Saturday, May 31, 2008
NM-01: Former Ambassador Joe Wilson Endorses Heinrich
Today former Ambassador Joe Wilson (with a new buzz cut) endorsed Martin Heinrich for Congress in NM-01. I especially like one of the reasons he cites for his support: "On energy policy he will do everything he can to free us from dependence on Middle Eastern oil so we never have to send American troops to fight in stupid wars again."
Ambassador Wilson also explained his support in a letter to voters:
I write you today to ask you to support Martin Heinrich in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. If we are serious about charting a new direction for our country, we must support strong leaders, like Martin, who have demonstrated the ability to enact change. My family and I may be relative newcomers to New Mexico, but I have seen the destruction caused by the years of the Republicans pushing their partisan agenda in Washington. I recognize the necessity for immediate action, starting here at home – that is why we must elect Martin Heinrich.
I support Martin because his core values will lead him to make the right choices for New Mexicans. The son of an electrical lineman and a factory worker, Martin appreciates the value of hard work. He proved this when he successfully fought to raise Albuquerque’s minimum wage. He led that struggle for two years, through its ups and downs, and did not quit until the job was done. I am confident we will see this same work ethic when we send Martin to represent us in Congress.
Martin is keenly aware that we need new leadership on foreign policy and national security. We cannot afford any more Bush/Cheney-like recklessness that has cost this country trillions of dollars and thousands of American soldiers’ lives. I know firsthand that the Bush administration rushed us into an ill-conceived war based on manipulated intelligence. That administration took its eyes off the real threats -- al-Qaeda and the chaos in Afghanistan -- and instead jeopardized our national security to solely enact its extreme partisan agenda.
Martin believes we can make America both safer and stronger by bringing our troops home from Iraq, rooting out the terrorists in Afghanistan, and rebuilding our international alliances.
America's, and New Mexico’s, financial stability depends on strong foreign policy. We cannot continue spending billions of dollars in Iraq with no end in sight while New Mexican families bear the brunt of a slowing economy. We see rising costs in everything from gasoline prices to healthcare, and the bills left for our children and grandchildren. This is another reason why Martin will work to bring a responsible end to the war in Iraq.
Martin understands that American freedom requires true energy independence from unstable regimes in the Middle East. That's why he has proposed a plan to break us from our dependence on foreign oil by increasing energy efficiency and developing alternative energy technologies here at home. By investing in local technologies, we will provide the basis for a new energy economy and jobs of the future for our children, right here in New Mexico.
Martin also knows that we must honor those who have served our nation. That's why he will make sure our veterans, including those here at Kirtland Air Force Base, have well funded VA hospitals that provide efficient, high-quality health care. Martin believes it is the very least we can do to show our gratitude for their service. This is one of the many reasons why Martin would like to be on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
These are just a few of the reasons why I urge you to vote for Martin Heinrich on June 3rd and again on November 4th. Our country is at a turning point. We must send leaders to Washington who will work to put us back on track. I believe that Martin is one of those leaders, and I hope you will join me in supporting him. It could not be more important.
Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson
NM-Sen: Wilson-Pearce Debate Follies; Domenici Flip-Flops to Endorse Wilson
Last night's final debate between the "Common Sense Conservative" and the "Club for Growth Hero" consisted mostly of a rehash of already plumbed issues like who voted against what in terms of pork for New Mexico, who would drill the most for oil and do it quicker, who supports the highest fence at the border, which one is more "electable," and who wants to throw widows and children off Social Security.
Naturally, both candidates stood tall and recited the familiar mantra, with maximum gradiosity and moral certitude, that "marriage is between one man and one woman." I wish one of the soft-ball questioners would have asked them if they supported starving the widows (or widowers) and children of gay partners because federal Social Security benefits available to married couples are not available to gay couples. I really would have liked to hear their answers. But it was not to be.
I fail to see much value in any of the "debates" I've seen this season. The norm is that simplistic, banal questions are asked that permit each candidate to recite their memorized talking points, and then the topic is changed. Never any follow-up to throw the candidates off their rote recitations designed to convey as little as possible of any depth. Never any challenging of a distortion or muddied logic in an answer. Question - recitation - next question.
Take the gay marriage question. Does anyone paying attention believe that either Pearce or Wilson would say anything other than what they always say? Why ask a question when everyone already knows the answers that will be given? All it does is provide the candidates with another chance to repeat a wedge issue slogan. That's what passes for political discourse these days?
If you watched last night you'd have no idea that global warming, civil liberties, our right to privacy, FISA legislation, health care reform, "free" trade, the shredding of the U.S. Constitution or education improvements were issues being discussed in the real world. I thought even the Iraq occupation and "homeland security" got short shrift. I guess dealing with these kinds of issues would just take away from the main concerns of Republicans -- avoiding paying their fair share of taxes while grabbing the most defense and energy pork for their home state, and keeping the gay folks unmarried.
The Fumbled Endorsement
The giddiest response by the media and analysts was produced by an awkwardly introduced and rather confusing revelation by Heather that Pete Domenici had suddenly decided to endorse her. Or something. Heather became a bit teary eyed when announcing the development, as she has a tendency to do when Domenici's name is mentioned or a Superbowl half-time show features a mammary faux pas. But it was unclear during the debate whether Domenici had really endorsed Wilson or merely wished her well in the debate. She did claim she had verified the endorsement with Domenici's office, but there was much muttering afterwards about what had really happened, and when.
Turns out the 76-year-old Domenici, who's suffering from a degenerative brain disease, blurted out during a Socorro appearance yesterday that he wished Heather would win the debate. This was apparently interpreted by Steve Bell, Domenici's powerful right-hand man, to mean that the Senator was "probably" endorsing Wilson. Bell later confirmed it was a genuine endorsement. Eventually, a written statement was released by Domenici's office formally providing the endorsement. Here's the text.
In the statement, Domenici explains he broke his pledge to stay neutral in the GOP Senate primary due to the failure of Pearce to stop the TV ads bashing Heather that were being run by the New York City-based, right-wing Club for Growth. Domenici had previously called for Pearce to convince the out-of-state group to stop running the ads. He also described Wilson as "the brightest member of Congress I know." Heaven help us if that's true. I will say one thing -- Wilson exhibits some of the strangest facial expressions of any "debater" I've seen. I wonder what that tells us about her being ....
An article in today's Albuquerque Journal offers a few more reasons for Domenici's change of mind:
[Steve] Bell said Domenici became agitated in recent days with Pearce's criticism of so-called "earmarks," or pet spending projects lawmakers insert into appropriations bills. Pearce criticized congressional earmarks in a debate Tuesday night sponsored by the Journal and KOAT-TV.
"That sent him over the edge," Bell said. "This (Domenici) is a guy who brings 4 or 5 billion dollars to the state every year, and a lot of that is earmarks. He tried to keep a stance of public neutrality as long as he could," Bell said.
... Bell also said Domenici was put off by Pearce's opposition to mental health parity legislation and expanding health care for poor children. "How do you think he would react to that?" Bell said.
According to Repubs like Domenici, earmarks and government spending are great as long as they are meant for their home state, that of another Republican's or for a pet cause. It's only if they are for a Democrat's state or the common good that they represent bad, out-of-control spending. And it's a given that no taxes should be levied to pay for the pork. Deficit spending on Republican pork is always AOK in Repub circles.
If you missed the televised debate and, for some reason, would like to watch it, visit KNME's blog for video.
New Mexico Voter Registration Statistics: Independents Post Largest Percentage Gain
According to an AP story, voters eligible to vote in Tuesday's primary election in New Mexico total about 898,000 -- 543,615 Democrats and 354,272 Republicans. Since the 2004 primary here, Republicans have managed a 14% increase in registration and Democrats made a 9% gain in voter registrations in the state. In addition:
Currently, Democrats account for half of the state's registered voters. That's down slightly from June 2004, when Democrats represented 52 percent of all registered voters.
Republicans represented a third of the state's voters when registration rolls closed earlier this month for the primary election. They were 32 percent in 2004.
The biggest gain in registration in the past four years occurred with people unaffiliated with a political party.
So-called independents—"declined to state" a party affiliation, as it is called in New Mexico—total 161,116, an increase of 32 percent since 2004. That continues a trend in which independents are growing as a share of New Mexico's electorate. Unaffiliated voters account for 15 percent of registration this year, up from 13 percent in the 2004 primary.
- Total voter registration: 1.08 million, up 13% over 2004 primary
- 13% registration increase in the Albuquerque-area NM-01 since 2004
- 11% gain in NM-02 in southern New Mexico
- 13% increase in NM-03 in northern New Mexico
- Largest increase in voter registration: Sandoval County, including Rio Rancho, up 35%
- Dona Ana County had a 24% increase
- McKinley County, 19%
- Bernalillo County, 17%
- In 2004 primary, 187,821 Democrats, Republicans and Greens cast ballots, 23% of those registered and eligible to vote
- In 2000 primary, 223,490 Democrats, Republicans and Greens voted -- 28% of those registered that year
What does all this mean in terms of Tuesday's results? We can only wait and see. One thing I know for sure is that the Dem Party at all levels, as well as the Dem campaigns, need to put a lot more energy and time into increasing registrations for the Fall election. I'm pumped because Barack Obama is making that one of his top priorties, all over the nation.
Friday, May 30, 2008
NM-02: McCamley Counters What He Calls Teague's "Bizarre Claims"
Looks like there's one more well-connected, big-donor-funded Dem primary candidate panicking as election day looms -- because his grassroots rival has a real chance to win. At the last minute, Harry Teague appears to be trying to remake his image by assuming the change-agent identity of his challenger, just for starters. Accusing Teague of making "bizarre claims," the McCamley campaign issued this statement:
Today the campaign of Congressional candidate and Doña Ana County Commissioner Bill McCamley questioned two new TV ads of his primary opponent Harry Teague. In one ad, Teague claims that “there is only one candidate for change. Harry Teague.” This claim is directly contrary to what independent sources have said and to what Mr. Teague himself has said in recent days.
In an Associated Press article on the Congressional race from 5/23, Mr. Teague said, “When you look at who has always represented this district forever, it’s been a middle-aged conservative businessman from the east side of the mountains.” In the same article, he refers to himself as “a middle-aged conservative businessman from the east side of the mountains.” Later on, he adds, “Harold Runnels, Joe Skeen and Steve Pearce. In November, it’s going to be me. That’s what the people want. That's what they’ve wanted for the past 40 years.”
So is Teague just like “who has always represented this district forever” or is he the “only candidate of change”? He can’t have it both ways.
“Mr. Teague contributed the maximum amount ($2,100) to Republican incumbent Steve Pearce in the last election. By his own admission, Mr. Teague is the same as Pearce, Skeen, and everyone who has ‘always represented this district forever,’ and now he's trying to be the candidate of change?” Ward said. “That is misleading. There is more change in my couch than in electing Mr. Teague.”
In another ad released yesterday, the Teague campaign claims that McCamley is running a “dishonest” campaign ad, yet they do not say what exactly about the ad is dishonest. If the Teague campaign believes there is some specific fact that is untrue, they ought to dispute it. They haven’t, because everything in the McCamley ad is true.
Teague’s newest ad also says: “Our newspapers .. Teague is ‘the best choice.’” However, Mr. Teague has only received the endorsement of one newspaper in the 2nd Congressional District -– his hometown paper, The Hobbs News-Sun. The Teague ad conveniently leaves out the “Hobbs” from the Hobbs News-Sun. In contrast, Bill McCamley has received the endorsements of three: The Silver City Daily Press, The Roswell Daily Record, and The Las Cruces Sun-News.
“Our newspapers” are clearly divided over who is the best choice, and more newspapers in the District favor McCamley.
You still have time to volunteer or donate to Bill McCamley's campaign. Click here.
SD 17: Shannon Robinson Hits New Low with Campaign Mailers; Gets Contributions from Vested Interests
New Mexico's primary cycle certainly has had its share of negative campaigning, but the latest low-life moves by Dem incumbent Shannon Robinson (right) -- who's running to keep his State Senate seat in Albuquerque District 17 -- may well be the filthiest campaign tactics used so far this year. I'd call them Rovian in nature, but Robinson's hits are far worse because they're aimed at a candidate in his own Party. And they're outright lies. And he needs to be called on it.
Robinson is facing a hard-charging challenge from Tim Keller, a smart, articulate and progressive reform candidate who's earned endorsements from some of the most respected and ethical Dems in town, as well as scads of organizations and neighborhood leaders (see this post.) It must really be getting to Robinson, who's used to running unopposed and unchallenged on his ethical breeches and his favors to the powers that be. I'm sure he can't believe what's happening and he's responding in the worst possible way -- by trying to slime Keller with outrageously distorted mailings in the last days before the primary. Obviously, Robinson's feeling really desperate. Panicked. Ready to do or say almost anything to try and gain an edge.
Robinson Equates Keller with GOP, Bush
Get this: a recent direct mail piece distributed by Robinson's campaign has this to say about Keller:
"Tim Keller was recruited by the REPUBLICAN Party, his campaign funded by the REPUBLICAN Party, and if elected he will vote with the REPUBLICAN Party."
Another Robinson mailer equates Tim Keller with George Bush, and shows their photos side by side to underline the claim. I'm not kidding you. Hey Shannon, it's you who gets support from donors that usually support Bush and other Republicans.
Keller's Strong Support from Dems, Progressives, Unions
Maybe someone should tell Democratic-to-the core folks like Rey Garduno, Jerry Ortiz y Pino and Richard Romero that they've -- gasp -- heartily endorsed a candidate who's a stealth Republican! Evidently Keller has also managed to fool progressive and labor groups like the Albuquerque Teachers Federation; the National Educational Association, New Mexico; New Mexico Professional Firefighters Association; Conservation Voters New Mexico; ACORN, New Mexico; the Hispano Round Table de Nuevo México; New Mexico Progressive Action; Albuquerque Area Firefighters Local 244; the Sierra Club; and DFA-Democracy for New Mexico -- all of which have endorsed Tim Keller. Click for even more loyal Dems who are supporting Keller.
Who's the Real Democrat?
Judging by the corporate special interests donating to Robinson's campaign, I'd have to say it's NOT Shannon Robinson. Shannon more closely resembles one of those bought-off change fighters we've come across all too often of late in Democratic politics -- a DINO -- Democrat in Name Only. How else to explain donations to Robinson like these:
Nearly $8,000 from oil and gas Interests—in the last 15 days!
$500 BP North America Employee
$1,000 ConocoPhillips Company
$600 Devon Energy Corporation
$600 Giant Industries
$500 Phelps Dodge
Other suspect donations have come from:
$1500 from Insurance groups
$600 Anheuser-Busch Cos
$500 National Rifle Association
$500 Reynolds American (Tobacco)
$1000 Corrections Corp. of America (private prisons)
Are these entities that normally support progressive Democrats? Yet they're supporting Shannon Robinson with donations considered large in a State Senate race. What does that tell you? It seems clear that monied interests that almost always work against any candidate with a progressive, Democratic agenda are supporting none other than Shannon Robinson in this race. Shame on Shannon.
Yeah, But How Does Robinson Vote?
Not surprisingly, Shannon Robinson's voting record reflects his buddy-buddy relationships with his big donors, who are against the very things that real Dems believe in. Check out this Keller mailer that spells out Robinson's DINO-ness by examining his actions. Robinson's record shows him protecting the health care industry, being involved in activities to fight a raise in the minimum wage, opposing ethics reform, protecting oil and gas interests and pushing the privatization of education. Maybe it's Robinson who's shifted over to the dark side of the aisle ....
Last Chance to Help
Let's do what we can to help Tim Keller -- the real deal -- win this race and get rid of another outed DINO Dem. Visit Keller's website or email firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer some time or donate some money. Tim's got a terrific chance to win this seat, but only if The People help him do it.
SD 14: What is James Taylor Hiding? Fails to Submit Campaign Donation Report
James G. Taylor (right), the incumbent Dem State Senator in District 14, has failed to submit his latest financial report on contributions to his campaign, which was due yesterday. He'll be charged with an ethics violation and fined, a price Taylor is apparently ready to pay in order to keep his last-minute donors secret until after Tuesday's primary election. He is in violation of the Campaign Reporting Act Statue 1-19-35, page 14, "Reports and Statements; late filing penalty; failure to file." The penalty for late filing of the report due the Thursday before an election is $500 plus $50 per day for each additional working day the report is late.
This isn't the first time Taylor has failed to meet a reporting deadline. He was nine days late filing his last required contribution report, originally due on May 12th. The Secretary of State extended the deadline until the 13th, and Taylor finally turned it in on May 22. For some reason, he's having a hard time following the rules.
Taylor is facing a strong primary challenge from former Albuquerque City Councilor Eric Griego. Griego is known for his support of well-planned and integrated "smart growth" -- development done in a manner that follows common sense guidelines, favors infill and doesn't produce harmful, overbuilt sprawl. In contrast, Taylor is clearly on the side of those who believe in giving big developers taxpayer-funded "tax increment financing" to build what they were already going to build -- and doing so without asking much in return in meeting standards for planning, design, timing, job development or anything else.
So what is James Taylor trying to hide by failing to file his latest financial report on time?
Connections with SunCal, Atrisco Oil and Gas
Could it that he doesn't want to call attention to generous campaign contributions from donors associated with Sun-Cal, Atrisco Oil and Gas and others pushing for taxpayer subsidies and against meaningful regulation of their massive projects proposed for the West Side?
As reported in an article in today's Albuquerque Journal, Atrisco Oil and Gas is going so far as to host a special picnic and rally tomorrow in support of certain incumbent candidates, including Taylor, who can be expected to back their business interests without restraint. Officials from SunCal will also address the crowd:
The Atrisco heirs organization, Atrisco Oil and Gas, is holding a picnic rally Sunday for legislators they endorse in coming elections. Along with letting three legislators with primary elections Tuesday speak, the company has invited three other legislators and West Side development company SunCal Cos. to address the crowd, Atrisco President Peter Sanchez said.
The rally is being questioned on ethical grounds:
Some community groups think the event, which is allowable under state law, is too big of a mix of corporate interest and state government.
"I don't think the question is whether it's legal, it's whether it's ethical," said Gabriel Nims, executive director of 1,000 Friends of New Mexico.
Steve Allen, Common Cause New Mexico executive director, said a large corporation spending money just before an election skews the playing field in politics. "It becomes dangerously close to the influence peddling the ordinary voter is skeptical of," he said.
[Nimms added] "What's so alarming ... is that it's so blatant in working to preserve the business interests of (Atrisco and SunCal).
... SunCal recently bought 57,000 acres from the shareholders of Westland, the corporate successor to the Atrisco Land Grant, for $250 million and has plans to develop it. Atrisco contracted with a company last year to begin searching for natural gas inside the property, as well.
A story by Barbara Armijo in today's New Mexico Independent also discusses tomorrow's rally for Taylor and two other incumbents:
The intra-party battle between the incumbents and their challengers appears, in part, to revolve around how to pay for development of West Side, specifically the idea of earmarking future tax revenue to pay for roads and water and sewer lines that will help SunCal develop its planned community. That is what is called for in creating a tax increment development district whereby future gross receipts taxes are used by SunCal to help pay for roads, water and sewer lines.
That means those tax dollars won't be available to the state in the future to help fund state programs, said Eric Griego, a former Albuquerque City Councilor and deputy state economic development secretary under Gov. Bill Richardson who is running against Taylor.
"I don't believe we should be giving tax dollars away to corporations that will be building there any way," Griego said. "It's unfair to the average taxpayer. Why are taxpayers paying for new infrastructure" where most of them won't live. Griego would prefer impact fees, he said.
... Shares of Westland were sold to SunCal in 2006, but as part of the agreement for the sale, former shareholders retained certain oil and mineral rights, which Atrisco Oil and Gas oversees. Atrisco has leases for three wells from Tecton Energy Corp., a Houston-based company, for natural gas and other mineral exploration on some of the 55,000 acres it sold to SunCal.
Support the Clean Government Candidate
If you'd like to support Eric Griego's campaign challenging James Taylor, he can use all the help he can get from now through Tuesday's primary. Click here to volunteer or make a donation. Griego's not getting big dollar donations from corporate concerns seeking favors, like Taylor apparently is. Griego can definitely win this race, but he needs our support to do it. To help change the business-as-usual politics we've seen way too much of, we need to actively support honest, ethical legislastive candidates with the gumption to challenge those entrenched in special interest politics. Do it now.
Tonight: NM In Focus Airs and Discusses Last Wilson-Pearce Debate
KNME's New Mexico In Focus will broadcast the New Mexico Broadcasters Association GOP Senate Debate between Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce live on Friday, May 30th, at 7:00 PM; no Sunday repeat. Afterwards, the show will feature a follow-up from 8:00-8:30 PM with debate analysis. Regular panelists and host Gene Grant will welcome these guests to the table: Michael Coleman, Albuquerque Journal Reporter; Gabriel Ramon Sanchez, UNM Political Science Professor; Joe Monahan, political blogger. KNME will also live-stream the debate and analysis on their website, where you can also watch the videos after the fact. This is the last GOP Senate debate before the June 3rd primary. The winner will face Democratic Rep. Tom Udall in the general election in November.
Lt. Gov. Denish to Host Post-Primary Unity Rally & BBQ
Democrats Coming Together
Lieutenant Governor Diane D. Denish
Invites you, your family and friends to a
Wednesday, June 4, 5:00 PM
The Downs at Albuquerque Racetrack and Casino
201 California Street NE
Enter Gate 1 on Central - Party at the Jockey Club
PLEASE RESPOND TO 505-255-1282
or email email@example.com
Click for Flyer (pdf) - Pass It On
Thursday, May 29, 2008
NM-02: Local Firefighters Endorse McCamley
Some candidates depend on endorsements from insider politicos interested in preserving the status quo. Others, like Bill McCamley, are most pleased to get endorsed by locals who have an intimate knowledge of the needs of their district, direct experience working with them and a hunger for positive change. Today Congressional candidate and Doña Ana County Commissioner Bill McCamley announced that he had received the endorsements of two International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Locals: Las Cruces Professional Fire Fighters Local 2362 and the Deming Fire Fighters Local 4251.
In its endorsement, Deming Firefighters Local 4251 President Ken McFaul stated that, “It is the belief of this local union that Bill McCamley will address the needs of southern New Mexico and our country as his first priority and to the best of his abilities. As a Doña Ana County Commissioner, he established the County’s first paid firefighting staff. He is aware of the population growth of southern New Mexico and how it impacts essential emergency services and its citizens. Bill considers firefighters’ opinions important when discussing matters of home land security. Bill brings the hope of our future with his youth and ambition.”
“Bill McCamley is a stand-up Commissioner who has always been there when we’ve needed him,” said Louie Burke, a spokesman for the Las Cruces Firefighters. “The bottom line is that Bill has supported Las Cruces firefighters, and we support him.”
“Firefighters are public servants in the truest sense of the term,” said McCamley. “Their service to the public includes not only their time and their hard work, but their willingness to sacrifice their own lives for our public safety. That is the highest form of public service there is, and I am extremely honored to receive their support.”
As a County Commissioner, McCamley worked to establish the County’s first paid firefighting staff.
Within the last month, McCamley has been endorsed by:
- The Las Cruces Sun-News
- The Silver City Daily Press
- The Roswell Daily Record
- American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
- Sierra Club
- 2006 Democratic nominee Al Kissling
- Democracy for America
McCamley was previously endorsed by the New Mexico Building and Construction Trades Council. He has also been endorsed by numerous present and former Democratic officials in New Mexico’s Second District (see www.billmccamley.com for more information).
There's still time to give to McCamley's campaign and help him keep his ad on the air until primary day. Click here.
To see our previous coverage of the NM-02 Congressional race, visit our archive.
Free on Friday: Young Democrats Meet and Greet with Chelsea Clinton
Chelsea Clinton will be in Albuquerque tomorrow, Friday, May 30th, 2008, at the Marriott Uptown at 2101 Louisiana Blvd. NE at 5 pm for a "Meet and Greet" with young Democrats. Click for map. This event is associated with the Democratic Women's Convention. Tickets are free at the door. For more information contact Antonio Sandoval of the New Mexico Young Democrats at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that the Young Democrats of New Mexico has not endorsed any candidates in the primary season. We encourage and promote young people to engage in the political process.