Thursday, August 07, 2008

Sixty Days Before First Votes Cast: Where Does NM Prez Race Stand? Plus: Conspiracy Buffs Have Heather Returning, And: Even More Fresh Campaign Stuff 

With just sixty days before absentee voting gets underway, the NM presidential race seems up in the air. National pundits are scoring the state "lean Obama" but not with much confidence. Obama has opened 17 field offices here and insiders say they would not be surprised to see more. Both national parties are spending heavy, with the Dems estimated to have already pumped in $500,000 and the R's almost an equal amount.

(The National Journal reports McCain's campaign spent $25K on NM TV for the week of 7/29-8/4. From 8/5-8/11, the Republican is spending nothing.)

Reports from the heavily Democratic and Hispanic north spell some trouble for Obama, with politicos saying the race issue looms large. Obama backers here want him to tamp it down by traveling to one of the Spanish counties such as San Miguel. They also worry about churches in the north hammering the Dem contender on abortion and gay marriage as they did John Kerry who lost the state to Bush in 2004. Obama narrowly won the north but lost the state to Hillary Clinton in the February Dem prez caucus. There is talk this week of her trying to make a comeback at the Denver convention. One group still pushing her is called "Party Unity My Ass."

We asked veteran pollster and Dem consultant Harry Pavlides to give us a prep sheet for the presidential battle to come.

McCain should carry the southern congressional district big, by 20,000 to 30,000 votes. The north belongs to Obama but there is an issue over his margin. If Hispanics are not turned on to him, it will shrink. The race will be decided by blue-collar Democrats and Independents. The key swing areas where these voters live are: the ABQ NE Heights east of San Mateo to Eubank; on the west side of ABQ in the Taylor Ranch area; the city of Rio Rancho and the Bellamah district in south central Las Cruces in Dona Ana County.

Pavlides said voter turnout should follow the historical pattern, with the most votes as a percentage of those registered being cast in the ABQ metro, followed by the north and then the south.

He agrees if the election were held today, Obama would win. However, he believes McCain is not out of the race, not by a long shot.

McCain will not have the field organization that Obama has, but his vote is more likely to go to the polls without prodding. Also, some "old guard" Dems in rural NM e-mail us about their resentment of the newcomers who have flooded into the state for Obama. Ruffled feathers will need to be smoothed.

Obama's campaign here seems to hinge on getting new and younger voters to the polls. The current composition of NM's electorate may be too conservative for Obama. Even a Dem who ran as a moderate--Al Gore--barely managed a victory here. Maybe Obama will break out once voters get to know him better, but as things stand today, McCain, with appeal to veterans, Hispanics and conservative Dems, appears poised to at least make it to the late rounds.


It's all field all the time for Obama. The man heading up the organization here is Brent Messenger who did similar work for the candidate in California and Nevada. Here's a video of Messenger explaining himself and his politics.


The first paid electronic media of the fall campaign mentioning ABQ Dem congressional candidate Martin Heinrich is negative. The conservative group "Freedoms Watch" is on the radio airwaves, hitting Heinrich on oil drilling. The group is heavily funded by Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson and is targeting Dem candidates around the country. Heinrich recently said he is not against offshore drilling if it can be done in an enviornmentally safe way, even though many of the groups who support him are against it. In response to the radio bashing, Heinrich's campaign said: "The ad is paid for by fat cat Republican donors with close ties to George Bush. They want Darren White in Congress because they know he supports a radical big oil agenda that has resulted in record profits for oil companies."

You can hear the anti-Heinrich ad on the Huffington Post blog where you will also see speculation about Darren getting out of the ABQ congressional race and Heather Wilson coming back in! The rumor mill has been having fun with this one for the past week--especially because White has been sidelined with a back injury--but it was all below the radar--until now. Adding to the delight of the conspiracy theorists is the scheduled GOP State Central Committee meeting August 14 where, theoretically, the switch could be made. Is this plausible? Whatever. But it is adding spice to the campaign during these languid August days. By the way, conspiracy junkies, the last day for a candidate to withdraw from the general election is September 3. Darren has scheduled a news conference for today, where he will discuss his bad back, among other matters, including health care.


There was no ganging up on frontrunner Ben Ray Lujan at the first appearance by all four contenders for the northern congressional seat. Dem Lujan, R Dan East and independent candidates Carol Miller and Ron Simmons tackled the energy issue, but not each other. The northern campaign is Lujan's to lose. R East is showing some spunk, pushing for more joint appearances with Lujan. He could help drive some R turnout in the Four Corners and east side. But this deal is nothing like 1997 when Dem Eric Serna was defeated in a special US House election by Republican Bill Redmond with then Green Party member Carol Miller playing spoiler. It would serve Lujan well to show up for as many of the joint appearances as possible. Limiting himself only gives his foes an opening, while showing up shows he has the confidence to be the congressman.


The major campaigns haven't shown much imagination yet in garnering voter attention during the slow summer months. But we think we spotted an exception Wednesday. State Dems announced:

"Santa Fe Mayor David Coss will present Ed Tinsley, candidate for the 2nd Congressional District, with a Santa Fe Resident of the Month Award...Tinsley will be recognized for his outstanding service to Santa Fe, including his tenure on the board of the Valle National Park...

Tinsley, a Lincoln County rancher and owner of the K-Bobs restaurant chain, has been chided for having a second home in the swank Las Campanas neighborhood of Santa Fe, and for spending a considerable time there instead of in the southern district. He faces Dem Harry Teague who hopes the carpetbagger issue will help keep his hopes alive in the conservative district. Ed's campaign calls the Santa Fe ceremony "a silly stunt." But it did get some attention, and that's the measuring stick.


We mentioned several foundations Wednesday that political insiders point to as possible source of funds for the nonprofit groups spending big money in NM legislative races this year. But a spokesman for Lt. Gov. Diane Denish says the Daniels Fund, which was mentioned as a possibility and on whose board Denish sits, is not one of them. "No money from Daniels has gone to the nonprofit groups. In fact, several prominent Republicans sit on its board." Said the spokesman.

The non-profits are aligned with the left-wing of the Democratic Party. The explosion of nonprofits on the state political scene has generated heat. The reporting requirements for the groups leave the press and public in the dark as to who is donating to them until well after the election. And contributions are tax deductible. The nonprofits could lose that status if it is shown they are pursuing a partisan political agenda.


KRQE remains the 10 p.m. news leader in the big ABQ market as we prepare for the onslaught of the paid political. The CBS affiliate scored a 7.7 rating in July. KOAT was second with 6.7 and KOB was close behind with a 6.6 rating. The rating is the percentage of households with TV that are tuned in. For example, KRQE's 7.7 rating means of all the homes owning TV sets, 7.7% of them are tuned to the station's 10 p.m. news.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Darren, We've Got Your Back, Plus: Another State Senator Hit By Nonprofit Groups; Will They Show Us The Money? And: The Hippies Make A Comeback 

Darren White
The bad news for Darren White is that his injured back will keep him off the campaign trail for at least "a few weeks." The good news is that it's August, not October. The ABQ GOP congressional hopeful and Bernalillo County Sheriff was released from the hospital after a one week stay after falling off a treadmill while exercising. He struck a humorous note (or tried to) to announce the campaign setback. He had his dog, Trixie, write a letter (click on image) to supporters explaining the problem.

"Darren's back injury is a big problem even though he is now out of the hospital. First, he won't be able to run around and play fetch with me for several weeks. Second, and almost as important, it means he can't go walking door-to-door and meet voters for a few weeks. So I am pitching in."

Well, it truly is the dog days of summer at Darren's place. But on a more serious note, just what is wrong with White's back? One of our Alligators has the inside story:

He basically hurt the same part of his back that he hurt last time. (White had a 1998 bike crash.) Nothing broken, but the muscles got swollen and were pinching on the nerves. They had to let the swelling go down. The MRI didn't show anything drastic, perhaps a stress fracture, but the doctor is not too sure about that yet. Wants to keep monitoring him...It was a really bad accident on the treadmill...

Surgery is always a possibility with a back injury, but the White camp has made no mention of it.

The issue now is uncertainty. White, 45, expects to be back on the trail in "a few weeks" but politicos will be monitoring closely to see how he recovers and whether health will become an issue in the ABQ contest. White's next major event appears to be with US Rep. Tom Cole, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. He's slated to join White in Albuquerque next Monday for a roundtable with Native American leaders.

Not to worry, though. If for some reason Darren can't carry the baton to the finish line, Heather Wilson is tanned and rested and still in the ABQ congressional seat. Stand by, Heather.

Meanwhile, ignore the speculation that Dem Martin Heinrich's new campaign slogan is: "He's Got The Backbone For The Job." We're sure that can't be true.


Lee & Sen. Snyder
ABQ GOP State Senator Diane Snyder says she is the latest legislator to get hit by nonprofit groups peddling a progressive platform, but refusing to release to the public a detailed list of their contributors and other financial backers. Snyder, in a fierce race with Democrat Tim Eichenberg, writes to her supporters:

"I understand that some non-profits under the guise of public education have been mailing direct mail pieces into Senate District 15 that attack me on my "supposed" voting record. The one that I have seen is a complete distortion of what occurred and what I said. Please understand that I am never opposed to talking about, discussing or being held accountable for my votes and my actions. But I do not like having half-truths, distortions and out-and-out lies distributed."

Three defeated Dem legislators--Robinson, Silva and Taylor--filed a lawsuit seeking to nullify the June primary results because of what they claimed to be illegal involvement by the nonprofits. The groups, including the Center for Civic Policy operating under the direction of political operative Eli Lee, say they will file required reports with the IRS. But Lee and company are bringing huge money into these legislative races, and claiming their activity does not comprise campaigning so they don't have to file detailed reports as candidates do. It's a stretch--a big stretch, says Attorney General King who has asked the secretary of state to require one of the groups to file detailed state reports. King could decide to investigate further. He could be joined by the US attorney for NM since the issue is whether the groups are abusing their nonprofit status.

What is killing the nonprofits PR wise is the whiff of hypocrisy. Lee and Matt Brix, policy director for Lee's sister organization, Center for Civic Action, insist that they are working to clean up New Mexico politics, but by refusing to disclose their funding--voluntarily--and using the letter of the law to hide behind, they are acting like the wayward politicos they claim to police.

Speculation over the funding for the NM based nonprofits includes billionaire liberal George Soros and Taco Bell heir Rob McKay.We might find out from their IRS form 990's if these groups gave money, but it may not be reported for months. And then there are all the individual contributions. We can't get at those. The paranoia and mistrust would end if only the nonprofits would completely report their funding sources. What's stopping them?


Take a gander at GOP US Senate contender Steve Pearce's full-page ABQ Journal ad featuring a blast from the past--those lovable hippies. (Click image to enlarge.) How long has it been since we've seen or written that word. Well, the seniors remember, but they'll probably feel more nostalgic than fearful when they see this pic knocking Dem Tom Udall's positions in the pages of their morning fish wrappers.

Are they stuffing the ballot boxes over at Steve Pearce's place? A reader notes that the presidential poll Pearce is conducting on his site has Obama trouncing McCain, with the Illinois senator garnering over 95% of the vote. Maybe it's all those Udall staffers checking in to see what Steve is up to.


After weeks of bobbing and weaving, the powers-that-be finally confirm the original speculation from our Alligators that Big Bill chief of staff James Jimenez will become the new city manager of Rio Rancho, pending city council approval. That's expected tonight. Thanks for the memories, James.


Some Republicans were ribbing us in the e-mail Tuesday after reading of our $250 contribution to help send 19 year old Sean Stimmel of Los Alamos to the Dem national convention in Denver. Attorney Doug Antoon put the needle in this way: "Joe, I was wondering if you would give me $250 to help me get to the national Republican convention? Even spare change will do. Equal treatment and all that other stuff, ya know. Please mail check asap..."

Funny, Doug. But as they said in Vaudeville: "If I had your money, I'd burn mine." As for equal treatment, we're more than happy to help a financially struggling Republican make it to the GOP convention, but the last we looked that political species was as rare as hen's teeth.

E-mail it in---your news, comments, criticism, existential angst and other thoughts on our life and times.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Blog Steps In To Send Young Delegate To Dem Convention, Plus: Pearce Up With First TV And: Darren's Back; What's the Story? 

Blogger & Sean Stimmel
The youngest ever NM delegate to a national Democratic convention will be able to soak it all in without worrying about credit card bills. "New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan" presented 19 year old Sean Stimmel with a $250.00 check upon learning from the Los Alamos Monitor that his trip to Denver was jeopardized by a lack of funds. The contribution, which will help Sean pay his hotel bill at the Denver Crowne Plaza where the state delegation will stay, was made possible by the advertisers of www.joemonahan.com.

"This is my first experience with politics and it is one of the most exciting things ever for me. Thanks to the blog for helping make it happen," said Stimmel as he accepted the check and posed for pics by photog Mark Bralley as well as his mom, Marcy.

NM Democratic Party chairman Brian Colon said it has been a fast moving few months for the Los Alamos native, culminating in his being selected as an alternate delegate to the national confab: "Sean went from being a curious supporter to a dedicated volunteer and delegate to the Democratic National Convention. It's exciting that for Sean this is his first time voting in a Presidential election."

Stimmel, who turns 20 on the first day of the convention, has already campaigned for Obama in South Dakota. His hope is to someday meet the presidential contender in person. He hopes La Politica will play a role in his future, but he will soon start classes at NM Tech at Socorro where he will study pre-veterinary medicine. But for now it's his political skills that will be getting attention, "I hope I can meet with young delegates who supported Hillary Clinton and perhaps smooth over any hard feelings," said Stimmel and sounding every bit the future politico.

We wish Sean the best in Denver and are pleased that, along with our advertisers, we can play a small part in encouraging the next generation of New Mexicans to pursue public service. While there is no obligation attached to the donation, we do expect him to blog in and share with you some of the insider details of Convention 2008.


To the delight of his supporters and the chagrin of his Dem foe, GOP US Senate nominee Steve Pearce is finally on the TV airwaves with his first ad. We say finally because Tom Udall has been on since shortly before the June primary, although our TV watchers say they haven't seen much of Udall on the tube lately.


As for the Pearce ad, it focuses on the one economic issue that breaks for the R's--high energy prices. Pearce's thirty second debut is an all-out push for more nuclear power to lessen dependence on foreign oil. Is it a tip of the hat to Senator Domenici who is a leading advocate for the controversial power source? Could it make Pete more enthusiastic in raising badly needed campaign cash for Pearce? Just asking.

In calling for more nuclear power and domestic oil drilling, Pearce asserts that he will stand up to the "far-left" environmentalists while Tom Udall won't. A spokeswoman for Udall pointed out that he was supportive of the 2005 energy bill which contained incentives for more nuclear power. However, the Northern congressman has not been mentioning it much when he lists the alternate power sources he would like to see supplant our oil dependence.

Pearce's all-out support of nuclear power is not without risk. The touchy issue of what to do with the waste generated by nuclear power plants remains unanswered. Also, talk of putting a nuclear power plant near Roswell, NM arose recently and caused plenty of anxiety.


Pearce has stayed on safe ground with this first spot. He gets kudos, as does Udall, for giving us TV with a substantive issue to consider. Udall called Pearce's first outing on the airwaves "false rhetoric." But there is an innate authenticity to Pearce that comes through nicely in this simply produced spot in which he directly addresses the voter. Both the Pearce and Udall TV captures their unpretentiousness. That appeals to New Mexicans and has made them leading politicians of their era.

Pearce will turn up the temperature on Udall in the spots to come. He has to if he is to light a fire under his campaign. But in this time of down and dirty campaigns, both sides have given us ads that make us think, instead of cringe.


Is Darren back? And how is his back? Insiders say the ABQ GOP congressional nominee and Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White was due to be released from the hospital Sunday night after spending a week there nursing a back injury he suffered when he fell off a treadmill while exercising. Our insiders say the immediate worry is whether White will need surgery which could take him off the campaign trail for up to six weeks. Even without surgery, will White be able to campaign uninhibited? White's campaign has been mum on the injury since its original report last Monday which did not detail the specific injury. The political community awaits further news reports as does the law enforcement community. When will they get one?

While White is recuperating, Dem hopeful Martin Heinrich was hoping to score some points by trotting out the endorsements of three county sheriffs, although it appears the trio are all Democrats.

Sen. McConnell
The Republican leader of the US Senate is under fire in his Kentucky re-election campaign for taking big money from big oil, but that isn't stopping Mitch McConnell from adding some more to his campaign coffers, and he will do it right here in New Mexico. (Click to enlarge posted invite.) The GOP minority leader will be feted at an August 18 fund-raiser hosted by oilman Mark Murphy and wife Susan. "Honored guests" include Senator Pete Domenici and GOP senate nominee Steve Pearce. Despite big profits for the oil industry, attending the McConnell reception won't be a bank-breaker. Tickets are priced at $250 a piece, although bigger contributions can be expected.

McConnell recently pulled away from Dem challenger Bruce Lunsford in the Rasmussen poll--50% to 38%. He had been in trouble earlier in the campaign. McConnell has raised an incredible $15 million for his re-election bid as he fights off Lunsford who is a multimillionaire. Lunsford recently aired TV ads attacking McConnell for being too friendly toward oil companies.

As for Murphy, he is no stranger to state GOP politics. He put up about $190,000 to help oust Roswell State Rep. and House minority whip Dan Foley in the June primary. Foley was beaten by retired FBI agent Dennis Kintigh who is expected to take the heavy R district in the November election.


This mailing boo-boo has congressional candidate Ed Tinsley blushing and his Dem rival Harry Teague smiling....Northern independent congressional hopeful Carol Miller is up with her Web site. She previously ran for office under the Green Party banner.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Monday Monster Blog: July Winners & Losers, Nonprofits Sued By Lawmakers, More Foley Trouble And Bill's Beard 

The election clock is ticking louder as the candidates now have less than 100 days to make their cases. Who is best positioned after the second full month of campaigning? Who made the plays that could make the difference come Election Day? Without further ado and with the expert assistance of our insiders, here's the political scorecard for the sizzlin'' month of July.


Chalk up another monthly victory for Dem Tom Udall. (Our insiders agree he took June by a nose.) He maintained a steady paid TV presence throughout the month, made no major mistakes and continues to dominate the polling numbers and fund-raising. What's not to like? Republican Steve Pearce, still raising the big money needed for the final stretch, again ceded the airwaves to Udall, the main reason he loses July. But the scrappy southern NM congressman did score when Udall backed out of a NM Farm Bureau debate. Pearce also picked up some steam by pushing for offshore drilling to bring down gas prices.

Udall has finished what will be his two easiest months of Campaign '08. He remains the prohibitive favorite, but the hardcore pros want to see how he takes a punch before they judge this one over. In August, Pearce and the GOP machine will start delivering those punches more earnestly.


Republican Darren White's campaign did itself in with an ill-advised fund-raising event and handed the July win to Democrat Martin Heinrich. The controversy over White using University of New Mexico basketball coach Steve Alford as a fund-raising draw blew up into the first major headline grabber in the race for the ABQ congressional seat. It was all to the benefit of underdog Heinrich. Also, the Alligators questioned the release of a poll by Republican White that showed him beating Heinrich, but had him below the magic 50% number. They said the widely held perception in the political community here and in Washington was that White was at 50% and that he may have burst his own bubble some by releasing numbers that showed him at 47% and Heinrich at 41%.

But Heinrich did not run away with the month. He seemed to flip-flop with KOB-TV on the issue of offshore drilling, and that is sure to surface in the TV debates. (This weekend Obama shifted on offshore drilling.) And some say the Dem candidate failed to fully capitalize on the Alford Controversy. "Martin could have kept the pain going for White. Maybe he doesn't stick his nose in the Alford mess, but why not come with another hit on White to keep the bad press coming," analyzed one of our insiders.

Heinrich and White have not come anywhere near fulfilling expectations for this open congressional seat. Neither have raised the kind of money needed for early TV, and they both seem to be struggling to get this race before the press and public. Maybe the third month will be the charm.


Harry Teague
As with the ABQ race, in the south we have two candidates relatively new to this level of the political power game. Their campaigns have yet to lift off, with neither Democrat Harry Teague or Republican Ed Tinsley making much noise. Teague wins July because of internal machinations, not for anything voters at large would notice. The Hobbs oilman hired two seasoned political operatives, one to to help him with the field, the other a onetime Big Bill operative to be campaign manager. Tinsley also shook up his campaign team, but it has less experience. If underdog Teague can get this race in play that could make a difference when pressurized decisions have to be made in October.

Tinsley continued in July to harp on the debate issue, asking Teague to debate him in each of the district's 18 counties. But Tinsley earned no press for his efforts, and the pros say he missed an opportunity to begin defining Teague as too far to the left for the largely conservative south.

The big picture stays the same: Tinsley is the favorite in the Republican oriented district, but the Dems have their best chance in nearly 30 years to pull the upset.


So, if each of the three major ABQ network affiliates offers to host a debate between US Senate candidates Steve Pearce and Tom Udall which one is Udall going to stiff? That's the position the Democratic Senate nominee has potentially put himself in by insisting that a NM Senate debate to be hosted by "Meet the Press" counts toward his promise of participating in three statewide TV debates. But the Sunday morning talk show is hosted out-of-state and not comprised of NM panelists. Also, it airs at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning, hardly prime-time. (No date has been set for the national Udall-Pearce face-off.)

It's not known if all three affiliates will indeed offer debate time, but they should. If they do and Udall sticks to counting MTP as a full-fledged debate, one station is going to be left out in the cold. Politics watchers understand why the frontrunner tries to limit debates, but it's getting tedious. This is the first open NM senate seat in 35 years. We deserve as many debates as possible. Tom's cousin, Mark Udall, seems to be debating up a storm as he seeks a Colorado US Senate seat. Don't we deserve the same?


Sen. Robinson
It's highly doubtful that the courts are going to overturn primary election results in which three incumbent Bernalillo County Dem legislators were ousted by "progressives" and in which the role of nonprofit groups turned into a raging controversy. But the lawsuit filed by ABQ State Senators Shannon Robinson and James Taylor and ABQ State Rep. Dan Silva asking that the election be overturned is going to keep the heat on the role of these non profits.

The nonprofits, coordinated by political operative Eli Lee, unleashed hit pieces on their three targets and played a major role in their defeat, all the while asserting that they were not violating federal tax laws or state campaign laws that limit nonprofit political activity.

KRQE reported the lawsuit: (The legislators) chief claim alleges $180,000 from two nonprofit organizations was transferred to six other organizations to pay for attack ads. Shuffling the money that way was done to let the winning candidates avoid reporting the source of contributions to the secretary of state, the suit claimed.

Eric Griego, who beat Taylor, says the suit is sour grapes. Maybe. But the larger issue of who is funding the nonprofits remains. And so does the irony. The nonprofits in question claim to be working to improve NM ethics, but won't voluntarily release a detailed list of their political contributions and who is making them. IRS rules mandate only general information.

Attorney General Gary King has been poking around. He said one of the nonprofits in question needs to report their activity to the NM secretary of state just as a political candidate would. That would mean fuller disclosure, but the nonprofit says King has it wrong and the secretary of state has not responded to the AG's request. While the lawsuit from the upset trio of lawmakers is not going to nullify an election, it could help build public support for the AG to get more actively involved. Here's AP coverage.

Rep. Foley
Foes of defeated Roswell GOP State Rep, and House minority whip Dan Foley are keeping their boots on his neck. The ABQ Journal Sunday hit with a front-pager on Foley's business dealings with the state. He is an Allstate insurance agent. A Chaves county commissioner is asking the attorney general to investigate a state insurance contract awarded to Allstate and which Foley benefits from. Foley, ousted by the voters in the GOP June primary, calls it a "political ploy."

Foley appears to be preparing to make a move to Rio Rancho, say Roswell politics watchers, but no confirmation yet. Political chatter even has Foley perhaps trying to stage a comeback by seeking another state House seat. But that would seem a long way off. Those boot marks on Foley's neck are still fresh and deep.


When Big Bill grew his beard after dropping out of the Dem prez race, the wall-leaners offered a variety of reasons for the suddenly hirsute chief executive, But rather than existential angst over his place in the political world, Bill recently told the Wall Street Journal, the beard has its roots in a simpler reason.

It's very difficult to eat well when you're constantly on the road, attending dinners, lunches, barbecues," says New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. He says he grew a beard when he withdrew his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in January "to hide one of my chins."


Louis Montano was born in Roswell, one of eleven children of a state prison guard. In '82, he was elected mayor of Santa Fe. Montano had a cheery disposition that made him a City Different favorite. He died last week at the age of 80...A reader spots this funny: From the Raton Range on the one new Racino to be awarded: "State Sen. Clint Harden, who was at the Raton meeting July 10 in support of the Raton project, also was at the Tucumcari meeting Thursday in support of that project." No flip flopper here for sure." Well, Clint has covered his bets...

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Friday, August 01, 2008

Pearce's Good News: A Better Poll & Senator Pete Weighs In, Plus: Clippings From My Newsroom Floor: At The Movies & At An Old Haunt 

Pete & Pearce
July was a pretty lousy month for GOP US Senate candidate Steve Pearce--until the very end. On Thursday Zogby came with an on-line poll that showed Pearce trailing Dem Tom Udall by eight points, not 25 points as he does in the latest Rasmussen. On Wednesday, insiders tell us, Senator Pete Domenici hosted a Washington D.C. fundraiser for Pearce who hopes to replace Pete.

Domenici is also coming with a sorely needed fund-raising letter for Pearce. (Posted below.)

As for that poll, it was taken on the Web from June 11-30 and is going to be shot down as unreliable by those who like their polling done in a more scientific fashion. But take your grain of salt and take a look at what Zogby says:

Independent, moderate and Hispanic voters are putting Democrat Tom Udall in position to take the seat being vacated by Republican Pete Domenici. Udall leads Republican Steve Pearce, 49%-41%.

Moderates favor Udall by more than 2-to-1, while Independents give him a 10% lead. Udall nearly doubles Pearce’s support among Hispanics. The two are even among men, but Udall holds a solid lead among women. Pearce’s strengths are with traditional GOP voters: regular church goers and gun owners. The survey included 464 likely voters in New Mexico and carries a margin of error of +/- 4.6 percentage points.

Steve is going to hold tight to any survey that shows Tom below the magic 50% mark. You can imagine his knuckles turning white as he handles this one. His campaign touted the numbers, saying. "New Mexicans are finding out about the real Tom Udall." It's "Tom and the hysterical environmentalists" who are standing in the way of progress, argued Pearce.

After the campaign is over, will someone start a punk-rock group called "Tom & The Hystericals?"


And here's some light summer reading from Senator Pete, as he makes a mail pitch for Pearce (Click image for entire letter).

His record of being careful with your tax dollars will match up well against his opponent who likes to spend your tax dollars and advocates a very liberal philosophy that is far different from yours or mine. Pearce will stand up to the liberals and: Hold the line against taxes, work to create job opportunities in New Mexico, stand up to liberal, activist judges and support our troops.


Here's that negative hit ad on Pearce that hit ABQ this week and comes form the third party group--Patriot Majority West. We blogged it was about military issues, but that was from a glance on the air. The ad actually attacks Pearce for giving tax breaks to Big Oil and not being friendly enough towards renewable energy


One of our movie-going Gators checks in with a review of the just released and New Mexico filmed "Swing Vote."

Thanks to Governor Richardson and the State Investment Office, the Land of Enchantment has once again been invaded by Hollywood. “Swing Vote” stars Kevin Costner as the hapless “swing” voter “Bud" and the precocious Madeline Carroll as his idealistic daughter “Molly.”

This improbable fable confirms New Mexico’s very real status as a presidential “Purple” state. The film’s premise, a voting machine snafu that results in Bud (Costner) being wooed by both the Democratic Party challenger (Dennis Hopper) and incumbent GOP President (Kelsey Grammer) for New Mexico’s five Electoral votes is truly laughable.

Filmed in downtown Belen and in gated Santa Fe, this pleasing effort wants to be the new “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, but alas, it is not! I’d give this flick, 2.5 stars out of 4.

Thanks movie going Gator. Here's the trailer.


From the movies to a food remembrance as we head for another summer weekend. This missive on the closing of the Bennigan's restaurant chain comes from top NM lobbyist Scott Scanland:

Bennigan’s near Coronado Center in ABQ was the haunt of many years for veteran lobbyist Julie Golden and PR man Mickey Toppino. Any politician or young lobbyist wishing to meet Julie would be guided to the Pac Man machine in the bar where he and Mickey would be playing. A haze of smoke from Julies’s Benson & Hedges 100’s encircled the duo as people had to wait until the last little man was dead before the deals of La Politica were cut. Many were.

And so it goes.

E-mail your news, comments, reminiscences and reviews. I'm Joe Monahan, reporting to you from Albuquerque, NM.

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