True Blue New Mexico

No Comments

Donate to Democratic CandidatesMy friends at Democracy for New Mexico and New Mexico FBIHOP are fundraising again: they’ve started an ActBlue page for all of the Democratic candidates for federal office in New Mexico. They inlcude: Sen. Barack Obama, Rep. Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich, Harry Teague, and Ben Ray Lujan.

The netroots is playing a big role in elections this year, and I give some serious props to Matt and Barb for stepping up and getting this effort going. I think it’s a testament to their hard work, and a recognition of the role they’re playing, that each of the New Mexican candidates are posting guest blogs this week (you can see Heinrich’s posts here and here).

Matt has a great post introducing the project, highlighting the unique situation in New Mexico this cycle:

In 2008, New Mexicans have a chance for a true change — a golden opportunity to make a True Blue New Mexico.  There are more Democrats than Republicans registered in the state, and Democrats control both the state Senate and House.  Yet in federal offices, Republicans hold a 3-2 advantage, including a 2-1 advantage in the House. This year, that can change — and change dramatically.

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve thought that some additional attention in southern New Mexico from groups like the DCCC could help push the district closer toward the “Democratic” column, and with the right candidate Rep. Steve Pearce might have had a fight on his hands. With changing demographics, who knows what would have happened? Continue reading…

New Mexico Congressional Primaries Finalized

No Comments

The New Mexico Sec. of State has announced the final ballot for the June congressional primary elections. It doesn’t look like there are any surprises: everybody who prequalified at the party nominating conventions is aready on the ballot. However, I guess everybody else running for the three seats being vacated by Rep. Steve Pearce, Rep. Heather Wilson, and Rep. Tom Udall will appear on the ballot as well.

That Heath Haussamen guy also get a mention in the CQ piece:

Although the petitioning candidates will now be on the ballot, their chances of winning appear to be slim. No candidate who failed to qualify in the pre-primary convention has ever won their party’s primary, said New Mexico political analyst Heath Haussamen: “I think candidates have a hard time arguing they’re credible if they don’t get 20 percent in the pre-primary convention.”

Like I said, no big surprises, but at least everything is finalized now. I’ll keep you posted on any crazy developments, and be sure to keep an eye on the fundraising numbers over on the sidebar.

Follow the (oil) money

No Comments

One of the great perks of working for the Sunlight Foundation is finding out about great new tools for increasing transparency in the political process. These tools range from OpenSecrets, which allows you to find out how money is impacting the electoral process, to Open Congress, where you can find info on the latest bills.

Sometimes, however, somebody develops a tool that lets you bring it all together. One example is Follow the Oil Money. Here, you can track not only how much money the oil and gas industry is giving individual members, but you can also check a member’s record on votes on energy legislation. Or, as my boss wrote:

Follow the Oil Money isn’t just a cool new tool. It presents some striking evidence to the potential connection between dollars and votes.

So let’s take it for a test drive, with, say, Rep. Steve Pearce? Here are the contributions he’s received from oil and gas interests since 2000:

Follow the Oil Money: Steve Pearce Relationship View

Turns out, according to Follow the Oil Money (which relies on data from Federal Election Commission records), Rep. Pearce received $421,840 in oil and gas money campaign contributions between 2000 and 2008.

“Well,” you ask, “don’t we already know that Pearce is a huge recipient of oil and gas money?” Of course! But Follow the Oil Money, as I said, ties it all together:

Pearce Oil and Gas voting record

If you click through, you can see Rep. Pearce ranked No. 5 on the list of House members (based on the percentage of oil and gas contributions they receive). He also holds the distinction of being the only member on the list in the top 50 to vote in lock-step with oil and gas interests 100 percent of the time.

You can find information on the rest of New Mexico’s Congressional delegation at the site, and more information on individual donations and the votes used to develop the record as well.

MapLight fundraising updates

No Comments

It looks like MapLight has finally added a slew of candidates from New Mexico to their database. I’ve got four MapLight widgets on the sidebar, broken down by the Senate race and congressional district, and you can see that Rep. Heather Wilson is beating both Rep. Tom Udall and Rep. Steve Pearce in the money game:

However, while Wilson and Pearce are spending cash fighting for the Republican nomination, Udall can relax a bit and save his dough for the general election.

Meanwhile, Martin Heinrich, Harry Teague and Don Wiviott are leading in fundraising for the first, second, and third congressional districts, respectfully.

The widgets will remain there on the right throughout the 2008 election cycle, so you can always check to see how much money the candidates have raised.

Fundraising push for True Blue New Mexico

No Comments

Today, the GOP heavy hitters are fundraising to improve their chances in New Mexico: Dick Cheney is holding a D.C. event for Rep. Steve Pearce (similar to one he already headlined for Rep. Heather Wilson) and Karl Rove will be in Artesia helping raise cash for the state Republican Party.

As regular readers know, this year is a rare situation: four of New Mexico’s five Congressional seats are open, while the fifth is held by Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman. The seat being vacated by Sen. Pete Domenici is a likely pick-up opportunity with Rep. Tom Udall leading the charge, and Martin Heinrich and Bill McCamley have excellent chances in the 1st and 2nd Congressional districts, respectively. In addition, a good crop of candidates is in the field for the probably Democratic-safe 3rd Congressional District.

Some cohorts in the netroots, NewMexico FBIHOP and Democracy for New Mexico, have organized an ActBlue page to help counter the GOP fundraising efforts. Today is the kickoff for True Blue New Mexico. You can help by giving some cash to some great progressive candidates. Early money is more important than cash that comes late in the campaign, and every dollar you give now will help blunt the thousands of dollars that Rove and Cheney hope to raise today.

The Sure Thing

No Comments

I think Jim is right: a month ago, the New Mexico GOP was assured they would have at least one representative in Congress, if not three, following the next election. Now, with Sen. Pete Domenici retiring and Rep. Steve Pearce and Rep. Heather Wilson scrambling to replace him, they don’t have a single incumbent running for office.

My early morning reasoning thinks it would have been easier for Dems to grab Wilson’s seat with her still in it: she’s had to fight more and more to appear independent of Bush, but the Iraq War is still one heckuva monkey on her back.

However, I welcome the idea of an open seat in Pearce’s southern district. I think Dem chances are good throughout the country this year, but it would have taken some mean mojo to upset Pearce in the district. This is a great opportunity for the Democratic party now, especially if the DCCC puts some focus on the area.

Of course, Pearce’s strength in his district is also one in a primary battle with Wilson, and conservative voters in New Mexico will find him a much easier sell. Whether he can take a strong Democrat in a statewide race remains to be seen. New Mexico has been pretty purple during the past two presidential elections, and Pete’s recent polling (remember that 41% approval rating?) indicates that New Mexicans may be tired of politics as usual in Washington. And if the Iraq War is a monkey on Wilson’s back, then George Bush is the one clinging to Pearce. So, the die-hard Republicans might come out of the primary with the candidate they want, only to find out next November that the rest of the state isn’t ready to play along.

Looking forward, I think that Pearce’s camp is going to have to do a much better job of defending the Congressman from allegations of ethics violations than it did last month (you can read more about that at Heath’s place). Wilson, too, was called out by CREW, and it looks like the only thing keeping New Mexico’s Republican House delegation from being investigated is the House Ethics Committee’s truce.

That’s all for now, I’m off to fight a traffic ticket (apparently, turning left during the morning commute is frowned upon in certain areas of the D.C. Metropolitan area).