A well-connected Republican source who was running through the most competitive House races this morning said, “If we lose Heather Wilson, we lose the House.” The explanation was that Wilson has faced tough reelection races in the past and so knows what she’s up against. She’s aggressive, knows how to fight for her seat, and raises plenty of money. The reasoning is that if she is knocked off this year, there is little hope for incumbents facing their first real challenge. At the end of September, polls had Wilson tied with New Mexico’s attorney general Patricia Madrid. Recent polls give Madrid an edge of about 8 points.
Joe Monahan is reporting this morning that Al Kissling, the Democrat candidate for the 2nd Congressional Distirct, and John Dendahl, a Republican running for governor, will be on KOB-TV this evening at 7. Their opponents — Rep. Steve Pearce and Gov. Bill Richardson, repectively — have refused to participate in televised debates.
Many bloggers have (rightly) spent time discussing Richardson’s refusal to debate. It is an essential part of our electoral process, and often a debate is one of the few points during a campaign when voters can interact with candidates by asking questions.
Heath Haussaman this morning has more on the Kissling-Pearce debate held by KRWG in August:
Where are the debates? Kissling has challenged Pearce to several, but Pearce won’t participate.
Pearce agreed to one candidate forum in August. It was held in the afternoon, which ensured no live television coverage. KRWG-TV, which recorded it, hasn’t been able to broadcast it because the Pearce campaign won’t approve it and, according to federal law, both campaigns have to do so, the station says.
So, be sure to tune in this evening to watch Kissling and Dendahl discuss the issues. If you’d like to submit a question to the debate, click here.
As mentioned yesterday, the state Republican party filed a suit with the New Mexico Supreme Court, in an effort to place two of their candidates on the Nov. 7 ballot, and remove Hector Balderas, the Democrat candidate for state auditor. Balderas replaced Jeff Armijo, who dropped out of the race and then tried to jump back in. Heath Haussamen has the goods over at his place:
Justices of the New Mexico Supreme Court have unanimously denied the Republican Party’s challenge to several recent election decisions made by the secretary of state’s office.
The high court announced its decision shortly after 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“The ballot remains as it is,” said Sam Thompson, spokeswoman for Attorney General Patricia Madrid.
The Republican Party filed the lawsuit Sept. 27 against Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron and Madrid, whose office advises Vigil-Giron.
So, it seems that may be the end of the line for this fiasco.
This just in from Las Cruces blogger Heath Haussamen:
The New Mexico Supreme Court will hear oral arguments this afternoon regarding the Republican Party’s lawsuit against the secretary of state and attorney general.
The hearing is a 4 p.m. today in Santa Fe.
The lawsuit alleges that two Republican candidates were unfairly denied spots on the Nov. 7 general election ballot and that the Democrats illegally placed a candidate on the ballot.
At issue is the secretary of state allowing Democrats to place Hector Balderas on the ballot for state auditor and denying Republican attempts to place Roger Gonzales of Mora on the ballot for Balderas’ House seat and Barbara V. Johnson of Albuquerque on the ballot for a district judgeship in Albuquerque.
Republicans filed the lawsuit on Sept. 27 and requested an emergency hearing because ballots were already being printed.
From what I’ve read, there is some precedent for the secretary of state’s decision, but I’ll keep an eye out for results in the morning.
Democracy for New Mexico had some information on the National Republican Congressional Committee spending cash to target Patricia Madrid with negative phone banks. The Committee hired a firm with known ties to Karl Rove to call voters (see the DFNM post for more), but there’s another twist that’s worth exploring.
The NRCC is chaired by U.S. Rep. Tim Reynolds. Thanks to Foleygate, Reynolds went from surefire re-election to challenged underdog, all in two week’s time. While Reynolds’ role in how the House leadership handled the allegations against Foley is the reason for his campaign’s troubles, we’re going to look at money.
Naturally, one of Reynolds’ first reactions to Foley’s resignation was to try and seize the Florida Republican’s $2.7 million campaign war chest. Last week, NRCC communications director Carl Forti said the committee would be happy to take Foley’s money and give it to Republican candidates across the country:
Mr. Foley, who served on the House Ways and Means Committee, was a prolific fund-raiser. His campaign account had a balance of $2.7 million at the end of August, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Carl Forti, the communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Sunday that the committee would gladly accept Mr. Foley’s money or part of it to devote to House races.
It also looks like Reynolds has a mind to keep the money Foley donated to the NRCC (some $550,000 since 1996):
Mark Foley may be an embarrassment to the Republicans, but they still like his money.
The National Republican Congressional Committee intends to spend the $100,000 the former Florida legislator gave this summer – before his sordid e-mail exchanges with male teenage congressional pages turned him into a grand old pariah.
“We’re going to do with it what we do with other donations – use it to help elect Republicans,” said NRCC spokesman Carl Forti.
Asked whether the committee would consider returning the money, Forti replied, “Nope.”
Which brings us back to the Patricia Madrid-Heather Wilson race. Wilson last week was quick to return $8,000 donated to her campaign by Foley. But, $8,000 isn’t much money, especially since the NRCC can plop more than six grand for phone banks in one day.
But the NRCC is doing even more to help Wilson: according to Roll Call, the committee is spending $285,000 for anti-Madrid attack ads.
It was good of Wilson to get rid of Foley’s cash, but the gesture is a small one when you realize how much money the NRCC is pumping into the race — especially since some of that money may have been Foley’s to begin with.
At the office we’ve been working on a four-page insert, featuring voter registration information, precint polling locations, and brief profiles of each candidate in the Nov. 7 general election.
It’s been a long week.
Nonetheless, be sure to pick up a copy of today’s Daily Press. The supplement was the idea of Grant County Clerk Howie Morales, and I think it’s a great tool for residents. It doesn’t contain information on candidates’ policy stances, but it does introduce voters to those seeking office.
As an aside, I would like to state, for the record, that every candidate for statewide office should be required to include a hi-res press photo on their Web site.