Friday, June 22, 2007

The Blog Mailbag: Reaction, Thoughts And Analysis Of The Latest News From Our In-The-Know Readers; Come On In And Open Some Envelopes 

It didn't take long for newcomer Don Wiviott to get the attention of the New Mexican political community. That happens when you announce (or threaten) to spend up to a million bucks of your own money on a race for the US Senate. Not surprisingly, one of the first reactions to our exclusive that Wiviott was getting in and had big bucks behind him came from another candidate seeking the Democratic nomination in '08 for the right to take on GOP Senator Pete Domenici. Jim Hannan, Wiviott's fellow Santa Fean, said his new foe has a money problem, not with what he plans on spending, but what he has donated:

...I've discovered that Don gave Republican David Pfeffer $2100 to run for the US Senate against Jeff Bingaman...David Pfeffer was a very unpopular city councilor here in Santa Fe, he ran for the US Senate in 2006. His main issue was support of the Minutemen movement in southern New Mexico. As I recall, he actually might have walked the entire border, hanging out with the Minutemen in their camps. I guess Don doesn't think that giving money to someone running against Jeff Bingaman is a big issue. Maybe not." Scored Hannan.

It appears Hannan is going to try to get Wiviott to spend the money he says he is willing to. It will be interesting to see how the Democratic left handles this race if Wiviott, Hannan and Leland Lehrman are the final field.


Some of Senator Pete's supporters didn't take kindly to Wiviott's announcement or our coverage. Reader Fred Van Soelen put it this way:

"Joe, it's getting harder and harder to take you seriously. Despite your over-the-top salivating at having someone take on Pete Domenici, you can't be serious in thinking that this newcomer Wiviott will have a chance against Pete. I know you really want someone to give him a run for the money, but this guy has no chance at all. He will be mincemeat by the end of the campaign (if he stays in that long).

Fred, I plead guilty to salivating over the prospect of any contested election; I think that's what the game is all about. But I am not invested in any candidate in the '08 senate race, but do look forward to seeing how the mincemeat is made. Domenici, of course, is the favorite, if he stays in the race.


The historic unpopularity of the current Congress--only 24% approve in the Gallup poll--is no doubt playing a role in the declining poll numbers here of Domenici and even Dem Senator Jeff Bingaman. Pete's approval is at 51% and Jeff's at 59%, below their usual 60 plus. That brought this reaction on the state's junior senator from Democratic reader Jim in Arroyo Hondo, NM, north of Taos.

Bingaman has steadfastly remained middle of the road as New Mexico and the nation have moved to the left. New Mexicans, like most Americans, want: an end to the Iraq war, a responsible energy policy and more environmental protection. They also want leadership. Someone strong and someone daring. That is why (Domenici) has been so attractive because, despite what you may think of his policy choices, he is bold. Senator Bingaman is not bold. He has not taken a stab at leading us out of the mess the GOP has put us in. For most New Mexicans, he is another middle of the road Dem, comfortable in his DC office. That may have been fine 10 years ago. It's not fine now.

Bingaman was first elected in 1982 and has maintained a low-key style ever since. If there are a bunch of Jim's out there, perhaps we'll see the junior senator be more vocal, but we wouldn't bet our blogging pajamas on it.


Finally, from ABQ's South Valley, Andrew Leo Lopez chimes in about our blog mentioning the occupation of one of the contenders for the ABQ SE Heights city council seat. He says:

In New Mexico, a professor of Post Colonial Studies teaches current events!

Thanks, Andrew. And Long Live La Politica!

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