Saturday, May 31, 2008

Word is: Domenici Calling on Republicans to Vote for Wilson.

Listen to Domenici's endorsement of Rep. Heather Wilson HERE

Deja vu? Wilson triumphantly raises her hands, clasped with Senator Domenici's, after declaring "victory" in a CD-1 special election 10 years ago. Photo by: MG Bralley.

Heather Wilson for Senate Campaign Manager Chris Collins says Senator Pete Domenici is calling Republicans throughout the state this weekend with automated telephone calls, and encouraging them to support Heather Wilson's campaign.

Wilson's team hopes Domenici's endorsement swings a large number of undecided voters their way, especially after they reviewed a poll in Sunday's Albuquerque Journal showing Wilson trailing Re. Steve Pearce by 6 percentage points.

candidates joined Sen. Domenici at the NM Veteran's Memorial Park on Monday to listen
to Presidential Candidate John McCain before back-to-back debates this week.

Wilson's campaign
team, inspired by the endorsement, will put on an all out push to the wire, trying to convince Pearce's supporters to change their minds. They'll also fight to the end to persuade a large percentage of undecided voters to go for Wilson.

The Journal's poll shows nearly 16% of registered republican voters have not made up their mind
s in the senate primary race.

Domenici announced his endorsement late Friday afternoon, just three days before the June 3rd Primary.
Heather Wilson learned of the endorsement through a reporter just prior to the start of the New Mexico Broadcasters Association debate held last night.

The move came after he said he would not make any primary endorsement.

"Senator Domenici wanted to call Republicans throughout the state to let them know why he voted for Heather Wilson for Senate, and to encourage them to do the same. He wanted to personally convey, once again, his desire to see Heather Wilson elected to the United States Senate,” said Collins.

"Having brought her in to politics I have the utmost confidence in her ability to serve New Mexicans and America," Domenici told KOB TV. "I do want to tell all New Mexicans that today I cast my vote for Heather Wilson in the Senate race."

Domenici says he cast his vote for Wilson on Friday.

“I am deeply honored to have earned Senator Domenici’s support,” said Wilson. “Our campaign has great momentum heading into Tuesday’s election and we’re very encouraged.”

In his weekend statement, Domenici says, he hopes primary voters join him in voting for Heather Wilson.

"I voted for Heather Wilson because out of state special interest groups like the Club for Growth are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars unfairly distorting her record and trying to influence this election," Domenici said. "Heather Wilson is exceedingly qualified to fill my shoes in the Senate. She will support our labs, our military bases, our natural resources, and do what’s best for New Mexico."

More than 898,000 voters are eligible to vote on Tuesday. Less than 23% of registered voters cast ballots in the 2006 primary.

Be sure to Vote in our poll on the right side of the page.

Photos: MG Bralley

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Word is: Udall Isn't Taking Anything for Granted this Fall!

Rep. Tom Udall is airing commercials and hitting the campaign trail, but hasn't had a chance to defend his record after it was attacked by both Pearce and Wilson during their Tuesday night debate.

I gave him the chance. In this AUDIO INTERVIEW, Udall says he's always been a supporter of both national labs.

Staffers say Udall hasn't watched the first GOP U.S. Senate primary candidate debate yet, but said he was aware of some of the attacks on his voting record by both Rep. Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson.

Udall with his wife Jill standing behind him (left) has a large lead, in public opinion polls, over both of his potential general election opponents. Thursday night, Udall told a crowd, at his Albuquerque headquarters grand opening, that they should not take "anything for granted." He says the State and National Republican party are prepared to use "swift boat" tactics to narrow the public opinion polls.

Udall (a New Mexico Super Delegate) says he'll decide who he'll support in the Democratic presidential race after the June 3rd Primary. He says several issues will influence his decision. First he'll talk to both Sen. Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama about their stand on issues affecting the West and particularly New Mexico. He says he wants to know how they'll deal with poor education, state wide poverty, border security, public lands and water issues.

Udall Photo:
Mark Bralley

Word is: Lt. Governor Surveys Mexican Border!

Lt. Governor Diane Denish flew in a NM National Guard helicopter along the Mexican border in Southern New Mexico on Tuesday, May 27, 2008. She says the troops and border guards are doing a good job patrolling the area, but the Federal Government needs to continue funding the operation and the state needs to provide housing assistance.

General Kenny Montoya, Cultural Affairs Secretary Stuart Ashman and Col. Richard A Clark Jr showed Denish new ground surveillance systems they are using to apprehend immigrants caught crossing the border illegally.

In this TELEPHONE INTERVIEW (via cell phone) Denish told me that the drug-cartels are responsible for more than 266 violent murders, south of the border, this year alone. She says many critically injured indigents come across the border for treatment and leave without paying their bills. She hopes Governor Richardson calls a special session in August to deal with health care issues like this.

Denish also says the soldiers and border agents assigned to the area still need affordable housing in Deming. Currently, most personnel commute from El Paso and Las Cruces. Denish says she'll ask the Mortgage Finance Authority to provide resources in Deming and Columbus.

Meanwhile we've learned the Lt. Governor will receive the top honor from the volunteer service commission. The award recognizes her for being the "architect" of the state's Blueprint for Civic engagement. On Saturday, May 31, Denish will be recognized in Atlanta as the American Service Commission’s “Friend of ASC” awardee. It is the major honor given by the group, which oversees 52 state commissions on volunteerism, the largest administrators of AmeriCorps funds in the nation.

Tom Brannen, executive director of the Commission, said the Lt. Governor was nominated by the chair of its board, Bill Basl, executive director of Washington State’s volunteerism commission.

“This award goes to leaders who have done things to benefit our sector,” Mr. Brannen said. “Lt. Governor Denish, as chair of the New Mexico Commission for Community Volunteerism, has been the architect of the Blueprint for Service. We wanted to honor her for showing leadership on what our state governmental leaders are doing. Lt. Governor Denish is blazing the trail for that.”

The Blueprint for Civic Engagement, published in 2006, provides a framework for engaging New Mexicans of all ages and backgrounds in community-based activities that address the state's human, educational, environmental, public safety, health, housing, and other needs. Thanks in part to the document’s guidance, New Mexico has been one of the few states in the nation to see an increase in federal volunteerism money that support programs like AmeriCorps.

“We know that when people are engaged in their communities, they become healthier, happier and more committed to the public good,” Lt. Governor Denish said. “That’s especially true for our youths, who are otherwise at risk of truancy, dropping out and other illegal behaviors. Civic engagement is good for everyone.”

Past winners of the award are Robert Goodwin, past president and CEO of the Points of Light Foundation; Eli Segal, the founder of AmeriCorps; and Rosie Mauk, former director of AmeriCorps, the domestic version of Peace Corps.

Gregory Webb, executive director of the New Mexico Commission for Community Volunteerism said: “Lt. Governor Denish's leadership in the development of the Civic Blueprint has served as a roadmap not only for New Mexico, but for other states as well. Recently, the State of Colorado sent a delegation to meet with me to discuss how Colorado could emulate a similar plan for their state. This is a theme I am hearing more and more from other states from across the country."

Photos: MG Bralley

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