Friday, October 20, 2006

The Crazy Week To Come; Fear & Panic And All That Good Stuff, Plus: We're On The Campaign Trail Across Our Enchanting Land 

Next week will probably be the craziest and dirtiest one of Campaign 06' as the contenders, aided by consultants with one track minds, pour liters of drudge across our Enchanted Land in a final frenzied effort to move Mr. and Mrs. New Mexico to their side.

In a prelude of what is to come, there were new charges Thursday in the state Treasurer's race; Gary King's campaign launched a "truth squad" to unveil "Bibb's Fibs," a reference to R attorney general nominee Jim Bibb, and there was a flurry of bottom-of-the barrel stuff flying across the Internet regarding GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson. And then there were those direct mails pieces dripping with mud and jamming mailboxes from Cruces to Chama.

Party veterans on both sides tell me they are most worried (no, freaking out!) about turnout. None of them are ecstatic about the number of requests thus far for absentee ballots in Bernalillo county and fear the negative drumbeat to come could turn-off a good chunk of the electorate making it even harder to get them involved in this thing.

Around the end of the month voters will start tuning out the drumbeat (if they haven't already) as they and the media get more skeptical of late accusations. Also, early in-person voting starts Saturday and thousands will cast their votes around the state by the end of next week. With as much as 60% of the total vote cast early, the candidates will try to scare em' early.


This is my ninth New Mexico gubernatorial campaign so I am used to the screeching, the out-of-bounds attacks and the fear and panic that will soon ensue. I understand it, if still questioning why it is even more fever-pitched and tinged with uglier emotions than earlier days. Perhaps it is because many of those involved have nowhere to turn if they lose. Politics is much more of a profession than it was in 74' when I covered my first Guv race between Dem Jerry Apodaca and R Joe Skeen. There was always passion, but not downright hatred, an emotion driven primarily by fear and perhaps envy. Candidates and consultants lost, but went on to other things. No more. Now it is a permanent campaign with ever more gobs of money.

So sit back and watch the war go by, but don't take it too seriously. Yes, the campaigns are often an ugly sight, but at their bedrock is a magical, ingenious system devised over two centuries ago that is bigger than any of the individuals preparing to wage the final combat of Campaign 2006.


That hot race down in Las Cruces to replace retiring GOP state Rep. Ed Boykin sees R and political newcomer Scott Witt picking up the endorsement of the
Las Cruces Sun-News over Dem rival Jeff Steinborn who narrowly lost to Boykin two years ago. But Dems monitoring the action are nowhere near ready to throw in the towel.

"Steinborn and his workers are in the trenches, going door-to-door. The last poll had him up by two. There will be another one done this weekend. This race will come down to voter turnout," offered one of our Gators...

You just can't keep the fireman away from the fire. Veteran AP and ABQ Journal political writer and columnist Larry Calloway is long retired, but the heat being thrown off by the Wilson-Madrid congressional race has got him back on the beat for at least one round of typewriter pounding. And we're glad for that...

In Valencia county, the scuttlebutt has the seat of retiring Dem State Rep. Kandy Cordova looking good for the Dems, but R Jackie Farnsworth remains in a toss-up with Elias Barela in the battle to succeed retiring Rep. Fred Luna, the longest serving member of the Legislature. This is Jackie's third shot at the title...And early optimism has turned cautious over the prospects of Dem Traci Jo Cadigan to unseat GOP Rep. Teresa Zanetti in ABQ's mostly NE Heights district. Insider polling shows Zanetti with a pretty good lead. Traci Jo, though, has the dough, about %40,000 of it, and will be able to mount a strong close....


I should have started a poll on the poll. The ABQ Journal hits the streets Sunday with its latest numbers on the ABQ Congressional race. After scoring big leads in surveys conducted by out-of-state outfits, the Dems are expecting the Research & Polling survey to show a narrower race between Heather and Patsy. As usual, I have no idea. But pollster Brian Sanderoff and my pack of 1st CD Alligators will and I will post a ditty on that deal for you Sunday. That is, if I don't stay out too late Saturday night partying with Dem party chair John Wertheim and GOP exec Marta Kramer. We're going to karaoke. The featured song of the evening will be "I'm Your Puppet." John will be singing in honor of Big Bill; Marta for Demesia Padilla and James B. Lewis.

And who said politics can't be fun?

See ya' later Gators.

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