Friday, July 10, 2009

Pundit Says R's Need Stronger Guv Dealer To Play Ethics Card, Plus: Di Launches "Operation Separation," And: More On Teague And Pearce Race 

It's going to take more than ethics scandals to put a Republican in the Governor's chair, says veteran field organizer and pundit Steve Cabiedes. He argues that the current field of GOP candidates does not offer a singularly strong contender who could fully take advantage of the corruption issue.

To make ethics the tipping point, the race has to be close to begin with. It is not going to move the numbers by ten percent. The R's need a candidate like a Heather Wilson who starts from a strong position and can use ethics to make it over the top. I believe the state has turned into more of a "blue" state than a "purple" state. I don't think it is a swing state anymore. Any R that wants to run has to be extra strong.

Any Republican pro worth his elephant pin will tell you that the GOP Guv nod is Heather's for the asking--but she isn't asking--yet.


Meantime, Light Guv Diane Denish has launched what we'll call Operation Separation" in the aftermath of what appears to be effective GOP attacks that she is tied to the ethical hipbone of Big Bill's administration--the one plagued with a hornet's nest of scandals. The ethics package she put forth did not contain much new, but we assume Bill will give her cover and will put it on his call for the 2010 legislative session. It includes a long sought after independent ethics commission.

Di snapped back at GOP Chairman Yates and company saying they are "lost and angry" because they have only inexperienced candidates seeking the Guv's slot. She can only hope it stays that way because that poll Denish floated showing her beating Heather Wilson 57 to 35 percent may look good on paper, but testing the real deal would be most unwelcome to the Dems. And we add the usual addendum that any corruption indictments could change the political calculus of the Guv's race overnight.

In the wishful thinking category, the state's #2 declared: "This is about the next governor, this is not about the current governor."

That's what Gore said about Clinton, but it didn't turn out that way.

In her strongest statement to date regarding her relationship to the corruption cases, she asserted: "I have not been part of any of this. My office has not been part of any of this, regardless of what they may want to say or allege."

Sounds defensive but as we argued in our Wednesday blog, the marker needed to be laid down. She cannot allow herself to be defined. And that's a real risk. Believe it or not fellow political junkies, the name ID of a sitting Lt. Governor isn't even 70 percent. We sense "Operation Separation" is in only the embryonic stage. But don't think the economy and jobs and taxes will take a permanent back seat in Campaign 2010. Ethics will eventually be tied to economic performance--the matter of most concern to the most voters.


There was an element of political maturity seen in Denish this week that was notable. She could have pretended that the GOP ethics attacks, coming as they did from a GOP chairman, did not matter and could be ignored or handled solely by her campaign chairman. Denish gave Yates a small victory by reacting directly, but by calling the news conference she also signaled that she will not be cowed and fully expects to have to fight tooth and nail to take power on the Fourth Floor.

New Mexicans have never elected a female Governor and some of them may fear that a woman chief executive would be too deferential. They learned different this week. So did the powers that be in the state's minority party.


Back to analyst Cabiedes now who also told us this week that he sees a good race for the southern US House seat between Rep. Harry Teague and Republican Steve Pearce, but he says the race may turn on the cash advantage.

"Teague is going to argue to the power brokers that he is in the majority in the House, and if they go with Pearce he and they will be left out--unable to make any deals. Pearce will raise good money, but that argument could keep a lid on him. He may have to write a personal check to make up the difference."

Both Pearce and Teague have considerable oil wealth. Teague self-financed over $1.7 million worth of his '08 campaign. Cabiedes believes Pearce may have to get his checkbook out his time if Teague and the Dems are able to inhibit his cash contributions.

Cabiedes will be with us for Election Night coverage of the ABQ Mayor's race on KANW 89.1 FM on October 6.


Teague has made his first public comments about the challenge from Pearce who held the southern seat before Teague but gave it up to make an unsuccessful run for US Senate. Here are Harry's comments in a fund-raising appeal that hit the e-mail circuit a day after Pearce's Monday announcement.

Professional politician Steve Pearce and his political operatives have decided to use New Mexico's 2nd district as their battleground once again. (Monday), Pearce announced his intention to return to Congress. And the stakes have never been higher for southern New Mexico. You can be certain Pearce and his allies will do their best to put a negative spin on my legislative accomplishments and the much needed change I have brought to New Mexico.

And Steve also was on the fund-raising circuit via e-mail immediately following his announcement.

While I had hope Harry would look out for the hard working people of our district, it has become apparent that he has embraced a set of reckless liberal policies that directly threaten our economy and future generations. He went to Washington and quickly voted for massive amounts of wasteful spending, pork barrel projects, and large government that invades our privacy.

Pearce did not shoot high in his first money pitch. He asked for donations starting at $50.00 as did Teague.


Blog reader and Republican Reb Wayne took exception with our experts who opined here last week that Dem Teague should be able to get 40 percent of the vote in Lea County. Both Pearce and Teague call Hobbs home. Teague narrowly lost the SE oil country county to Republican Ed Tinsley. Wayne argues Teague's vote for the climate bill will hurt him in Lea--and more than our pundits think:

Teague pulling 40% in Lea is questionable against Pearce. Hobbs is oil patch country and frankly they are far more comfortable with a Republican from Lea County than a Democrat from Lea County. That goes ditto for many of these counties down south. Without the oilfield, there are no jobs in many of these counties.

Of course, that climate bill is purely hypothetical right now as it has not been signed into law and can't effect anything. There is the matter of Hispanic turnout in a non-presidential year, something we're sure the Teague strategists are pondering mightily.

As Dan Rather would say, the southern House race is already hotter than a Times Square Rolex. The expensive spin machines will try to frame this race from outside of New Mexico, but don't worry. The Alligators are already establishing the "no-spin" zone as well as the betting odds. We suspect some Teague public meetings have already been packed by political operatives hoping to make some press. We wouldn't be surprised to see the same thing pulled on Pearce. Don't say we didn't tell you.

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