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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sound Off From "progressive dem": Who Will Take On Heather?

Editor's Note: I'm bumping this up from the comments section of several posts. I don't know who "progressive dem" is, but I think he or she is asking the right questions at the right time about who we can get to run against Rep. Heather Wilson (R-CD1) in 2006.

As Monahan reports, NO-ONE is stepping up to run against Scary Heather, despite the fact that the DNC is strongly pushing its 50 State Strategy in challenging Republicans. How can we allow this to happen? I know that finding, developing and supporting candidates is one of the most vital functions of the State Dem Party. However, years of neglect in Party building and member recruitment, coupled with establishment efforts to keep out "new blood" that doesn't toe the line of the bigwigs, has resulted in a very small and weak pool of potential candidates. Yes men and yes women usually don't make passionate and inspiring candidates.

It seems cruelly ironic that Miles Nelson, one of the most popular and passionate outsider candidates to date , was eternally stymied by the Governor and the powers that be when he ran for the chance to go up against Wilson last time. You know what happened. Now Miles lives out of the district and NOT ONE DEM is stepping up to the plate.

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT? Let's hear your thoughts after you read what "progressive dem" has to say. Can we come up with a candidate? -BW

Posted by: progressive dem | Aug 24, 2005 8:04:58 AM:

Netroots Candidate Recruitment

In this morning's blog, political watcher Joe Monahan reports that "no serious challenger" has emerged to take on Heather Wilson.

This is a major opportunity for Albuquerque's progressive community. Here's the challenge: let's recruit a strong, dynamic progressive candidate to run against New Hampshire's favorite daughter.

The establishment in Washington and Santa Fe have failed to annoint a candidate and bestow that person with hundreds of thousands of corporate dollars. Their failure of leadership has given the progressive community a golden opportunity to recruit and unite around a strong progressive voice that can take back New Mexico 1!

Heather Wilson is beatable - and she must be defeated this year lest she make a strong run for Dominici's soon-to-be vacated Senate seat. Bush's popularity is at an all time low and with divisive issues like Social Security remaining on this year's Congressional docket, Wilson could be more vulnerable than ever.

Now is the time to defeat her. Who should we recruit?

August 24, 2005 at 12:17 PM in Candidates & Races, Democratic Party, Sound Off! | Permalink


You pose the question of the season. If only there were someone brave and passionate who would step up and run. Patsy Madrid? Vigil-Giron? No thanks. Uninspiring, weak candidates.

I heard some people talking about Linda Lopez or Mimi Stewart. It's a start. The sad part is that we know the guv would nix both at the get go.

I think this problem in finding a strong candidate points up just how dismal the NM Dem Party has been for oh so long, stifling anyone who doesn't go along with the worst of the pandering to big dollar donors. Thus we have a pool of boring conformists.

Where is our Paul Hackett?

Posted by: El Norte | Aug 24, 2005 12:41:19 PM

I've been thinking for some time that Robin Marshment would make a great candidate. She is really smart and well-spoken, has name recognition and is popular. Not sure she is in Heather's district but is close. Robin is a friend. I haven't approached her. Think it might be a good idea if serious people asked her.

Posted by: Laura Stokes | Aug 24, 2005 1:13:08 PM

Thanks, Barb. I'm going to throw out a by no means complete list for discussion.

Martin Heinrich
Debbie O'Malley
Eric Griego (if he loses the Mayor's race...)
Linda Lopez
Miles Nelson (can he move back?)
Mimi Stewart
Judy Espinosa
Cisco McSorley
Jerry Ortiz y Pino
Gail Beam
Danice Picraux
Dede Feldman
James Taylor
Shannon Robinson
Bernadette Sanchez
Jim Baca
Sheryl Williams-Stapleton

Personally, I'd be thrilled if Taylor, Lopez, Nelson, McSorley, Stewart, Ortiz y Pino or Picraux took the plunge.

And, I think Heather deserves a primary challenge from the right. What do you say, Mario Burgos?

If all else fails, maybe we should bring back Manny Aragon!

Anyone I'm missing? Let'

Note: I've excluded Patsy Madrid, Rebecca Vigil-Giron and Al Park (presumably running for AG) from this list, but, others should feel free to consider them!)

Disclaimer: By no means is this an exhaustive list nor would I necessarily support all of these people. I just want to get conversation going and start pressuring these leaders to take the plunge.

Posted by: progressive dem | Aug 24, 2005 1:26:15 PM

Recruit someone who can:

1. Raise $3 million
2. Has a clean, unassailable past
3. Keeps a green out of the race.
4. Can capture the necessary republican, moderate democrat votes to win.
5. Hires skilled, experienced campaign consultants.
6. Helps the democratic ticket.

No Problem, right? How about Secretary of Health Michell Lujan Grisham?

Posted by: larry | Aug 24, 2005 1:26:27 PM

response to larry...

1. Raise $3 million

This is why it's important for Albuquerque's progressive community to unite around a candidate early - sometime this fall. Then, we can help raise the first couple hundred thousand, and make that person viable. After that, the establishment will stand up and take notice.

2. Has a clean, unassailable past
3. Keeps a green out of the race.
4. Can capture the necessary republican, moderate democrat votes to win.

Wilson will be vulnerable. Recent polls show President Bush at an all-time low. To make matters worse for Heather, Iraq is becoming more and more of a quagmire and a Social Security vote looms (which will either undermine her credibility with hardcore Republicans or her seniors base).

6. Helps the democratic ticket.

This is another plus for our ticket. Both Bingaman and Richardson will be on the ballot along with no prominent Republican opposition. The NM-1 nominee will benefit from their coattails and endorsement!

Posted by: progressive dem | Aug 24, 2005 1:32:58 PM

Good points. There is no question a dem can get 45-48% of the vote against "Leather". But can they get the percentage they need to put them over the top? That usually requires pursuading moderate dems and republicans in the mid-heights & west side to turn against Heather. Can a progressive that you seek turn those moderates on the issues they care about?

Posted by: larry | Aug 24, 2005 1:39:32 PM

"But can they get the percentage they need to put them over the top?"

If Paul Hackett can get 48% in Ohio-2, a principled Dem that unites the party and "tells it like it is" can win in a district that gave Gore, and I believe Kerry, narrow wins.

Posted by: progressive dem | Aug 24, 2005 1:44:06 PM

Prog. Dem:

That was an open, special election which provides the opportunity for the unique circumstances that brought Hackett so close. This is a regular, general election against an established incumbent in a non-presidential year. They are not one in the same, or even comparable.

I don't mean to rain on the parade, but if we are going to get a candidate who can really beat heather we have to be realistic.

Posted by: Larry | Aug 24, 2005 1:50:17 PM


1) who do you think would be a good fit? note that not all of the candidates on my list are progressive champions, some are moderates. who do you think would be a good candidate?

2) i'm not an unabashedly progressive, anti-dlc dem. there are two successful models for running as a democrat in the 21st century:


Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (KS) ran the perfect DLC race and became governor of Kansas. She ran as a centrist, uniting the Democratic Party and splitting off the moderate (economically conservative, socially moderate) wing of the Kansas Republican Party.


Gov. Brian Schweitzer (MT) ran the perfect populist Democrat race. A plain-spoken everyman, Schweitzer's staunchly anti-corporate, pro-working families attracted a blue majority in a red state.

Posted by: progressive dem | Aug 24, 2005 2:08:31 PM

I think a woman is in order. When we were phone banking for Romero it was amazing how many Dem women said they would vote for Heather primarily because she was a woman and thus had to be good on "women's issues." Oh and such a "nice" woman too. I can't tell you how many times we heard this.

Let's face it, we'll never win over the votes that see Heather's closeness to Domenici and bucks for Sandia and Kirtland as her main attraction. But I think we COULD make inroads on the women's vote IF we ran a strong woman. A man attacking "nice woman" Heather comes across as too nasty to many. But another woman going head to head doesn't suffer from that perception as much.

I hate to get into the gender thing, but in this case I think it may well be a huge factor.

Posted by: barb | Aug 24, 2005 2:21:07 PM

Sweitzer and Sibelius are great examples. I just don't know who we have here that fits the profile, has the money and doesn't have baggage.

I earlier suggested Michelle Lujan Grisham. Outside of that, I don't have many. I think your list is good but many of those candidates have some baggage, or don't have appeal outside of their individual districts, in my opinion.

David Campbell's name has been thrown around in the past. Vigil -Giron is looking at it. WHat about Kari Brandenburg?

Posted by: larry | Aug 24, 2005 2:21:44 PM

Cool. Now, we're getting somewhere. Let's check out our narrowed list with the women filter and the suggestions made above:

Debbie O'Malley
Linda Lopez
Mimi Stewart
Judy Espinosa
Michelle Lujan Grisham
Gail Beam
Danice Picraux
Dede Feldman
Bernadette Sanchez
Kari Brandenburg
Sheryl Williams-Stapleton

Any other filters?

I think a good conclusion to this discussion (and, it should be taken offline as well) would be to generate a list of 3-5 potential candidates and begin having DFNM members call and email that list, declare their support and promise $$$.

Posted by: progressive dem | Aug 24, 2005 2:32:57 PM

Comm. Deana Archuleta Loeser, too

Posted by: Larry | Aug 24, 2005 3:10:21 PM

Cool, ok. Let's start cutting. Any other filters? Anyone on that list that we should def exclude?

I think the following would be the strongest candidates:

Linda Lopez
Michelle Lujan Grisham
Danice Picraux


Posted by: progressive dem | Aug 24, 2005 3:40:36 PM

Coming in late to this discussion, but I think Debbie O'Malley is too inexperienced. Linda Lopez -- strong but I hear she is entering law school, as is Gail Beam, who I really like. Mimi Stewart has backbone and I think she's a strong contender.

Judy Espinosa would be an interesting choice, and of course Hispanic, but her playing the woman card in her mayoral race turned off many people, including women.

I don't know Grisham or Sanchez. Who are they?

I think Stapleton-Williams would be very very interesting. Has an African-American ever run for congress here?

Danice Picraux is feisty and would get much support in Bern.

None of them is ideal, are they?

Let's get some other people involved in this discussion.

Posted by: NM Dem 32 | Aug 24, 2005 4:16:40 PM

I would like to see Martin Heinrich run against Heather Wilson. I have watched him at the city council and I have attended several environmental events where he presented or testified. He is extremely knowledgeable and he seem to be very committed to a good set of values.

Posted by: Terry Riley | Aug 24, 2005 4:30:27 PM

Martin Heinrich is considering the State Land Commissioner's seat. With all the assalts on our public lands from the gas & oil industry, NM needs him in that position. We in the 6th Dist. will be faced with a serious problem when or if he leaves his Council seat. We'll just have to deal with it.

Remember, Heather will be capable of garnering plenty of finacial support from outside NM. We should seek out someone who is capable of the same, and yet still "clean". That would require them too be outside of the Paul Blanchard/Bill Richardson camp.

Posted by: Charlie | Aug 24, 2005 5:17:28 PM

good discusion. Vigil -Giron is looking at it and has the best name id and statewide network.

I love mimi but she has too many negatives.

Judy Espinosa would never get support outside NM. Her mayoral campaign will not go down in history as a well run campaign - and that's being nice.

But I do agree - the one thing that hasn't been thrown at Heather is a hispanic woman. Wilson is so well liked (can't tell you how many times i've heard, "she's a nice lady") it's hard for men to attack her without appearing as if they're to aggresive.

And a hispanic male just scares the crap out of the NE heights, sad as it might be. So my vote is a hispanic woman that can raise the money.
And I think Vigil -Giron has the best chance given the fact that Madrid is most likely out.

Posted by: localdem | Aug 24, 2005 6:58:19 PM

if rebecca is serious about running, she needs to pull the trigger soon. why? money. whoever is the nominee needs to have $300-500K in the bank by january 1.

if rebecca continues to dilly dally, we need to step up and recruit someone else. according to monahan, rebecca isn't interested. if this is the case, then, we need to get someone else ready.

rebecca, if you're reading this - please, please let us know soon! if you're not going to pull the trigger, step aside so that someone else can run. and, again, i think the best candidates would be:

Linda Lopez
Michelle Lujan Grisham
Danice Picraux

Posted by: progressive dem | Aug 24, 2005 8:33:49 PM

Rebecca Vigil Giron Give me a break. Patricia Madrid is much smarter than Rebecca is. Look at Election reform.

Posted by: | Aug 24, 2005 11:45:37 PM

I heard for years that Michelle Grisham Lujan is an R. We need someone with money and a real DEM. Patricia is not perfect but she can raise the money and take on Heather

Posted by: | Aug 24, 2005 11:49:38 PM

note: i took madrid off the list because of monahan's report that it was "very unlikely" that she will run. Hence, the need for the progressive community to recruit a candidate.

Posted by: progressive dem | Aug 25, 2005 6:33:25 AM

Trust me, Vigil-Giron will NEVER get any money from outside NM from the progressive or netroots community. And virtually no support from those groups within NM either. She was truly awful fighting against a recount in the last election and continues to be combative, delaying and uncooperative now on election reform issues and the voters lawsuit. The large donation she took from one voting machine company was a news item across the country.

Granted, she takes her marching orders from the guv, but she is very much disliked and has absolutely no credibility outside the business as usual community.

localdem: what do you mean that Mimi Stewart has "baggage"?

I imagine any candidate who is truly progressive and has a backbone would be considered to have "baggage" by establishment dems LOL!

IF we can get someone WITH some backbone and the nerve to speak passionately, without all the faked "grooming" of candidate and message usually applied by Beltway types, we could raise big bucks nationally via the netroots. Look how much money Romero raised that way and he wasn't even a very strong candidate. Despite New Mexican's believing the myths about Wilson, Dems around the nation truly dislike and mistrust her, as they should.

Posted by: NM Dem 32 | Aug 25, 2005 7:56:20 AM

I would say that DWI is baggage.

Lujan Grisham is not a Republican. She's a long time health advocate and an attorney.

Madrid isn't running.

Posted by: Larry | Aug 25, 2005 8:01:42 AM

It would go along way if any of the above mention "dream" candidates would actually particiapte in this discussion.

This is a great conversation that would foster more dialouge if someone like Sen. Lopez or Rep. Stewart or even Patricia Madrid would say "Thanks for your support but I'm not considedring it".

Barb and Mary Ellen work really hard -on this great blog of theirs- at fostering conversations and the New Mexico Netroots deserve more.

Posted by: joaquin | Aug 25, 2005 8:41:09 AM

Until we're able to get our ability to vote back from Rebecca Vigil -Giron, we're just adding fodder to Monahan's blog. The dust should clear after ABQ's October elections. Campaign volunteers & workers will begin to get the itch again after a short while, then they will start drawing their lines in the sand.
Is DFNM ready to show its list of recommendations outside of this blog? It may encourage a few to announce, as we'll as discouraging a few from considering a run.
Miles Nelson was able to garner over 25% of the delegates last time. Now that we're organized, we should be able to override the Gov's wishes next time. We should be able to increase our numbers from those working on current campaigns before the next caucus.
Get out there, and recruit some delegates.

Posted by: Charlie | Aug 25, 2005 1:21:11 PM

what a great discussion to open up and see.
My favorite would be Senator Lopez. I think it would be great if some snoop of one of these women happens to read this thing and goes back and talks about the discussion.
Like someone said early on...where is our paul hackett????

Posted by: mary ellen | Aug 25, 2005 3:46:12 PM

If Linda Lopez is entering law school this fall, she is definitely out. What about Theresa Cordova? She has great creds and did surprisingly well in the County Commission race.

Posted by: Leslie | Aug 26, 2005 4:10:10 PM

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