Thursday, November 16, 2006

Speculative Fever Part II: Dems & The Pete Seat, Plus: Heather & Steve Fans Duke It Out, And: A J.R. Damron Sighting 

We've blogged this week about a possible showdown between Republican GOP U.S. Reps Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce if and when Senator Pete decides to call it quits. What about the Dems, you ask? That list would be a long one for sure.

Big Bill, if his presidential plans were not working out, could easily become a U.S. Senate candidate in 08'. Light Guv Diane Denish would have to give it a look even though she has her eye on the Guv's chair. ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez, also setting up a bid for Guv, has previously said U.S. Senate is a job he desires. Rep. Udall, twice a previous statewide winner for attorney general and a big re-elect winner this year, is another obvious Dem contender. You would likely have some dark horses emerge as well, perhaps a couple of state legislators or business guys who have the big bucks to launch a senate candidacy.

As for candidates who would take on Pete if he sought re-election in 2008, take off just about all the names listed above. All the speculation started Sunday when the NBC Chris Matthews show listed Domenici as a no-go for re-election in 2008, speculation that has yet to be quashed by Domenici insiders.


We received a lot of email from backers of both Heather and Pearce since we blogged on the possibility of their having to decide whether to face each other in a U.S. senate primary or have one of them bow out in favor of the other.

"I agree Steve would be stronger in a statewide primary and that Heather would be a good statewide candidate, but, if the D's or anyone else were to underestimate Steve's potential in a statewide race they'd be making a mistake. He'd obviously run very strong in NM02 (anyone notice that he won Guadalupe handily, not sure if any R other than Senator Domenici has ever done that)." So wrote an Alligator residing on the banks of the Potomac.

Another Pearce backer high up the political food chain came with this: "The real reason the field is clear for Pearce is that Wilson consistently underperforms in her district. Her idea of a big win has been a 10 point spread. (The late Congressman) Steve Schiff's idea of an okay year was twice that. Remember, he beat a well funded John Wertheim 57-37 in his last run in a three way race."

And this from a Wilson backer:

"Heather has much broader appeal than Pearce. Republicans would be making a big mistake if they chose his extreme views. Heather could keep the senate seat in the Republican column because she appeals to conservative Democrats and Independents."


Meantime, Heather Wilson says her apparent narrow victory will not make her change her mind on Iraq. She asserts: "Elections are about choices between candidates. They don't change policy positions." But, of course, they do change policy. Young men and women dying on a foreign battlefield is not a personality issue, it's policy. That's why in the aftermath of the election the White House is scurrying for a new Iraq position and why Donald Rumsfeld is out as secretary of defense.

The United States position on Iraq will change because the majority of Americans want it to and voted that way. Elections are not just about "choices between candidates," they are about ideas. That's why the Republicans have been voted out of power. Perhaps that's something for Heather and her now in-the-minority colleagues to ponder while "riding the pine" on those out-of-sight back benches.


Is Santa Fe M.D. and short-lived GOP Guv nominee J.R. Damron testing the waters for a possible run for the chairmanship of the state GOP? Insiders say yes. That would be looked upon favorably by outgoing chair Allen Weh and GOP executive director Marta Kramer who want a successor to Weh who will keep the current crop of GOP staffers and consultants on board.

But that's not the view of Roswell oilman Mark Murphy, one of the prominent possibles for a run at the chairmanship. He has indicated the GOP needs a thorough house cleaning to make the party more competitive after the Election Day rout it suffered.

Damron did not return a phone call seeking comment. He had no political experience prior to his run for governor, which was aborted under pressure from GOP leaders who felt John Dendahl could be a more aggressive foe against Governor Big Bill.


The final number of ballots to be countedin the Wilson-Madrid congressional race is less than 2,000 after many of the provisional ballots were disqualified. That means Madrid would have to carry about 80% of what is left to overcome Wilson's new and smaller 1,164 vote lead.


Charlotte Aragon, mother of New Mexico political legend Manny Aragon, was called by death Monday. The Los Lunas native was 79. Her funeral mass will be Saturday at noon at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 309 Stover SW. She was preceded in death by her husband, Mel Aragon, who served on the ABQ city council.


Do you have some NM history buffs on your Christmas list? If so, here is a gift that will have them smiling.

Glad to have you with us. Drop an email from the top of the page with your latest political news. (I posted the Wednesday blog late because of computer issues. If you missed it, just scroll down.)

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