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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Two Repubs Mull Run for Heather Wilson's Seat

Two Republican names are consistently being mentioned as possible candidates for the Congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Heather Wilson (NM-01), who's running for Pete Domenici's Senate seat in 2008: Sheriff Darren White and State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones.

DarrenwhiteOn the strongly conservative side, there's current Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White, who headed up the Bush-Cheney campaign in Bernalillo County last time out. This election cycle, he's been working for Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign in the county. Sheriff White will fly to DC this week to confer with GOP bigwigs. He's known to have connections with the same folks who brought us the bogus GOP "voter fraud" strategy and were go-betweens in the political firing of US Attorney David Iglesias: lawyer-lobbyist Mickey Barnett and attorney Pat Rogers.

White began his second four-year term as the Sheriff of Bernalillo County on January 1, 2007. He was a Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety from 1995-99 during Gov. Gary Johnson's administration. Previously, he served as an officer in both the Houston and Albuquerque police departments. He's an Army vet, having served with the 82nd Airborne. White has a Bachelor's in management from the University of Phoenix.

Fear and Loathing in New Mexico
Sheriff White can be expected to run as a "law and order" and "homeland security" candidate. Some of his major issues as Sheriff have been tougher enforcement on DWI, methamphetmine and sex offenses. Add illegal immigration and "border security" to the mix and, voila, you've got the typical right-wing platform based on fear, "cracking down" on crime and being ever vigilant against "terrorists."

The idea is to scare people by exaggerating threats as much as possible, and then to sell yourself as the hero who will keep them safe. We've seen this strategy over and over during the Bush II era. It's usually accompanied by a thousand TV ads that attempt to smear opponents as less than patriotic, as well as soft on crime, terrorism and illegal immigration. It can be seen as the Big Daddy Will Protect You strategy. White seems tailor made for it. This setup has been employed by the GOP for decades in one form or another. Remember when every Dem who dared to voice an opinion was labeled a Pinko-Commie or someone who "coddles" criminals?

AjonesState Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones (R-Albuquerque), a more moderate Repub, is also mulling tossing her hat in the ring in NM-01 and has said she's checking out the fundraising situation before going forward. Arnold-Jones was first elected to the NM House in 2002. During the 2007 Legislative Session she served on the House Taxation and Revenue Committee (and the Capital Outlay Subcommittee) and the House Voters and Elections Committee. She has a BA in Speech Communication from UNM. Here's her bio.

Powerful right-wing GOP operatives can be expected to encourage her not to enter the race as she's not a good match for their usual Big Daddy approach to campaigning.

Background: Sheriff White and "Voter Fraud"
Here's more background about Sheriff Darren White's involvement in the GOP's "voter fraud" scam that later became a pivotal issue in the firing of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias:

From an indepth look at the GOP's pursuit of bogus "voter fraud" in New Mexico, in the magazine of the National Housing Institute:

By the fall of 2004, the presidential contest between George W. Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry had tightened, and by all accounts, ACORN was signing up new voters statewide. By August 2004, ACORN and its allies registered 65,000 people-about a 10-percent increase over 2000-in Bernalillo County, home to Albuquerque. The Republicans' vendetta against ACORN in New Mexico was about to begin.

It started in early August when a group of Republicans led by County Sheriff Darren White marched into the Bernalillo County clerk's office and asked if there were any "problem" registrations. County Clerk Mary Herrera said yes: some 3,000 incomplete or error-ridden forms were missing Social Security numbers, post office box addresses, or signatures.

That was enough for White, one of the state's highest-profile Republicans and chair of the county Bush-Cheney campaign. "When they brought me on, it was plain and simple: They said, 'We need to win Bernalillo County,' " White told the Albuquerque Journal.

On August 5, he dashed off a letter to New Mexico's U.S. attorney, David C. Iglesias, asking him to investigate voter-registration cards that might be fraudulent. A series of "suspect" forms had been submitted in recent weeks, he said in his letter.

As we all know by now, and as the article explains, no "voter fraud" was found by U.S. Attorney Iglesias and a task force he created. Instead, the investigation turned up the usual kinds of mistakes and errors found in voter registration applications.

From a summary of the conduct of the 2004 election in New Mexico:

Two months before the election, Republican U.S. Attorney David Iglesias formed a task force — involving the criminal division of the U.S. Justice Department, the FBI, the New Mexico Department of Public Safety and the secretary of state's office — to investigate and prosecute suspected cases of election fraud. "The New Mexico probe was launched in part at the request of Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White, who chairs the county's Bush-Cheney campaign."

"When they brought me on, it was plain and simple: They said, `We need to win Bernalillo County,'" said Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White, who is helping coordinate Bush's campaign here. In April 2004, Sheriff White was added to the National Bush-Cheney '04 First Responders Leadership Team. "The Bush-Cheney '04 National First Responders Leadership Team will help build a nationwide network of grassroots support for the President and help communicate his commitment to homeland security and his record of achievement for America's first responders."

Sheriff White also attended the 2004 Republican National Convention as a GOP delegate. While in New York City, the delegates took in a Broadway show and a tour of the Fox News studios. Sheriff White also received the honor of being one of the 10 delegates selected to officially inform President Bush of his selection as the official Republican nominee for President.

Click for previous posts about the NM-01 Congressional race and the U.S. Attorney firing scandal.

October 9, 2007 at 10:30 AM in NM-01 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink

Comments

I thought Hather Wilson was bad. I would never be able to live with Darren White as our rep. We have to work very hard to keep him out as Im certain hed win a repub primary easily.

Posted by: JD | Oct 9, 2007 12:59:14 PM

White is just fine where he is, I absolutely agree that we need to work to keep him out of congress. Fortunately we have a very good progressive candidate for that seat.

Posted by: VP | Oct 9, 2007 4:04:46 PM

I think you miss posted the title ....did you mean to say 3 repubs are in the race...marty/heather/and darren?

Posted by: dem voter | Oct 9, 2007 4:27:38 PM