Friday, October 12, 2012

The Debate: Wilson Fires Multiple Cannon Balls, But Heinrich's Stone Wall Stands, Reviews Of First US Senate TV Face-Off, Plus: Colorado Shows Spaceport Muscle 

At one point the TV cameras revealed Martin Heinrich's hands shaking as he faced off with a relentless Heather Wilson, but after an hour of withstanding her incessant poking and jabbing--and landing some punches of his own--the two term congressman could breath a a sigh of relief. The stone wall he erected withstood the multiple cannon balls she fired.

There was no knock-out, but it was a work out for the soon-to-be 41 year old. At the end, Heinrich looked like a job applicant who had just been interviewed by the company tough guy--and passed. By not losing, Heinrich won and with it he advanced that much closer to a job in the United States Senate.

The Rasmussen poll released just before the debate showed Democrat Heinrich sporting a solid 52% to 39% lead. There was nothing said or done in the hour on KRQE-TV--no brain freeze or faux paux--that could change the seemingly intractable trajectory of this contest toward the Democratic candidate.

There will be a couple of more TV debates, but Heather has showed Martin her bag of tricks. It will be even harder to fool him next time.


To the trail now and more on the Senate debate. Veteran Dem analyst Harry Pavlides:

The debate was mostly boring and the more boring it was the better it was for Heinrich. Both showed a strong sense of knowledge from their respective perspectives, but Wilson's issues have lost traction in New Mexico--tax cuts and subsides for big oil. Her best moment was at the open when she said she had talked to Heinrich's first employer and he said Heinrich doesn't understand how taxes impact business. But this was a debate for technocrats. It was not engaging on a human level. But it fit right in to what Heinrich needed. All he had to do was hold his own, and he did.

Republican consultant Bob Cornelius opined:

When you're defending, you are usually losing so Heather wins this on a TKO--but there was no knockout punch.

A Dem consultant analyzed it this way:

It seemed like Wilson was throwing the kitchen sink at him to see what worked and none of it did. If Heather is going to get traction she needed to take it to Martin more forcefully and directly.

A Senior Alligator of the Dem variety weighed in with this:

There was definitely no knockout punch. Most of the debate was insider baseball. No one in the general public knows what PAYGO is, and they are not obsessed with LANL nuclear funding. Also, it seemed for the first half they were having a debate about the past. This was a way too wonky debate and the regular voter probably tuned out at about 6:18pm.

...The debate was very Albuquerque-centric. I don't know how much of what they talked about  appealed to areas out of Albuquerque. Overall, Heather just doesn't have an issue that resonates with folks. She needs a simple message and she doesn't have one. She needs to peel off Democrats and nothing she said will do that.


Once they were New Mexico's poltical tag team, but Pete Domenici has been gone from the scene since his retirement from the Senate in 2009. Still, his name grabs your attention and Heather brought him back on the day of the debate in the form of a TV ad in which he took some swings at Heinrich.

Domenici--who brought billions into the state as New Mexico's longest ever serving Senator--scored Heinrich for his vote on "sequestration" which he said will cost the state 20,000 federal jobs.

That is, of course, if Congress does not make a deficit deal. Heinrich's camp called it "ridiculous" to charge that Heinrich would vote to do away with thousands of NM jobs.

Domenici is now 80 and a political memory, not a political player. In fact, the radical wing of the state GOP shows nothing but disdain now for Pete's admirable record of service, saying government jobs have made the state too government dependent.

Pete was instrumental in the 90's in launching Wilson's congressional career, but his TV ad isn't likely to trim the polling deficit she faces in her second quest for a seat in the body that he served in for 36 years.


You don't see much of her on the campaign trail around here, but she will stump for Mitt in Nevada over the weekend:

New Mexico's popular Governor Susana will campaign in Las Vegas on Saturday for Romney, including by stopping by a new East Las Vegas campaign office Romney opened last month in a Hispanic neighborhood. She'll hold a "meet and greet" session at 3:45 p.m. with the locals, the Romney campaign said.


New Mexico has stiff competition. Colorado is getting aggressive when it comes to their Spaceport, even calling theirs "the preferred location in America's Heartland."

Front Range Airport--site of a proposed Colorado spaceport--announced that it has signed a letter of intent with Rocket Crafters Inc. for horizontal launch, dual-propulsion, suborbital flight operations. The letter of intent outlines a mutual intent to promote and develop Spaceport Colorado at Front Range Airport in Adams County as “the preferred commercial spaceport location in America’s heartland,” according to a press release.

New Mexico has a head start on Colorado but supporter says we are in danger of losing our position because the Legislature has thrown up a legal blockade:

Spaceport America and southern NewMexico have the potential to be the crucible of the second space age, said Aaron Prescott, business operations manager for Spaceport America. We have a choice whether or not we want to support and encourage this new industry to develop and grow here or not. The only obstacle in the way of New Mexico's path toward commercial spaceflight greatness is the wording of the state's Informed Consent Act. While the original legislation was signed into law by Gov. Bill Richardson in 2010, it only protects operators such as Virgin Galactic that will fly passengers themselves, leaving their supply chain of manufacturers completely unprotected from harmful litigation.

The jobs of the future are at stake and we can only hope the legislators and the legislative wanna bes out campaigning are paying attention...

This is the home of New Mexico politics. Thanks for dropping by this week.

Reporting to you from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan

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