Thursday, January 24, 2008

US Senate Derby: Cash Parties For Udall & Pearce, Also: NM Prez Race; The Latest Action, And: Big Bill's Payback Time? 

Just because state law prohibits legislators from raising political money during a legislative session, it doesn't mean the campaign money machine goes into hibernation. For example, tonight at the Rio Chama restaurant right next to the Roundhouse, a group of lobbyists is hosting a high dollar reception for Rep. Tom Udall's campaign for the US Senate. They're not looking to fill the cheap seats either. Lobbyist-lawyer David Buchholtz, former Sandia Pueblo Guv Stuart Paisano, now with state economic development, and lobbyists Drew Setter and J.D.. Bullington are hosting the event and asking for a minimum donation of $500 and the maximum allowable--$2300--from reception "hosts."

It was a big dollar event for Steve Pearce in D.C. last night as he was feted by VP Dick Cheney. The Veep previously hosted a fundraiser for Rep. Heather Wilson who is is facing off with Pearce for the GOP US Senate nod. An Alligator peeked into the Pearce party and reported: "

It was a good crowd including several NM residents from across the state who came in for it. The VP was very enthusiastic for Pearce. He didn't mention there was a primary with Heather, only how important it was to win the seat and that Pearce would run a great race.

Thanks Potomac Gator. The Cheney event for Heather raised about $110,000. Preliminary estimates for the Pearce event is over $50,000 with some more to come. The weirdest aspect of the GOP senate campaign thus far has been the romancing of Cheney who is polling terribly, but remains popular with hard-core R's and still can raise a ton of money.


We broke the news that Pearce would be the first NM candidate to hit the TV airwaves, and his bio spot is still airing in the big ABQ market. You might ask, how is Heather reacting? Well, she has not answered Pearce on TV, but our reliable insiders tell us someone launched a "push" poll into NM GOP households around the same time Pearce went up on TV.

The poll provided negative information about Pearce and then asked Republicans who initially said they supported the southern NM congressman whether that was still the case after hearing the negative stuff. We don't know the issues used or whether Heather sponsored the survey, but it was out there and is a sign of things to come.


We told you yesterday Hillary would hit with NM TV. This spot went into heavy rotation Wednesday. It's a hard-hitter on the economy. Light Guv Denish said Hill will make as many as two or three visits to our state to campaign for the February 5th caucus. That's raising the stakes. Will Obama answer with more than one stop here?

Barack's backers made a show of force at the Capitol yesterday, announcing a group of New Mexican supporters. His big "get" was House Majority Leader Kenny Martinez. State Rep, Antonio Lujan of Cruces also signed up as did former ABQ Mayor Jim Baca and ABQ State Rep. Moe Maestas.

Obama has now hit the air with his second TV spot. Our TV insiders said it would be aimed at young voters. Well, kinda. It's about children's education.

Both Hill and Barack have good TV. It's a relief not to see the negative stuff, and you can only hope that it lasts. It is hitting home that we are seeing history in the making--either a woman or a black man is going to get the Dem nomination--and that's pretty heady stuff if you grew up during the civil rights struggle and/or the beginnings of the feminist movement. Or even if you didn't.

We don't often hit the campaign trail, but we'll be there for you when these two set down in our Land of Enchantment.


The R's may not have "rock stars" like the Dems, but they come close with Arizona Senator John McCain whose legendary time as a POW captures the imagination and respect of many young people. He has appeal here in his neighboring state and a NM match-up with Hill or Barack could mean a down-to-the-wire finish.


Is it payback time for Big Bill? Here's some Roundhouse chatter on the subject from our email box: "Now that the Guv is back from his presidential campaign, is it pay back time? Will he weed out the people who he thinks are not "team players?" Will state board and commission members who did not contribute the max to his campaign and/or "voluntarily" go to Iowa at their own expense be asked for their resignations so the Guv can appoint friendlier backers? The same with exempt personnel after the legislative session?


The Guv, once constantly mentioned as a possible Veep pick, now doesn't even merit a mention on the WaPo's latest list of top contenders. Still, he has an attractive resume that a Dem winner of the White House will at least take a glance at for a top job. If not veep or secretary of state, how about his old job as secretary of energy? Here's one news hound arguing that case.

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