Friday, March 07, 2008

First Hits In Southern Congress Battle: Plus: Sparks Fly On Both Sides In ABQ Contest: Pressure Mounting As June Primary Comes Into Sight 

Dunn attack piece
The first volleys of negative fire have been heard from the congressional campaigns now that we are less than 90 days away from the June 3rd primary. In the GOP battle for the Southern US House seat, war cries of "Santa Fe Liberal" are being shouted at Lincoln County rancher Ed Tinsley from fellow rancher Aubrey Dunn, Jr. Tinsley's campaign, citing Dunn's penchant for changing his voter registration, retorts that Ed is a Republican of "conviction" and Aubrey is a Republican for "convenience."

The hand of Roswell State Senator "Lightning" Rod Adair is present in the Dunn campaign where our Alligators say he is serving as a consultant. Dunn's hit pieces against Tinsley (click on the image to enlarge) were recently mailed to southern GOP voters. It calls him a Santa Fe liberal because the Lincoln County rancher also has a second home in Santa Fe. Dunn also claims Tinsley, a former head of the National Restaurant Association, is soft on the hot button issue of immigration. Tinsley's camp says:

"Given Dunn's lack of commitment to the Republican party and the operatives he hired to sling mud, it's no surprise that he has chosen to divide the party with a false and negative personal campaign."

They say Dunn was registered as a Democrat in 1983, a Republican in 1996, an independent in February of 2007 and back to Republican in October of '07. They also point out Dunn gave money to Big Bill's Dem Prez run. Dunn says he did that because he was hoping Bill would beat Hillary.

Dunn and Tinsley have each given their campaigns hundreds of thousands in personal loans. Meantime, the camp of Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman is enjoying the food fight. They say he has now raised about $150,000 and can now present himself as the peaceful GOP alternative. The same goes for affable Earl Greer, another well-known R wanting this one.

Tinsley and Dunn have the money to go the distance and are the leading hopefuls for the June primary. Newman and Greer need to raise more if they are going to compete on television in May.


The R's seeking their party's nomination for the ABQ congressional seat are also making some hay. State Senator Joe Carraro, running against Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White, is claiming that there was "vote-buying" at the recent Bernalillo County GOP convention which selected delegates to the March 15th statewide pre-primary nominating convention. Carraro indicates that it was White and US Senate candidate Heather Wilson doing the alleged vote-buying, but he has produced no hard evidence to back up the charges. White told KKOB-AM radio: "(Carraro's) allegations are "nutty charges from a sore loser." To the delight of Democrats, Carraro has been urging an official investigation by the attorney general.

Meanwhile, politicos on the West Side are still talking about the possibility of Carraro again seeking his state senate seat. Carraro has repeatedly said he is leaving the senate and even gave a farewell speech. But that and the fact that two Republicans have already announced for the seat hasn't quieted speculation that Carraro could decide to fold his congressional effort and on March 18th--filing day for the legislative seats--announce that he will run for re-election to the senate. In this case, time truly will tell the tale.


And if you think things are getting wild on the GOP side, how about Dem northern congressional candidate Jon Adams accusing rival Don Wiviott of holding "bribery dinners" for delegates going to the March 15th state Dem pre-primary convention?

"(Today) at 6:30 p.m. at the Hill Diner in Los Alamos, there is going to be yet another one of these "bribe the delegates" dinners. Apparently Wiviott has invited all 22 delegates elected at the Los Alamos County Convention to a free dinner." Informs Adams.

Wiviott's campaign says it does not take the charge seriously and it is another in a series of what they call "bizarre" accusations. But being the intrepid investigative reporter you know me to be, I explored further. We determined that the most expensive item on the Hill Diner's menu is the $10.99 double chicken fried steak. Now, Friday night is "Rib Night" at the Hill Diner and we don't know the price for that.

Would you sell your vote for a $10.99 double chicken fried steak? OK. You don't have to answer. (Please call Don or Jon, not us, for directions to tonight's dinner.)

And, depending on the source, it was either $30 a vote or $35 an hour that Carraro says someone was giving to buy votes at the GOP county convention. Heck, on that amount a Republican couldn't get past the appetizer menu at the Hyatt.


It has been kind of quiet as former city councilor Martin Heinrich has collected over $500,000 for his Dem run for the ABQ congressional seat. He has four challengers who have been low-key, but Heinirch foe and trial attoney Robert Pidcock is ready to break the ice. He told us that he has examined Heinirch's employment history and background and concluded:

"Martin Heinrich is unqualified to be a congressman. He lacks the necessary employment history and life experience. That needs to be said now because if he is the Democratic nominee the Republicans will tear him apart limb by limb."

Voters can look at the candidates' respective Web sites to make up their minds on who is or isn't qualified. For Pidcock and the other challengers--Rebecca Vigil-Giron, Michelle Lujan Grisham and Jessica Wolfe--time and money are fast becoming issues as they work to upset Heinrich's chances.

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