Monday, December 03, 2007

Hillary Teases Bill On VP; New Prez Polls Shake Race, Plus: The ABQ House Seat; What's Up? We Udpate, And: TV News; The Latest Ratings & Latest Faces 

The trouble with the Richardson for President campaign is that it is often the "Richardson for Senate" campaign, the" Richardson for Vice President" campaign or the "Richardson for Secretary of State" campaign." Hillary Clinton did nothing to clear things up for the NM Governor in Iowa over the weekend. She teased him mightily about possibly winning a place on the 2008 Democratic ticket.

At the Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum, one of the only campaign events that allows candidates to question each other, the New Mexico governor mentioned Bill Clinton's old job in Arkansas and lobbed her a jokey softball:
"Don't you think governors make good Presidents?" he asked. Clinton replied, "Well, Bill, I think they also make good vice presidents." The audience roared, and Richardson was briefly left speechless.

Not that Big Bill should be displeased about being mentioned as the nation's # 2. What's that? Chopped liver? But the ongoing speculation about Richardson being something other than President is not helping him advance. The latest poll released Sunday--the one everyone watches--the Des Moines Register survey--has the NM Guv at 9%. That is not close to third place, the position he says he must have to advance his campaign. Ironically, the Guv is polling much better in New Hampshire which has its primary five days after the January 3 Iowa caucuses. But if he comes out of Iowa in fourth, he will have no momentum and fade fast going into New Hampshire.

Richardson is telling interviewers that it's over if he doesn't pull off a third place showing in either Iowa or New Hampshire. That means Bill could be delivering his State of the State address to the NM Legislature January 15th as a former presidential candidate, but based on Hillary's musings he could still be quite an active candidate for VP. And what about an Obama-Big Bill ticket? What would Oprah think?


ABQ Dem congressional candidate Martin Heinrich made a point of telling us he remains neutral in the Dem US Senate race between Rep. Tom Udall and ABQ Mayor Mary Chavez. We blogged that Heinrich was on hand for the Udall announcement at the Hispanic Cultural Center Thursday and made it clear that he had not endorsed anyone. Still, Heinrich wanted to say he was meeting with center honcho Clara Apodaca and "happened upon" the Udall announcement, but did not plan to attend.

Former ABQ City Councilor Heinrich faces attorney Michelle Lujan Grisham and ex=Assistant AG Jon Adams. One of Heinrich's challenges is to prevent Grisham from consolidating the Hispanic vote. Heinrich frequently clashed with Chavez when serving as a city councilor and is more philosophically in tune with the liberal Udall. Grisham was also at the Udall event shaking hands. She has not endorsed either Chavez or Udall.

Adams tells me he is thinking about getting out of the Dem ABQ congressional race and joining the one up north for Udall's open US House seat. Adams was raised in Los Alamos which is in the northern district.


Even though the ABQ congressional seat has a large Dem registration advantage over the R's, it has never swung Dem. Again this cycle, the national media has it on its watch list. Here's the WaPo's early take:

This district is hard to figure. Rep. Heather Wilson (R), who is running for the Senate, was a perennial target of Democrats and Sen. Kerry won it in 2004 with 51 percent of the vote. And yet, Republicans are very optimistic about their chances while Democrats are noticeably reticent. Some of that has to do with the candidacy of Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White (R) who is widely regarded as a superstar-in-waiting by national GOPers. A poll conducted for White showed him with a wide lead in the primary...

Darren as "superstar?" Well, let's see some points on the board first and also see how he handles the primary challenge from State Senator Joe Carraro.

The buzz on the 1st CD race is nothing like it was two years ago when Dem Patricia Madrid lost to Wilson by less than a thousand votes. The D's have much work to do to get their own excited about this race. None of the Dems running is anywhere near as known as White. That will change, but until then the buzz is muted.

Both Heinrich and Lujan Grisham are positioned to get enough preprimary convention support to win spots on the June primary ballot. The entrance of another serious Hispanic candidate could change that for Grisham, but the pros see it as unlikely; the key word being "serious." Heinrich has raised a good bundle of money--over 300K--but he has also already spent over 100k. Insiders say Grisham has raised around $50,000.

Shelly Ribando
Carla Aragon's swan song could not keep KOB-TV from slipping to an unaccustomed third place finish in the November 10 p.m. news ratings. KRQE-TV finished in its now usual first, garnering a 10.2 rating. KOAT-TV did not improve on its May numbers, but its 6.8 rating was enough to slip into second place over KOB which dropped to a 5.9, due in part to the weakness of the NBC network. These ratings are courtesy of TV insiders. The final numbers may vary a bit, but not the rankings.

There are 677,740 households in the ABQ market which takes up much of the state and is now the 44th largest in the USA. A 10.2 rating for CBS affiliate KRQE means of all the households owning a TV, 10.2% of them are watching a part of their 10 p.m. news. That means about 69,000 households are tuning in.

In addition to the departure of KOB news anchor Aragon, the New Mexico native who gave an emotional farewell to the TV news scene Friday night, KOAT anchor Cynthia Izaguirre is giving up her chair. She is headed back to Dallas. Replacing Izaguirre December 20th is Shelly Ribando, a TV news veteran out of Orlando, Florida where she anchored the 10 p.m. news for the Fox affiliate. She did not compete directly with the the big three network affiliates, which on the East coast air their late news at 11 p.m. The Orlando TV market is ranked #19 in the USA, but in switching to the smaller ABQ market Ribando will be serving as a main anchor on a big three affiliate.


With Carla's departure there is no native New Mexicans anchoring evening TV news which we'll miss for the local feel. We do have seasoned veterans, however, including TV news dean Dick Knipfing, 64, and in the game here for 44 years. His co-anchor Erika Ruiz is also building up the years as is KRQE anchor Deanna Sauceda. KOB's Tom Joles has been in the anchor chair for over 15 years. TV reporters with decades of NM reporting under their belts include KOB's Stuart Dyson, KRQE's Larry Barker and KOAT's Rod Green who was a KOB anchor back in the 70's.

The audience is shrinking for all mass media, but TV news remains the go-to medium when the big stories hit. The political community will be watching closely how the stations handle televised debates and coverage of the busy 2008 election year. TV news personnel may be more nomadic than ever but viewers are still attracted to the anchors and reporters who know their area best, or try the hardest in getting to know it.


It is just plain crazy at ABQ City Hall where a new council president will be chosen tonight. The thing has been going back and forth behind the scenes. Who will get it? We'll keep you posted.

News? Comments? Political gossip? Send it our way.

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