Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hoping Against Hope; Underdogs Face Final Hours, Plus: Our Big Round-Up Of Home Stretch Campaign News On Your Thursday Blog 

Underdogs--McCamley, Dunn & Wiviott
With the pros now forecasting a light--some say very light turnout--for Primary Election 2008, underdog candidates for the three open NM congressional seats are doing their best to keep hope alive. They hope that an unpredictable turnout could turn the polls upside down. Much of the attention remains in the south, where GOP polling frontrunner Ed Tinsley is trying to close out a volatile US House contest against four challengers. Wednesday, the National Restaurant Association, which Tinsley used to head, came with $200,000 in independent money to help him do just that. On the Dem side Hobbs oilman Harry Teague, leading Dona Ana County Commissioner Bill McCamley, is taking no chances and pumped another $80,000 of his own cash into the campaign. He topped that off with an endorsement from Big Bill.

Tinsley appears to have a strong beachhead in populous Dona Ana County, but well-financed challengers Aubrey Dunn and Monty Newman are alive and fighting as we head into the final hours. Their strength is in areas that could prove to have a higher turnout than the areas where Tinsley is strong. At least that's their hope.

Dem McCamley came with a hit piece on fellow Dem Teague, comparing him in a TV ad with another oilman--George Bush. Teague's personal money--now over $765,000 into the effort-- combined with the Big Bill stamp of approval, give him an advantage that he hopes is overwhelming.

Big Bill's news release endorsements of Teague and Dem Northern congressional candidate Ben Ray Lujan was anxiously awaited by the Lujan camp which has a tiger on its tail in the form of multimillionaire Santa Fe developer Don Wiviott. He has put up $1.3 million of his own cash. No opponent with that kind of money is going to be counted out until the last votes are counted, although campaign polls show Lujan holding a lead that is outside the margin of error. The large number of undecided voters is keeping everyone on high alert.


Here in Albuquerque, Dem congressional hopeful Michelle Lujan Grisham checks in to say the insiders saying she has cut back her TV buy for the final days don't have it right. "We are not cutting back, we are increasing it," she contended. Still, she has to increase her polling numbers which currently have her in third place with a lot of ground to make up.

Former NM Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron, running second to frontrunner Martin Heinrich, had some bad press from her SOS days Wednesday when a federal audit was released qustioning advertising spending, but she was still plugging away on the campaign trail. She e-mailed supporters this message:

The latest poll shows us that 29% of voters are still undecided and after being outspent 7-1 by our opponent we are only 10 percentage points behind in the polls. Your contribution is CRUCIAL to our GOTV effort this last week of the campaign and I believe you can give me the edge I need.


With only hours to go, they're throwing everything at it:

Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has earned a reputation as "The Toughest Sheriff in America," today endorsed Republican Aubrey Dunn for Congress in New Mexico's Second Congressional District. Of all the candidates in this race, Aubrey Dunn is the strongest on the issue of protecting our border," Sheriff Arpaio said.


Right on schedule, that mug shot of Roswell GOP State Rep. Dan Foley from when he was arrested last year for interfering with the cops at his son's basketball game is popping up in voters' mailboxes. (Click to enlarge) Foley rival Dennis Kintigh is throwing the kitchen sink at the lawmaker, and Foley is throwing it back. Oh yeah, Roswell rocks.


Here's a list of very recent big money contributors to the campaign of ABQ GOP congressional candidate Darren White, many of whom apparently ponied up for this week's Los Ranchos fundraiser featuring President Bush on behalf of the Bernalillo County sheriff.


Here's the picture the Ben Ray Lujan campaign has wanted. Big Bill's endorsement of the young Lujan's campaign will keep the Guv's relationship with Lujan's father, NM House speaker Ben Lujan, on track. Richardson will also benefit as Lujan is the likely winner and Bill, a lame-duck who can't seek re-election, could take some credit for the victory. I don't ever recall a sitting Governor issuing an endorsement in a contested congressional primary. Maybe one of our oldtimers does. Expect to see the endorsement featured in Lujan's final TV as well as a mailer.


We had some fun with our lead on the Pearce-Wilson TV debate Wednesday, likening Heather to a dominatrix in the way she dominated Steve. Several national reporters told us they thought it was a fun lead. But what we think is entertaining isn't always universal, as we heard from a number of readers. Gwyneth Doland was among the most passionate:

Have you lost your MIND? Joe, I love your blog and I read it every day... but you have CROSSED THE LINE with this dominatrix schtick. That kind of blatant sexist stereotyping does your blog a disservice...Do yourself a favor and retract it.

Well, instead of a retraction, our traditional punishment of ten lashes with a wet noodle will be administered--minus the dominatrix. Ouch, ouch...


It's always a blow when you don't get the endorsement of your hometown newspaper. Southern GOP NM congressional candidate Monty Newman knows the feeling, although he did walk away with something when the Hobbs News-Sun made their endorsement. The paper gave a “dual choice endorsement” on to both Ed Tinsley and Hobbs’ hometown son Newman. The News-Sun cited concern over “the nearly $1 million being spent by the National Association of Realtors on Newman’s behalf, a significant amount by one special interest group for a single candidate.” The paper also mentioned that Ed Tinsley’s “background gives him an edge on being able to fully represent the entire district compared to the rest of the field.”


No ABQ Journal poll of the southern congressional races. The paper will come Sunday with a poll of the GOP US Senate race. SurveyUSA will release a Senate poll on KOB-TV the day before the Tuesday election. Remember, our KANW 89.1 FM coverage of Primary Election Night begins at 6:30 Tuesday. We'll stream it on the net for you, too, with a link here to take you to the stream.


We miss the horses--the ones in the TV ads of Republican Ed Tinsley and Dem Ben Ray Lujan. They seem to have given way to all that nasty attack stuff. So we break from it by having Tinsley blog in about his favorite mount featured on NM TV screens.

The horse is named Reckless Creation, RC for short...I bought him in 1992...He pastures in front of the ranch office with two other saddle horses, Baby Doll and Badger. He is getting some age on him, but still is full of energy and excitement. He and I have been all over our ranch...We understand each other well and he knows the country. My favorite times are to saddle him, and have my dogs, Klickitat and Riggs, follow us across the ranch. My birthday ritual is to saddle up and head out with the dogs..Meredith (Tinsley's wife) packs a lunch and meets me on the far side of the ranch..Nothing like being on him when the thunder rolls, clouds come in, and rain hits in the trees and on the rocks. About the closest I can get to heaven on earth."

And he wants to leave that for Washington?

E-mail it in--news, comments, political gossip, corrections and criticisms. We're interested.

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