Sunday, May 25, 2008

Word Is: White Shares the Green!

Listen to an exclusive interview with the Bernalillo County Sheriff at the end of this post.

Republican Darren White's congressional campaign will be getting a cash infusion this week when President George Bush makes a lunch-time visit to the Duke City on Tuesday. Elite members of GOP, including Sen. Pete Domenici, will gather at realtor Steve Maestas' home in the Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque at noon to greet the president. Entry is $1000. A photo with the lame-duck president is $5k. Neither GOP senate primary candidate, Rep. Steve Pearce or Rep. Heather Wilson will attend. They'll likely be finishing up debate preparation before the face-off on KOAT later Tuesday night.

Last fall, before 6-term Senator Pete Domenici announced his retirement, the president raised $400,000.during a fundraiser at Village Mayor Larry Abraham's house. And, before the hotly contested 2006 CD-1 race Mr. Bush generated nearly $450k for incumbent Heather Wilson during an early trip to Albuquerque. Big donors have been tapped by senate and presidential candidates for their cash and because the president's popularity has declined, it is fair to say expectations are lower this trip.

White's campaign has raised $601,275 and has $383,039 cash on hand. Sources say they expect the president's trip to generate another $300k, but White doesn't get it all. A complicated formula developed by the national party is used to divvy the money up with the GOP's Victory 2008! Since April 1 White has collected $155,000. White says he "excited about the strong support he's receiving."

But White has opted out of buying television ads in his primary race against retiring State Senator Joe Carraro. He appears to be saving his resources for a full out battle this fall. He trails the leading democratic fundraiser Martin Heinrich who has received $733,763, but after fending off three opponents is left with only $205,884 cash on hand. Campaign finance reports for the CD-1 race are available on the Federal Election Commission's website.

A little more than a week before the campaign The Albuquerque Journal reports Heinrich, a former Albuquerque City Council president who has been campaigning for more than a year, had the support of 34 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, while former three-term Secretary of State Vigil-Giron had 23 percent. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who formerly led state agencies on health and aging, was third with 10 percent, while a political newcomer, Albuquerque lawyer Robert Pidcock, had 4 percent.

On August 27, 2007 I was in the presidential motorcade as it worked it's way back to the Kirtland Air Force Base. As the radio pool reporter I witnessed Albuquerque medics and police officers responding to the tragic motorcycle crash of Rio Rancho officer Germanine Casey. Officer Casey succumbed to his injuries after he struck a tree head on. Officer Casey had served with the Rio Rancho police department for 2 years and had previously served with the University of New Mexico Police Department. Another motorcycle officer was seriously injured escorting the president on a previous trip to the Town of Bernalillo. We've learned that officers have been told to slow it down a bit. Protecting the president is job one, but officer safety should not be jeopardized with these rolling roadblocks.
In April, during National Crime Victim Rights Week I spoke with the Sheriff White at the "Soar Above the Violence" event. White may be campaigning for congress, but he's definitely still on patrol looking for bad guys and helping provide resources to victims. He told me, "win or lose, I'll always be an advocate for crime victims."

During this five-minute interview, I learned White's own grandfather had been murdered in New York. If elected to congress he'll be the third sheriff to be actively serving in congress.

Photos: MG Bralley

No comments: