Thursday, September 25, 2008

Republican Is Brand X For Ed Tinsley; See The Video, Plus: Fernando Resigns, And: R's Worry About Straight Party Voting 

A sure sign of our times is a move by a Republican candidate for Congress to make sure none of his campaign signs references the currently unpopular Republican Party. Southern GOP NM congressional hopeful Ed Tinsley went out of his way to drop all references to his party as he geared up for the general election. That was revealed in this video of Tinsley's wife, Meredith, who tells gathered volunteers: “When the primary was over all our signs had Republican on them, and we had to have everything totally redone without the Republican. All our stickers, everything." Here's the unusual video in which A GOP congressional campaign says R is Brand X.

Tinsley is locked in what appears to be a tight battle with Dem Harry Teague for the right to succeed Steve Pearce in the southern seat. Both Pearce and Tinsley are now at saturation level on TV. Dems outnumber R's in the 2nd CD, but many of them cross over to vote for the conservative R in the congressional race. Teague is working to avoid being pegged as a liberal by Tinsley. That may be a much easier task than Ed trying to avoid being tagged a Republican. That video of Tinsley's wife was first revealed by the Politico's Josh Kraushaar.


Ed Tinsley is sure to have some good days on the campaign trail, but Wednesday wasn't one of them. Besides the embarrassing video, the Capitol Hill newspaper, The Hill, came with this item that could hurt Tinsley's small biz credentials which he has been touting on the trail:

...Tinsley (R) testified before Congress in July 2004 on behalf of an initiative he created for his restaurant employees that he said resulted in increased tip reporting. But earlier that year, the charter for the program had been forfeited.

Tinsley, owner of chain restaurant K-Bob’s, launched the K-Care program several years ago as a way to reduce a high rate of staff turnover. K-Care matched reported tips with a 5 percent contribution to a mutual fund in a 401(k)-like program. But while Tinsley sang the program’s praises,it apparently was in forfeiture in Texas, according to documents obtained by The Hill.

You can tell the private eyes have been on Tinsley's tail, as they probably have on Harry's. There could be some more of this kind of stuff from both sides as we head into October.


After all that Ed Tinsley trouble, we have to get Harry Teague in here. Harry, Ed says in his new TV ad that you are anti-gun, a liberal, a lover of high taxes and you don't want to support our troops in Iraq. And he says it all in 30 seconds and sounds like a friendly anchorman doing it. So there, Harry. Have a bad day, just like Ed.


A longtime R says one of his chief worries this cycle is strength at the top of the ticket. "We don't have Senator Domenici running, or any incumbent House members. A strong Republican at the top of the ticket has always given Democrats a reason to split their ticket in New Mexico. We have to be more concerned about straight party voting this year," analyzed Barry Bitzer who we exchanged thoughts with at a Women in Communications lunch Wednesday. Bitzer was a top aide to Rep. Steve Schiff. He now works in advertising and PR with DW Turner.

Also on the panel moderated by columnist Gene Grant was University of Mexico poly sci professor Lona Atkeson who said the outlying areas of the ABQ congressional district may not play as pivotal role as in years past. She said the Democrats may finally be positioned to take the seat by wracking up big totals in the city of ABQ, totals big enough to overcome Republican power in Torrance County and parts of Sandoval and Valencia. Atkeson ranks the race between Dem Martin Heinrich and Republican Darren White as a toss-up.


It's a down-ballot race, but the contest for the ABQ area Public Regulation Commission seat is drawing the attention of politicos because they can't say who is going to win it. The incumbent is Dem Jason Marks, chairman of the PRC, who is being challenged by well-known Bernalillo County Commissioner Tim Cummins. It is an area that often leans R, but Marks managed to take it four years ago. Insiders say Cummins is concerned about straight party voting in what could be a strong Dem year.

C de Baca
Embattled GOP Bernalillo County Chairman Fernando C de Baca gave every indication when Wednesday started that he could very well resign his post after meeting again with his executive committee, but as night fell the 70 year old party warhorse, to the chagrin of those at NM GOP Headquarters was still on the job and vowing to stay. There was no meeting. The pressure has been growing on Fernando ever since he said Hispanics would not vote for blacks in New Mexico because the Spanish settlers were conquerors and the African Americans here were slaves. We have one of the Alligators tracking the action.

"Fernando was ready to resign when he appeared on KKOB radio in the morning, but later he received a phone call from an executive committee member who had previously supported him but was now urging him to resign. That set him off and convinced him to dig in and resolve to stay on. The thinking is that the incident will die down in a couple of days."

NM GOP Chairman Allen Weh and Sen. Pete Domenici have both called on Fernando to resign. Weh claims he has the power to oust C de Baca, but instead of using that power has talked of sending a delegation of prominent R's to call on Fernando and get him to call it quits.

What Weh can't afford to do is to keep this story in the news. For example, if Weh stripped C de Baca of his chairmanship, C de Baca could challenge his authority and attempt to call a meeting of the Bernalillo County GOP Central Committee. It would be a meeting that would draw unwelcome and intense press coverage for the state party and C de Baca's questionable remarks, which he says were taken out of context by the BBC blogger who first reported them. For the time being, Fernando is on the job and plans to stay. Dems could try to use his remarks and his refusal to resign as campaign ammo, and they just might.


Meanwhile, ABQ GOP State Rep. Janice Arnold Jones came with a statement of support for the under-the-gun Fernando:

Keep in mind that everyone who deals with the media is misquoted to some extent at some point. What is most important is the man and his character. In my experience with Fernando C de Baca, he has always treated people with the utmost respect and deference regardless of role, position, ethnicity, or influence...

Someone apparently did not like Janice's statement. A "robo-call" was being heard in ABQ Wednesday night attacking her for her support. No word on who is responsible for that call. That's brave, no?


Thanks to Jerry Walker and the folks at the Independent Community Bankers Association of NM for having us to several events recently, including a gathering last night, to speak about La Politica. Ditto for Jane Blume and the membership of the NM Association of Women in Communications and Steve Anaya and the Realtors Association of NM, both of which we appeared before recently....It's the busy season around here, and we're glad to have you with us.

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