he was actually serving as an airline flight attendant. No one is accusing Heinrich of resume fixing, but Republicans are desperate to switch the debate from the issues--which work against them--to Heinrich's personal background. The former councilor did a solid job elsewhere in the debate, but he will need to tighten up his answer to the job question or White and the GOP are going to run their elephant through it and him.

THE SHERIFF AND THE SENATOR

As for White, the Bernalillo County Sheriff was verbally assaulted by GOP rival Joe Carraro, who insisted that in the 1990's White left his position as cabinet secretary for pubic safety--not because he disagreed with then-Governor Johnson's position for legalizing drugs--but because state police expressed no confidence in his leadership. White never did directly address that issue, perhaps giving the Dems some fall fodder. But Heinrich, or whoever is the Dem nominee, was given a real gift when debate moderator David Alire Garcia asked the sheriff to name one vote he would have cast differently than that of GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson who he hopes to succeed. White, who had just finished saying he would be an "independent" voice for the ABQ district, could not name a single vote on which he would differ with her. The response left White vulnerable to accusations that he is a Bush-Wilson clone. That's the one charge, if it sticks, that could give the Dems a fighting chance in a district where White's likability and name ID are far higher than that of his potential foes.

THE CASH KING

While the ABQ congressional candidates squared off on TV, in the north Don Wiviott was announcing that he has put up even more of his personal cash to take his campaign to TV in an even bigger way. Wiviott filed notice with the FEC that he will give himself another $100,000 in his effort to secure the Dem congressional nomination. That puts Wiviott at $990,000 in personal money, just shy of a cool million. Will he spend all that cash? You an easily go through $200,000 a week on ABQ TV. With four weeks to go in Primary '08, the math is easy to figure. Wiviott's opponents get to raise bigger individual donations--up to $6900--because Wiviott has gone over the personal spending limits specified by the FEC.

Wiviott's effort seems to have stalled in recent days He re-cut an anti-Iraq TV spot to make it more effective. The perceived frontrunner in the contest, Public Regulation Commissioner Ben Ray Lujan, has not made any big mistakes and the other three contenders have been mostly quiet. But a million bucks is a lot of money and is going to keep the race open until we get a sample of the next phase of the Santa Fe developer's campaign. What that phase consists of remains the real million dollar question.

SOUTHERN COOKIN'

Now we take you south to yet another open NM congressional seat. Retired banker and rancher Aubrey Dunn today is putting up his second TV spot in his campaign for the GOP nomination for the Southern seat. In it he throws out red meat on the border issue, saying he would complete building a border fence and keep troops deployed to secure the border.

Dunn is one of five GOP candidates chasing the nomination for the seat being given up by Steve Peace. It is by far the most intriguing contest for political junkies, with the contest seemingly wide open. Our Alligators report Dunn is doing very well in Otero County which his father, Aubrey Dunn Sr., represented for many years in the State Senate. Supporters of restaurant chain owner Ed Tinsley are getting antsy. He has said he will spend $300,000 on TV, but nothing has popped up yet in the big ABQ market. Dunn is also not on in ABQ, but airing his spots on outlets in Southern NM. Some Tinsley backers fear Dunn, with superior name ID and what appears to be a solid base in big Otero, could take the prize unless Tinsley soon gets aggressive and negative. Will Tinsley hit Dunn over his checkered party registration history and his donations to Big Bill's presidential campaign? He may have no choice as he did not come with the big money in April to put this one away.

MONTY'S MONEY

Southern CD GOP candidate Monty Newman will not see that $250,000 the National Association of Realtors is putting up for his campaign on his TV screen as we first speculated. One of our finance operatives did some legwork on this big third party expenditure and reports: "According to the FEC, the Realtors PAC plans to spend most of that on mailers, but some will be spent on survey costs, consulting services and accessing the 2nd District voter list."

Newman, who has loaned himself $100,000, had $206,000 cash in the bank at of the end of March. With the Realtors coming with money for the nuts and bolts, Newman could be expected to spend much of his own campaign funds on TV ads. Earl Greer and Greg Sowards round out the southern GOP congressional field.

COLON OFF THE FENCE
Chair Colon
No one in the political community was surprised by the weekend announcement of state Dem Party chair and national Democratic convention superdelegate Brian Colon that he would back Obama over Hillary for the Dem prez nomination. Colon is a subsidiary of Big Bill who made his support for Obama famously known last month. Dem US Senate candidate Tom Udall is the last big name unpledged NM superdelegate. Insiders expect him to go for Obama, but maybe he wants to avoid a decision until after the June primary. Even though he is unopposed for the Senate nomination, like Colon, he is going to make a lot of Dems unhappy when he does announce his decision.

Colon's decision to go with Obama displeased Light Guv Diane Denish as much as it pleased Big Bill. Lady Di, chair of Hillary's NM prez campaign, scored the chairman in this statement:

"It would have been appropriate for him to wait until all the primaries are over or until the convention...to cast his vote...He is expected to...bring folks together after the primaries. His bias in conducting the State Central Committee meeting last week followed by a very quick endorsement (confirming what everyone suspected, that he was acting in a biased manner) makes it less likely that he will have the ability to do his job as Chair."

So if Big Bill scores a job with a President Obama and Di becomes Guv, does it sound like Colon could be out as party chair? Yes, it sounds that way. But today Bill is still the man.

DI & BILL

The Journal hit with a Sunday piece has some observers thinking that big political split over Hill and Obama renewed tension between Big Bill and Lady Di. But Denish was restrained in her criticism of Bill for not notifying her that he would be out of state attending the Kentucky Derby over the weekend and therefore making her Acting Governor. His staff called it an "oversight." Denish supporting Hillary and Bill backing Barack may be causing the recent Maalox moments between the two. When that is resolved, maybe so will the tension between the two ambitious personalities. Or maybe not.

IT'S UP TO THE PRESS
Jones With Udall
We confess to being a bit turbocharged back in our day on the daily beat, but we don't think we'll ever be mellowed out enough to accept what the ABQ Journal's Jeff Jones wrote in a Sunday column (not posted on Web) about the two GOP contenders for the US Senate nomination.

"I tried for three straight days to speak with both Republican Senate candidates about their remarks and their spokespeople said neither was available."

Jones was writing about gender-pay problems and the statements Pearce and Wilson made at their late April Los Alamos debate. It's an issue that one would think the would-be Senators would have standard boiler-plate answers to.

Wilson, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has been notorious for stiff-arming the press, and now Pearce seems to be picking up the habit. But the politicos are only going to do what they can get away with. If the press is not going to stake them out and force them to answer, or out them on their valuable front pages, they are going to continue to be subjected to candidate arrogance. "The power of the press" exists only if it is used. Will New Mexico's press use it in this historic battle for the United States Senate?

THE BOTTOM LINES

The Monday Monster Blog continues, and we have a feeling there will be a couple more of them between now and primary day. Some readers last week said they could not access that anti-McCain TV ad from MoveOn.org that got the goat of NM GOP chairman Allen Weh. Here it is....

Southern Dem congressional candidate Bill McCamley announces that former Dem contender Al Kissling is backing his candidacy. Both are from the Las Cruces area. Dem candidate Harry Teague now has three TV ads in rotation. They can be seen here...

E-mail it in. News, comments and cordial disagreements.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2008
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Friday, May 02, 2008

Friday Blog Clips: "Demolition Dinelli" Faces Future And More Politcal Comings And Goings 

Att. Pete Dinelli
You might call him "Demolition Dinelli" for all the tear-downs of eyesore ABQ hotels and motels he has supervised, but someday ABQ assistant city attorney Pete Dinelli hopes you might call him "Mr. Mayor."

"I expect to retire from the city by the end of the year and if Mayor Chavez does not seek re-election, I would seriously consider a mayoral bid," He said.

It wouldn't be the first time. Pete ran for mayor back in 1989, the year Ken Schultz lost his re-election bid and Louis Saavedra won in a run-off against Pat Baca. From 1985-89 Dinelli was an ABQ city councilor from the mid-NE Heights where he still resides. At 57, he is one of the NM Dem party's senior members who has a keen understanding of state political history. His passion for ABQ is similar to that of Mayor Chavez and the late Mayor Kinney. If he gets in the race, that alone could make him a player.

Mayor Marty took note of Dinelli's service to the city recently by holding a surprise roast for him at the balloon museum. Some 100 gathered to honor ABQ native Dinelli who, like Governor Richardson, had one Anglo and one Hispanic parent. The mayor had some nice things to say about his employee, but he didn't say anything about not running for mayor next year. Dinelli may also have to keep his eye on one of the vacant ABQ judgeships.

SHANNON'S BUDDY

We're not saying Big Bill is supporting veteran ABQ SE Heights State Senator Shannon Robinson in his Democratic primary contest with political newcomer and progressive Tim Keller. Well, on second thought, maybe we are. From the Guv's office:

Governor Richardson will be joined today by State Senator Shannon Robinson to make a traffic safety announcement at Highland High School at 1:30pm.

CHARDONNAY OR BUD?

Former NM First Lady Clara Apodaca (1975-79) is throwing her support behind the Dem congressional candidacy of Martin Heinrich. We've blogged that it appears the former city councilor already has a lock on the Chardonnay crowd. Maybe Clara served some blue-collar Budweiser at the house party she threw for Martin Thursday night. Meanwhile, is it Republicans saying Heinrich could be a possible '09 ABQ mayor candidate if his congressional bid comes up short? It sure isn't Pete Dinelli, Michael Cadigan or Richard Romero.

ROSWELL GATORS

Roswell Alligators are not letting go unanswered that endorsement of GOP State Rep. Dan Foley by the National Rifle Association. They point out that Foley primary foe Dennis Kintigh has been given the go ahead by the Roswell Police Officers Association. Foley had a highly publicized run-in with the Roswell cops when he interfered at a basketball game in which his son was playing. Charges against Foley were eventually dismissed.

BOB'S BACK

Bob Cornelius, former executive director of the Bernalillo County GOP and a short-time candidate for the Southern NM Congressional seat, says he's back on the circuit. "I will be sworn in as the new President of the New Mexico Republican Assembly, the "Republican Wing of the Republican Party" or as President Reagan once said "the conscience of the Republican Party," reports the 28 year old Lea County native who is also busy campaigning for GOP US Senate candidate Steve Pearce.

GAS GUZZLING

He's chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, but some observers thought US Senator Jeff Bingaman looked a bit helpless in a recent interview with the ABQ Journal in which he said nothing much could be done about the sky-high gasoline prices consumers are suffering under. Perhaps mindful of that, the chairman came with a stronger statement and some specifics on what can be done. Bingaman warned of political posturing over gas prices in this election year, but Bingaman is not up for election until 2012, and if we ever needed leadership on American energy policy, now is the time.

E-mail your latest news and comments and help us cover NM politics.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2008
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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Pat Rogers Makes Play For Top GOP Post; US Attorney Scandal An Issue, Plus: MoveOn Mocks McCain, And: Joe Carraro Makes Some Noise 

Pat Rogers
Eyebrows are being raised in some GOP quarters at the notion that a key player in the US Attorney scandal, ABQ attorney Pat Rogers, could wind up in the prestigious position of New Mexico Republican National Committeeman. Insiders say former State Rep. and businessman George Buffett will not seek re-election to the post when the party meets in June and that Rogers is currently the only candidate.

Rogers, a shareholder with the well-known Modrall law firm in ABQ, has a long involvement with GOP politics, including his association with ABQ attorney/lobbyist Mickey Barnett. Both men traveled to Washington in '06 to meet with a top Bush Administration official in an effort to get rid of US Attorney David Iglesias. Iglesias said they wanted him out because he wasn't bringing voter fraud cases against Democrats. Iglesias says there was no evidence of such fraud. His eventual firing was part of the epic US attorney scandal.

Rogers is a noted election expert who has often contracted with the state GOP to handle court cases. Barnett has been controversial for primarying fellow Republicans in 2004. His critics also maintain that Barnett continues to exert considerable influence for lobbying clients through a number of GOP legislators and fellow lobbyists. In opposing Rogers, they say they want someone in the committeeman's post who is a "true volunteer," not someone who makes money from the party or advances Barnett's influence.

The names of a couple of other potential committeeman candidates are circulating, but nothing firm yet.

MOVING ON MCCAIN

A hard hitting ad from MoveOn.org is getting the attention of NM GOP Chairman Allen Weh who decried it as a distortion of John McCain's statements. The ad is airing here and other states and will be one of many this election year financed by third party groups who want in on the action. Says Weh: "(McCain) clearly did not mean that we're going to be fighting combat operations (in Iraq) for 100 years. That isn't what he said. I think it's absolutely disingenuous."

We have news, Mr. Chairman. The American people are telling the pollsters and politicans they don't want to be in Iraq for 100 years under any conditions--whether combat or "peacetime." That's why this ad seems likely to draw blood. Take a look.


CARRARO SURFACES

ABQ GOP congressional contender Joe Carraro doesn't have a lot of campaign cash, but what he does have he is putting to use. TV insiders confirm that Carraro went on the air Wednesday with a small one week buy of under $10,000. The thirty second spot touts Carraro's service as a state senator and questions the crime-fighting effectiveness of his GOP rival, Bernalillo County Sherriff Darren White. White is not yet up on TV, but is expected to be sometime this month. Here's Joe's spot:



Meantime, in the ABQ West Side State Senate district that Carraro represents, GOP candidate David Pyne came with confirmation of our Tuesday exclusive that he is getting out of the race, leaving Republican Sander Rue as the only candidate--either Dem or R--in the race. Friends of Pyne say the attorney is taking a job in Utah. Rue can start studying the state budget.

UNION MUSCLE

Candidates in a Democratic primary scramble for the endorsement of the big public employee union--AFSCME. Many of its 12,000 NM members are voters and the union can offer campaign manpower. Here are some contenders they recently backed:

Albuquerque Metropolitan Court Judge Benjamin Chavez for District Court Judge in Bernalillo County. AFSCME has also endorsed Judge Elizabeth Whitefield and Judge Clyde DeMersseman in their respective races.

In the Congressional races AFSCME has endorsed Martin Heinrich for CD1, Bill McCamley for CD2, Ben Ray Lujan for CD3, and Tom Udall for Senate. In Bernalillo County, Teresa Cordova for Commission District 2, Deanna Archuleta for Commission District 3, Maggie Toulouse Oliver for County Clerk, and Patrick Padilla for County Treasurer.

AFSCME says 4,000 of its members are in Bernalillo County.

GUNS FOR FOLEY

State House GOP Minority Whip Dan Foley has a primary fight on his hands in Roswell that has him working. Foley, facing off with retired FBI agent Dennish Kintigh, has come with an endorsement from the National Rifle Association. "I'm proud to receive the A+ candidate rating from the NRA. This high rating is an honor to receive." Said Foley.

ADAIR FOR HEATHER

Foley political ally, Roswell State Senator Lightning" Rod Adair continues to work it hard for GOP US Senate candidate Heather Wilson. Adair and State Rep. Keith Gardner are among those hosting Heather at a $500 a person at a Friday lunch at the Cattle Baron in Roswell.

DYSON ON THE SENATE

KOB-TV's Stuart Dyson is back on the campaign trail, so you know the campaign is entering the critical phase. We talked with him about the latest TV spot from GOP US Senate candidate Steve Pearce and how, of all things, he calls rival Heather Wilson a "liberal." Fun stuff to watch.

TAYLOR'S TRAVELS

That Dem State Senate battle between ABQ South Valley incumbent James Taylor and challenger Eric Griego is a pace setter. Taylor's campaign says he is on the door-knocking circuit in the Valley and also has visited Chilili, Bosque Farms, Meadowlake, Armijo, Pajarito and Kirtland. Griego seems to have a different event every day and is also knocking on doors. He had a "Healthy Communities" fund-raiser on Wednesday.

E-mail your news, comments and observations. This is the home of the exclusives.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2008
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