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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ellen Wedum Guest Blog: View of Jennings from SE New Mexico

EWedumThis is a guest blog by Ellen Wedum written in response to a recent guest blog by John Wertheim. Ellen was a candidate for State Representative in HD 59 this year, but lost to incumbent Republican Nora Espinoza. She chairs the Democratic Party of Otero County.

It is really easy for people like Wertheim, who have lived and worked “north of I-40,” to comment on what goes on in the neglected SE corner of New Mexico. Wertheim wrote in his blog: "Why are Jennings and Papen so afraid of the progressive agenda..."

Wertheim ignores the reasons that were stated by Senator Tim Jennings and makes up his own. The big question in my mind is, WHO authorized the 'push poll' that led to Jennings’ reaction? I doubt very much that it was authorized by Senator-elect Fischmann. I would expect him to also condemn this dirty tactic.

Now my campaign for House District 59 was negatively affected by Democratic Senator Nava of Las Cruces, as she allowed my Republican opponent, Nora Espinoza, to sign on to SB 31, Nava's bill to expand the number of schools in dual-credit programs. This doubled Espinoza’s total of bills she can take credit for passing in her first two years in the legislature. Big whoop there. Espinoza also tried to sign on to the $5 million bailout for flood damage that passed in the special session, but Senator Tim Jennings, the true sponsor of the bill, apparently told her no, as she hasn't bragged about that. Jennings also donated $300 to my campaign. Only two other legislators helped me out: Representatives Chasey and Lundstrom. Espinoza received $500 each from Republicans Keith Gardner and Dub Williams, and $250 from Boitano, plus small donations from over 20 PACs.

Remember that Espinoza was the Republican representative who not only voted against House Bill 9, the Domestic Partnership bill, but also spoke against it in the Senate and ‘turned’ Democratic Senators Rainaldi and Taylor, who both voted against HB9 in the Senate Judiciary committee and prevented it from receiving a Senate floor vote. Apparently Rainaldi got so much flack for his harsh questioning of Representative Stewart that he did not even run for re-election (I was there and heard it all), and Taylor was defeated by Eric Griego.

And by the way I am very glad Rawson was defeated, he was one of those ‘snipers,’ like Carraro, Foley and Candy Spence Ezzell, who would waste time, and our tax dollars, with nasty comments and stupid questions during the floor sessions. Carraro and Rawson are now gone and the Republicans, mainly due to the investment of $200,000 by Big Oilmen like Mark Murphy, got rid of Foley for us. Republican Dennis Kintigh, his replacement, is a pretty decent guy, more like the new minority whip Keith Gardner. (Gardner has been given the title “the gentle giant of the quad counties” for his size and mild demeanor.)

So let’s not attack our Democratic legislators because they get upset when dirty tactics are used. I doubt that news of the nastiness that went on in the Albuquerque area in the three races Wertheim mentioned ever reached “south of I-40.” Both Bernalillo and Valencia counties are comfortably, if not overwhelmingly, Democratic, while Tim Jennings is the ONLY Democratic legislator from Chaves county. I’d appreciate it if you Albuquerque area folks would give more support to Democrats like George Peterson and me that are running in the tough districts down here, and help us get rid of Ezzell and Espinoza, instead of trying to remove Democratic influence from Chaves county entirely. It has long been absent from Lincoln county and from most of the eastern side of New Mexico. And also think about supporting special ed teacher Doug Post of Alamogordo in Otero county, who got nearly 46% of the vote against Republican representative Gloria Vaughn. That should be an interesting race in 2010.

This is a guest blog by Ellen Wedum. You can see an Alamogordo Daily News profile of the HD 59 race and the candidates here and here.

Guest blogs provide an opportunity for our readers to express themselves on topics of interest to the political discourse here, and may or may not express the views of the DFNM blog. If you'd like to submit a post for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link on the upper left-hand corner of the page.

November 18, 2008 at 10:08 AM in 2008 NM State Legislature Races, Democratic Party, Guest Blogger | Permalink


This misreported notion of a "push poll" needs to be put to rest. Conservation Voters NM Action Fund conducted a live persuasion ID phone program in SD 37 as part of our PAC voter contact program, and our script DID NOT contain the word alleged by Senator Jennings. If the voter said they were undecided or could change their mind about which candidate they would support, we DID point out that Rawson had used capital outlay (as reported in the LC Sun) to pave a road outside of his district and clear across town in front of his family business. In contrast, we stated that Steve Fischmann will work for ordinary New Mexicans that live in his District and will work to create new jobs in the renewable energy sector. I don't believe these are "dirty tactics" as Ellen calls them. Voters deserve to know these distinctions and they spoke clearly on election day in favor of Steve Fischmann. BTW, we've reviewed our universe of phone numbers and can't find Senator Jennings published home phone number in Chaves county nor anyone with the last name Jennings in our phone program universe, so its unclear to us how he supposedly received our call outside of the district....Sandy Buffett, CVNM Action Fund

Posted by: Sandy B. | Nov 18, 2008 10:35:01 AM

The plain truth (OK, my NSH opinion) is that Jennings flat out lied to campaign for a Rethuglican. If I had done such a thing for whatever reason I would be stripped of my position as Democratic party Ward chair. Now, Sen. Jennings is an elected official, not a Democratic Party official. Nobody can take that from him, at least not for another four years. His leadership post in the Senate is another matter. He should be removed as president pro-tem post haste.

Posted by: Proud Democrat | Nov 18, 2008 10:58:16 AM

Good that Sandy Buffet took the time to put the facts here. Jennings lied and he thought only of trying to keep his power position when he did it. He should be ashamed of himself and no Democrat should make excuses for him.

Posted by: JJ | Nov 18, 2008 11:18:49 AM

I am very progressive, but after reading this post I am not sure this person is fit to run for office. She is mad at Nava for getting bi-partisan support for a bill and mad because she apparently didn't know how to fundraise? She is also sadly mistaken if she thinks Taylor was thrown out of office because he didn't support Domestic Partnership. Also, the "big three races" that she cited as "comfortably or overwhemingly" democratic actually consisted of a race that a Democrat (RAIGOZA) LOST because of DIRTY TACTICS by the Repubs and Valencia IS a swing county. Judging by her post, she probably had a lot to do with the lack of monetary and electoral support.

Posted by: REX | Nov 18, 2008 11:49:42 AM

Wedum does seem awfully mixed up about how the legislature works and what co-sponsoring bills is all about. She takes on faith that some kind of push poll was being used when that is not the truth. Something tells me she's friends with Jennings and not as progressive as she suggests.

Posted by: LT | Nov 18, 2008 11:54:27 AM

I agree. This post is good evidence of why she probably wasn't taken very seriously as a viable candidate.

Posted by: AGREE | Nov 18, 2008 11:56:36 AM

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