Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Bill Diverts Troops To Iowa For Final Push; Plus: Di's Dollar Disclosure, And: Those Wacky Polls; We Look Again 

With the clock ticking ominously, Big Bill has decided to marshal his forces and descend on Des Moines. His Prez campaign announced Tuesday his Nevada staffers are being moved to Iowa, the state that will hold the first Prez caucus January 3 and where it now appears only an upset showing by the New Mexico Governor will keep his long shot bid alive. The Guv is polling at about the 7% level in Iowa.

The move is logical. If John Edwards is do or die in Iowa, why not Richardson? Although he is keeping staff in New Hampshire and campaigning there, the Guv will have no momentum if he does not shake up the Hawkeye State. He can do nothing less than go all in and hope for the unexpected and be there to take advantage.

Look on the bright side, Guv. If it all ends January 3, you will have plenty of time to write your State-of-the-State speech for the opening day of the Legislature! Now that is sure to cheer the Big Guy up on the dark winter nights to come.


Getting New Mexicans to brave the cold climes of Iowa is not easy under any circumstances, but with the caucus coming so close to the holidays some potential Bill Iowa volunteers are having second thoughts as we hear from one of those prospective volunteers.

"The Gov was seeking hundreds of New Mexicans to go to Iowa to help. I, along with all the other NM volunteers, cannot commit the December holidays to the weak Richardson campaign. That timing will hurt the candidates like Richardson who rely more on volunteers than paid workers that the big guys and girls can afford. I'll report back..."


Keeping your staff glued together can be a challenge when polling shows you going nowhere fast. So it is with the Guv. One national blog is going after him for kissing up to Hillary, asserting that a key Bill staffer is one of the reasons.

Richardson seems to have retooled himself into running hard for a spot on Clinton's ticket. In the recent debates, when others aggressively attacked Clinton, Richardson praised her and seemingly tried to fend off those candidates who did challenger her...The "Suck up to Hillary" strategy appears to be the brainchild of Richardson media consultant Steve Murphy. Murphy...would like to be picked-up for the Hillary entourage once Richardson is either crushed or The VP candidate. Whether it should be attributed to Murphy or others in the Richardson camp, Richardson is not acting these days like a real challenger...

Besides the ongoing Veep speculation, Bill has also been in the middle of the speculation over the open NM US Senate seat, insisting he is not running. Veteran insiders are still not willing to say if northern NM Dem US Rep. Tom Udall is coming in because they are hearing it out of Washington and not on the ground in NM, but those saying he is in say so with firm conviction. He would be joining ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez. Certainly, the candidates hoping to replace Udall in the House believe he is coming in; we're told one of them has already hired a couple of consultants.


Let's go back to Monday's blog on Udall and Chavez that drew plenty of reaction. The point was not that Udall should not do all in his power to "clear the field." The point is when you try to do it before you are 100% committed to the race, you look like you're afraid to get in unless another guy gets out. That's not an emotion you want to convey when seeking a U.S. Senate seat.

Once Udall gets in the long knives will come out to choke off Chavez's national cash and to tie up Dems to beat out the ABQ Mayor at the March pre-primary convention. That is expected when you are all suited up. But threatening to do it without actually getting in the game is a different story.

If Diane Denish can keep it up, perhaps "pay to play" politics will not loom quite as large over the state. The Light Guv has decided to release regular reports on her campaign fund-raising for the 2010 Guv's race, even though state law does not require regular disclosure until the election year. Her first report shows no five figure contribution. You can download the report here.

There is no limit on contributions here, but the largest one Denish reported taking was for $5,500 from the Dem Lt. Governor's Association. She also picked up Five Grand from Downs at Santa Fe owner and Big Bill pal Paul Blanchard. That contrasts with some of the huge donations we saw in last year's election.

Denish and other members of the Guv's ethics task force have been advocating limits on contributions and more open disclosure, but the politicians on the committee have ignored calls for them to set an example and voluntarily release information or limit their own contributions. The Light Guv is the first major candidate we can recall releasing a campaign report when not required, and is going to score political points, particularly with liberal Dems who have been the staunchest advocates of ethics reform.

Lady Di's war chest is healthy, showing about $1.2 million in cash and $260,000 in debt. She raised $221,000 in the quarter and spent $79,000. One of her larger expenditures was about $15,000 and went to the political consulting firm HildebrandTewes.

With the race for Guv starting four years before the election and millions set to be raised, the hole in the state law requiring little reporting is as big as the hole they made to build the Pit. Denish has done her part to fill it. Can our state lawmakers now pick up their shovels?


It took long enough, but we finally have an official GOP candidate in the race for the Steve Pearce US House seat. Restaurant owner and rancher Ed Tinsley of Captain sent out a press release Tuesday announcing his bid. He said the top issues in the southern congressional district are: "immigration reform and border security, health care, small business and family tax relief and the safety of Americans."

Interesting that the #1 issue in the USA--the no-end-in-sight Iraq war--is not mentioned. Pearce also did not emphasize the "I" word in his announcement for Senate.


More today on SurveyUSA's polling in the NM US Senate race. Pollster and consultant Harry Pavlides said the latest survey was a "stinker" because it was so widely divergent from SurveyUSA's early October poll. Hal Hensley was one of several readers to make this point:

...There is a legitimate argument regarding the effectiveness of the methodology, but Pavlides has no basis in saying this most recent poll is a "stinker." It could just as well be the previous poll was the "stinker." ...The most recent poll has a larger sample which would lead me to put more credence in its results, but the bottom line is: I would recommend waiting until Survey USA comes out with its next poll before determining what does or does not constitute a "stinker."

Pavlides responds that he is not happy with either SurveyUSA Senate polls because of the methodology. He says he believes the poll is most useful when it deals with candidates with exceptionally high name ID like Governor Big Bill and Senator Pete Domenici, but less reliable when measuring candidates not already very well-known by the general public.

"The results involving very well known candidates often does not diverge greatly between registered and non-registered voters because everyone, not only the more informed registered voters, is familiar with them." He said.


Survey USA asks by automatic phone call whether the respondent is registered to vote. There is no guarantee that the respondent is providing accurate information. Pavlides believes SurveyUSA will become more accurate as the campaign progresses because the difference in opinion between registered and non-registered persons will diminish as the Senate race becomes "high information." There is no way to know how many respondents are answering incorrectly when they say they are registered voters.

But even by the "very well known" standard, the latest poll seems askew as it gives Big Bill a 52% approval rating, his lowest ever and with no events to explain the drop. Despite the low approval, the poll says the Guv still trounces Wilson and Pearce with around 59% of the vote. Also, his approval rating is much higher in other polling. That's why they are calling this particular survey a stinker.

Pavlides said he agrees with Hensley that the SurveyUSA poll released this week is the more accurate of the two. It shows Chavez narrowly beating Wilson and Pearce. The first poll had Pearce beating Chavez by 18 points and losing to Wilson by four. But none of the politicos we spoke with are putting much stock in any of these numbers.

The problem is no NM or national news organization is currently polling the state with a firm scientific method--screening for registered voters and using live phone interviewers. Until we get that, SurveyUSA will be welcomed, but greeted with the proverbial grain of salt by the picky eaters of our cherished La Politica.


In Las Cruces Tuesday night, Democrat Ken Miyagishima appeared to have upset Republican Mayor Bill Mattiace by 74 votes out of 11,416 cast. Miyagishima received 5,745 votes, or 50.3 percent to Mattiace’s 5,671 votes, or 49.7 percent. If the results hold, the Mayors of NM's four largest cities--ABQ, Las Cruces, Santa Fe and Rio Rancho--will all be led by Dems.

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