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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Heather Raises Healthy Amount Of Cash But Tea Party Keeps Her On The Run, Plus: Winter Draws City Council Election Foe, And: Do You Have Enough Chile? 

Heather Wilson
The tea party already has Heather Wilson on the run. The former ABQ GOP Congresswoman, seeking the GOP US senate nomination next year, refused to comment when asked if she favored the 11th hour budget deal put together last week to the keep the government operating:

"Rep. Wilson will not be commenting on this story," said spokesman Christopher Sanchez.

Most GOP Senate candidates around the nation are opposing the deal, saying it did not go far enough in cutting the budget. Conservative southern NM Congressman Steve Pearce says he will vote against the deal for that reason.

Wilson faces a likely GOP primary challenge from Lt. Governor John Sanchez who has been courting tea party types and accusing Wilson of being a "relic of the past." Her refusal to talk about the budget deal shows the tricky balancing act she has in satisfying the nominating wing of her party, but not going so far that it would put at risk her chances with more moderate voters in the 2012 general election.

Sanchez is not yet in the race so he hasn't been asked how he feels about the budget deal. And it's not as if he doesn't have the same challenge as Heather. If he drifts too far right, moderate New Mexico will drift away from him. Insiders say Pearce is pushing the Sanchez candidacy. Pearce defeated Wilson when the two faced off for the GOP senate nod in 2008.

THE CASH COUNT

Money will be a key factor in the GOP senate contest and Wilson says she is off to a good start. From her campaign:

Wilson’s Federal Election Commission quarterly report shows that in just 24 days, Wilson raised $303,394 from over 1,100 donors. 87% of her contributions came from New Mexicans. Nearly 70% of all donations were $100 or less, and more than $32,000 was raised online, demonstrating Wilson’s ability to continue growing her grassroots base.

Wilson reports $282,000 in cash on hand. She says of her 1,139 contributors that 985 of them were from New Mexico.

Some analysts ask how much of this cash is "low hanging fruit," designed to show early muscle and drain momentum away from opponents, but with fund-raising slowing in the months ahead.

Wilson mentioned her on-line fund-raising and we could be hearing more about that method in this campaign. National conservatives who are not fond of Wilson could put their fund-raising prowess to work on the Internet and raise a ton of dough for Sanchez.

We could be looking at a campaign between these two that costs each of them $2 million or more.

Sanchez is expected to make his official entry into the Senate race this month.

GOP Senate candidate Craig Sowards of Las Cruces, owner of a group of day care centers, is expected to finance his own primary effort. Insiders expect him to report about $150,000 in cash on hand when his report for the first quarter is filed with the FEC. Reports are due April 15. One of our analysts says look for Sowards to raise about $300,000--most of it his own--by the time the June 2012 primary rolls around.

WINTER DRAWS FOE
Winter vs. Tallman
Veteran Republican ABQ City Councilor Brad Winter appears to be in pretty good shape to win a fourth four year term in the October city election, but with a fickle public ready to turn on any incumbent at a moment's notice, Winter will have to make his case and he will have at least one candidate offering himself as an alternative.

70 year old William Tallman, a Democrat and a former deputy city manager in Santa Fe, says he will seek Winter's NE Heights seat. He came to New Mexico from Rhode Island and has spent 33 years in local government management. From the Rhode Island press:

Tallman had worked as a public administrator in Norwich, Conn.; Moline, Ill.; Hamilton, Ohio; and Newcastle, Pa. He is a graduate of Syracuse University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1968. He obtained a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Cincinnati in 1972.

There's more about him here.

Tallman spent 14 months in his Santa Fe post in '07 and '08. He says he has lived in his ABQ city council district for five years, and adds:

I am very familiar with municipal government operations and issues. I have engaged the services of a very competent, intelligent and hard working campaign manager and plan to conduct a grass roots campaign with lots of door to door canvassing.

Winter, who turns 59 this month, is a native of Albuquerque and a top administrator for ABQ public schools. He was first elected to the council in 1999. He made an unsuccessful run for mayor in 2005. Some insiders say that race changed Winter, making him less of a consensus seeker, but he is a respected if now a more circumspect councilor than in his early career.

Winter beat his 2007 council opponent in a landslide. He believes his experience and a good working relationship with fellow Republican and Mayor Richard Berry are reasons he should be re-elected. He says if he wins this year it will be his final term.

By the way, do you remember who Brad defeated to become a city councilor back in '99? Well, it was none other than Sam Bregman, who was ousted after one four year term. Sam is now a candidate for Dem Party chairman, challenging Javier Gonzalez at a state Dem central committee meeting scheduled for April 30.

SOLD!
Kilmer
We haven't heard much about actor Val Kilmer lately. He caused quit a stir last year when he toyed with the idea of running for Governor here. But now it appears Val's ties with the state may soon be loosened. From the WSJ:

Actor Val Kilmer is contracted to sell his 6,000-acre New Mexico ranch for an undisclosed price, according to a listing broker. It is also listed as "under contract" on the Sotheby's website. The sale price and the buyer could not be learned. Mr. Kilmer's lawyer, Ralph H. Scheuer, says that before the property sells, "a lot of contingencies have to be filled" and it is not actually in contract. The property most recently listed for $18.5 million; it originally came on the market in 2009 for $33 million. About 30 miles east of Santa Fe, the Pecos River Ranch has roughly six miles of a popular trout-fishing river running through it and is home to wildlife....

THE BOTTOM LINES


Here is funeral service info for Los Alamos area GOP State Rep. Jeannette Wallace who passed away Friday:

Wallace will lie in state from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.Wednesday at the State Capitol in Santa Fe....A public service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Los Alamos. Wallace, 77, succumbed to various illnesses after a brief visit to the hospital in February.....


If you absolutely must have something to worry about today, you can take note of the fact that New Mexico's chile crop has dropped to levels not seen since the early 70's. You do have enough in your freezer, don't you?

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2011
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