Friday, September 17, 2010

Late Summer Friday Blogging: Henrich & The Debates, Harry's September, Our Economy Watch & Some Bottom Lines 

Martin Heinrich is suddenly getting more loquacious. After being chided for nixing a debate on KOAT-TV with Republican rival Jon Barela, the Dem ABQ freshman Congressman has now confirmed debates with KOB and KRQE.

Both of the newly announced face-offs come close to November 2--Election Day--limiting the damage any debate gaffe can do as early voting will make up a majority of the vote cast.

The KOB debate will air Thursday, Oct. 28 from 7 to 8 p.m. The KRQE debate will also air at 7 p.m. and is scheduled for Oct. 30. Earlier, public TV KNME announced a 7 p.m. October 15 Heinrich-Barela debate.

The debates on the big commercial stations, albeit late in the game, get Heinrich back on track with the US House tradition of being accessible to the voters, even though KOAT and its debate co-sponsor--the ABQ Journal--might disagree with that assessment.


The tanned one is coming. We speak of perpetually tanned US House Minority Leader John Boehner. The Ohio congressman, President Obama's newest foil, will attend a fund-raiser for Barela in ABQ Saturday, according to GOP Alligators. Boehner is also slated for a Las Cruces appearance and some campaigning with Steve Pearce, the Republican challenger to US Dem Congressman Harry Teague. The weekend forecast looks good if Boehner decides to soak up some New Mexico sunshine, and it won't turn you orange.


The national R's insist they are not going to abandon Barela even though Heinrich is running ahead. The Hotline reports:

The NRCC is also going on the offense in New Mexico, purchasing $300K for October in Rep. Martin Heinrich's (D) NM 01 district. The NRCC is trying to catch Democrats by surprise here; the DCCC has not reserved time in the district yet...

So did they "buy" the time or "reserve" it? Reserving time but waiting to make a final decision and actually paying for the ads is a common tactic to keep up interest in an race. The $300k is not an earth shaking amount so we'll guess they come with it--but like Ronald Reagan used to say, "trust--but verify."


The R's swear they are going to take him out, but freshman southern Dem US Rep. Harry Teague is putting up a good fight in the early going and carrying the month of September. The question is October when the GOP is expected to turn up the firepower.

But for now Dems are taking heart that Harry was up first on TV which helped him a bit in establishing a three point lead in the late August ABQ Journal poll over Republican challenger Steve Pearce. Third party ads have also helped the Teague effort. Teague also handled President Obama's Aug. 31 visit to Ft. Bliss well, garnering good TV face time on the El Paso stations with the Prez by his side. Then another poll comes--albeit one that may have been weighted a bit--but it showed Harry up by seven points. The Pearce camp did not push back. Teague added momentum.

Now Teague comes with an important endorsement in the veteran heavy southern district:

...I am humbled to have been recognized by a group whose work on behalf of our nation’s veterans is an inspiration to me. I want to thank the Veterans of Foreign Wars--Political Action Committee for their endorsement in the 2010 general election...

This honor, however, is not about me, or even about my candidacy.  It is about fighting for the brave men and women who sacrificed so much for our freedoms. I have always said that the reason we are able to enjoy the democracy we have is because of the hardships they endured. While I myself am not a veteran, I consider it a privilege and am proud to work on behalf of the veterans of southern New Mexico.  

Pearce is a Vietnam war veteran and Harry has no military record, but he does sit on the important House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

Meanwhile, Teague came with a hard-hitting attack ad on Pearce's record on vetearns when he held the southern seat he is now trying to reclaim. Pearce came with a response ad featuring veterans supporting him and knocking down Teague's attack. It is effective.

You might have expected Teague to come out bouncing off the ropes, given how the national political media has written him off. Instead, he is quite effectively executing his strategy. If you show voters you can do that, you show them you belong in the United States Congress.

This is the heavyweight congressional race in New Mexico this year. Pearce and Teague are mature, battle-tested business and political types. We expect Pearce to have his moments in the days ahead and if we are in the Teague camp we continue to worry about the potent material he has stored in his basement and will bring out in October.

But in these still broiling days when summer resists the entrance of fall in the vast spaces of the south, Harry Teague, 61, is taking on the September of his years with a zest that just might see him through November.


There is actually something being built in these recession heavy days in New Mexico.

The place where humans can pay to take a ride into space and where companies can launch payloads broke ground in June 2009 and is "looking to be operations-ready in 2011," said Spaceport spokesman Dave Wilson. "It'll be ready for Virgin (Galactic), but we don't know when Virgin will be ready," he said.

And that's a good thing.

At UNM, the the construction boom goes on, even as the general budget is slashed. They come from two different state revenue streams, but that isn't going to stop a debate over construction vs. the classroom.

You don't hear much discussion of growth in the ABQ area, a topic that usually generates a lot of heat. That's because there is hardly any. The Rio Rancho public schools reports enrollment has ceased it's rapid growth this year. It's not surprising. Rio Rancho was ground zero for the state's housing bubble, although it didn't seem so at the time, did it?

We interrupt the downer economic news to bring you this (and we hope it's really true):

The 2009 U.S. Census Current Population Survey shows an increase in the overall number of people in New Mexico with health care coverage during the three year average 2007-2009 from the previous report.

The percentage of insured children in New Mexico increased by 1.1 percentage points, while the percentage of insured adults in New Mexico increased by .2 percentage points.

“For the third year in a row, we have seen an increase in the number of insured children in New Mexico. To also see an increase in the number of insured adults is wonderful news for the people of New Mexico,” said Kathryn Falls, Human Services Department Secretary.

Now, Katy, if you can just get them to lose some weight.

And now back to the downers (also from Human Services)

The 2009 U.S. Census’ Current Population Survey (CPS) released today shows that nationally 14.3 percent of people were living in poverty, an increase of 1.1 percentage points from 2008. In 2009, 43.6 million people in the U.S. were in poverty, up from 39.8 million in 2008. One year estimates for poverty in New Mexico remained unchanged, at 19.3 percent in both 2008 and 2009. A family of four earning less than $22,050 is considered to be living in poverty. 


A reader writes of the 11 police involved shootings in ABQ this year--seven of them fatal:

Joe, I knew Mayor Berry said he was going to run the city like a business, I just didn't know he meant French Mortuary.

Okay, no groaning allowed.


Jim Hannan of Santa Fe writes:

Joe, I wanted to tell you how impressed I am with your writing the past year.  It seems like you have really stepped it up with your analysis and just the breadth of your coverage.

Your recent series on the ethnic history of New Mexico was fascinating.

I'm sorry I haven't had any good stories to pass on to you lately, I've been busy on some other fronts. But keep up the great work.

Appreciate that, Jim. New Mexico politics doesn't allow you to stay laid-back for very long.


From Jay Leno:

President Obama just came out with a children's book called 'James and the Giant Bailout....The book is $17.99, but only for children and families making under $250,000.

Thanks for stopping by this week. Reporting to you from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan.

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