Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Tom Udall Becomes New Mexico's 17th Senator (With Photo)

Sen. Tom Udall, Jill Cooper-Udall, V.P. Dick Cheney today
(click on image for larger version)

Today, Tom Udall, New Mexico’s former Attorney General and U.S. Representative, was sworn in as the state’s 17th United States Senator. Udall’s predecessor, Senator Pete Domenici, and senior NM Senator Jeff Bingaman escorted Udall through the Senate Chamber to be sworn in.

“I am honored and elated to officially be serving the entire state of New Mexico in the United States Senate,” said new Senator Tom Udall. “I felt a great sense of bipartisanship within the Senate Chamber today, and now it’s time we get to work to make our economy work for all Americans again.”

I got to watch some of today's CSPAN coverage of the convening of the 111th Congress and the House and Senate swearing-in ceremonies. My timing was right to see SENATOR Tom Udall, accompanied by now retired Senator Pete Domenici and New Mexico's now Senior Senator Jeff Bingaman, officially sign and recite the oath of office. It was a dramatic and historic scene to say the least.

Later came the photo-op "ceremonial" swearing-in, with Sen. Udall being photographed with his wife Jill Cooper Udall, daughter Amanda Cooper, her husband Jim Noel, Senator Tom's dad, Stewart Udall, and OUTGOING Vice President Dick Cheney. Colorado's new Junior Senator Mark Udall -- Tom's cousin -- also had some shots taken with Stewart. The Udall clan looked proud indeed.

I admit I definitely found myself getting caught up in the moment, imagining what it must feel like to finally be taking the oath after all the long campaigning and everything that goes along with that. I couldn't help but think it must be more than a little daunting, no matter who you are, taking on such responsibilities during a time of incredibly serious national and global challenges. And very, very exciting to boot.

Our thoughts and hopes and good luck wishes go with you and yours, Senator Udall. Fasten your seatbelts -- by all accounts it's gonna be a bumpy ride ....

January 6, 2009 at 06:33 PM in 2008 NM Senate Race, NM Congressional Delegation | |

Monday, January 05, 2009

Sen.-Elect Tom Udall Opens Three Offices to Serve New Mexicans

TUdallConstituent services are important for every member of Congress and U.S. Senator-Elect Tom Udall is wasting no time to establish offices in New Mexico to serve the people. Udall announced today that he's opened three offices in New Mexico to assist his constituents. Udall’s New Mexico offices — located in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces — are, for the time being, located in the same space as the offices of retired Senator Pete Domenici.

Udall’s staff will use these offices to help New Mexicans with concerns related to the federal government and to link the Senator to communities across the state.

“My doors are open, and I want every New Mexican to be able to walk into my offices to get the help they need with any problems related to the federal government,” said Udall. “My staff is actively reaching out to communities across the state to help me effectively represent every New Mexican.”

Udall also announced that his Washington, D.C. office is open and operational as the 111th Congress convenes tomorrow, January 6, 2009. Udall will be assigned a permanent Washington, D.C. Senate office space this spring. See below for the locations and contact info for all of Sen.-Elect Udall's offices:

Senator-elect Tom Udall’s Offices:

Washington, D.C. B40D Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202.224.6621 (office)
202.228.3261 (fax)

Albuquerque 201 3rd Street, NW Suite 710
Albuquerque, NM 87102
505.346.6791 (office)
505.346.6720 (fax)

Las Cruces 505 South Main, Suite 118
Loretto Town Center
Las Cruces, NM 88001
505.526.5475 (office)
505.523.6589 (fax)

Santa Fe 120 South Federal Place
Suite 302
Santa Fe, NM 87501
505.988.6511 (office)
505.988.6514 (fax)

Some of the areas Udall’s State Offices can assist with include:

Veterans: Problems with veterans' benefits, eligibility determinations, VA home loans, and replacements of medals earned.

Social Security: Social Security benefits and eligibility or missing checks.

Housing: Problems arising with housing vouchers, federal loan programs and HUD.

Immigration: Naturalization applications, immigrant petitions for relatives, and adjustment of status applications that are delayed or lost.

Passports: Emergency passport applications, lost passports and overseas travel restrictions.

January 5, 2009 at 03:42 PM in 2008 NM Senate Race, Government, NM Congressional Delegation | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Guest Blog by Jim Hannan: Pete Domenici - His Other Legacy

This is a guest blog by Jim Hannan of Santa Fe:

As Pete Domenici’s career comes to an end, the state’s major newspapers continue their long history of never giving us the full story about our senior Senator. On the one hand, he was a good provider of federal funds for the state. But Pete Domenici also was a typical conservative Republican, placing corporate interests above the interests of working Americans.

Pete Domenici has done a lot for New Mexico. Over his 36 years in the US Senate, he brought home the bacon. His strong support of Los Alamos and Sandia National Labs allowed them to continue to thrive, many years after their mission had been served. By the end of the 1960’s our nuclear arsenal was substantially complete, with over 10,000 nuclear warheads and launch platforms from airplanes, intercontinental missiles and submarines. It was an amazing feat to continue to provide the labs with lavish funding. Pete also worked hard to procure federal money for infrastructure projects. His staff excelled in providing constituent service. And Pete’s fight for parity for mental health benefits must be saluted.

But a US Senator has an obligation to represent all Americans. And in this respect, Pete had many shortcomings over the years. The following are major examples.

  1. Fiscal Policy. The National Debt now stands at over $10 trillion. Pete was Senate Budget Chair under both Reagan and George W. Bush. He deserves much of the blame for the debt. He bought into the voodoo economics of Reagan and the Bush tax cuts for the rich. He used the Social Security payroll tax surplus to hide the real size of the government deficit. Now with baby boomers starting to retire, our government is close to bankruptcy.

  2. Environment. In a state like New Mexico, we cherish our natural environment. Pete has a very poor record of environmental protection. He consistently ranked near the bottom on his voting record from the League of Conservation Voters.

  3. Foreign Policy. In the last eight years, Pete has always supported the worst President in American history, George W. Bush. Bush is now so unpopular that even other world leaders ignore him. We New Mexicans needed a US Senator to represent our real strategic interests, not the delusions of the Bush Cheney neo-cons.

  4. Energy. As Energy Chair, Pete single mindedly promoted more nuclear power plants over all other solutions. He has not been supportive of energy conservation and renewable sources of energy. He came to the senate in 1973, in the middle of our first energy crisis. He leaves 36 years later, with us ever more dependent on unfriendly foreign governments for our energy needs.

  5. Government Programs. Pete was a supporter of George W. Bush’s failed attempt to privatize Social Security. In 2007, he voted against allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for better prices.

Pete Domenici, like all politicians, is a mixture of good and bad. As he leaves office, it is time to acknowledge both. When Pete announced his retirement, his approval rating was only 41%. The Journal and New Mexican forgot to mention that as well.

This is a guest blog by Jim Hannan of Santa Fe. Jim is the Finance Director at the Housing Trust, a non profit that helps Santa Fe residents buy their first home. He has been active in the Sierra Club for many years, including serving as Chapter Chair for two years. Jim worked for Mo Udall in Congress in the 1970’s. In 2007, he decided to run for the US Senate to highlight the voting record of Pete Domenici.

Guest blogs provide an opportunity for 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.

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December 10, 2008 at 11:05 AM in 2008 NM Senate Race, Government, Guest Blogger, Local Politics, Republican Party | |

Thursday, November 06, 2008

NM-Sen: Udall Whomps Pearce by 23 Points (Video, Photos)

Tom Udall arrives onstage at DPNM election night celebration.
That's his dad Steward Udall at left.

Tom Udall speaks to Dems at Albuquerque Convention Center

The unofficial results as of this morning show Tom Udall with 495,654 votes or 61.2% and Steve Pearce with 314,836 votes or 38.8%. It's called a rout!

The victory of current NM-03 Congressman Tom Udall over current NM-02 Congressman Steve Pearce was certainly no surprise. Udall's poll numbers were double-digit spectacular over the course of the race. After all, Tom Udall is one of the most well-known, well-trusted and well-liked politicos in New Mexico -- and his father, Stewart, is a Democratic icon with sterling environmental and ethical credentials. Stewart Udall served as Secretary of the Interior in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

Crowd goes wild as Stewart Udall comes onstage

Stewart and Tom Udall share a few words of celebration

Then there were the advantages provided by Tom, his wife Jill Cooper-Udall and their daughter and Campaign Manager Amanda Cooper working their tails off in the course of the campaign, along with all the rest of the staffers and volunteers. There was active netroots outreach, so many campaign events they were hard to keep up with and one-to-one voter contacts galore. Still, Udall's 23-point margin of victory is something awesome to behold.

Pandemonium erupts as Udall camp steps on stage

Udall thanks family, all who helped, Sen. Domenici

Pearce, known as a somewhat prunish, far-right ideologue, just never caught on with the general voting public, despite his popularity with the GOP's right wing in certain areas of the state. He often came off as mean-spirited, arrogant and accusatory, while Tom managed to retain his dignity and humor, and keep his focus on the issues in the face of Pearce's attack-dog tactics. Udall could be tough hitting back on debating points, but he never lost his cool or got down in the mud with Pearce.

U.S. Senator-Elect for New Mexico, Tom Udall!

This race followed a path similar to our other Congressional victories, with the GOP candidate depending on an unending fusilade of negativity to deflect attention from the issues. Clearly, Americans are sick of Bush's failures, those who agree with him and those who helped him bring America to the brink of disaster. Pearce was often perceived as just another far-right echo of the Bush-Cheney madness that voters rejected in favor of change.

Pearce also ran a rather lazy and mostly ineffective campaign. He had trouble attracting adequate funding and refused to dip into much of his personal fortune for the cause. His tactics seemed clumsy and badly executed. And he had angered a fair share of New Mexico Republicans by challenging and beating Rep. Heather Wilson, Sen. Pete Domenici's choice for the slot, in a bare-knuckles primary. Let's face it, Pearce had a lot going against him, including his dismal voting record and his poor relations with many within his own party.

Stewart Udall and some of the Udall kids

Still, I can't believe even Heather Wilson could have defeated Tom Udall in this Senate race. When Udall entered the contest, the enthusiasm for his candidacy was deep and wide, even across party lines. It's hard to top the strengths of a candidate like Udall, who's known for his ability to connect with ordinary people from all walks of life, and the genuine respect and affection he has for his fellow citizens.

Sen. Bingaman (l), Campaign Mgr. Amanda Cooper (r, in black)

With an impeccable record on the environment, veterans' affairs and constitutional issues among other things, Udall was in the lead from day one. His reasoned and principled stand against the Iraq invasion brought him even more support and credibility. And don't minimize the popularity of those green parrot TV ads!

Congratulations and thanks for working your hearts out to Tom, Jill, Amanda, all the staffers, the dedicated volunteers and the generous donors who made this victory possible. Tom will no doubt make an excellent U.S. Senator and advocate for the people of New Mexico. We're the lucky ones, aren't we?

Photos and video by M.E. Broderick. See more photos here. See more video here.

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November 6, 2008 at 04:35 PM in 2008 NM Senate Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Blue Blowout in New Mexico

State Treasurer James Lewis at Dem Victory Party,
Albuquerque Convention Center:
Of the people, by the people, for the people. A clean sweep.

I don't even know where to begin writing about this. I don't think it's totally sunk in yet. Intense emotions bubble to the surface. Sharp realizations of the extent of our victories puncture my thoughts. But I haven't yet grasped the true enormity of the change that was set in motion yesterday in precincts large and small as the people came out in huge numbers to end the bleeding and start the healing.

James Lewis riffs on victory

All I can say is, we did it. Yes we could, and we did. WE DID! It's almost beyond my comprehension at this stage, but we turned our state into a True Blue New Mexico and took our country back from the forces of ruin. The corner is turned. The change is coming. Positive messages beat negative smears. Hope defeated fear. And the painful shackles of the Bush-Cheney-Rove years are broken at last. Can you believe it?

The crush of people at victory party witness Obama speech

I mean, people, New Mexico's entire Congressional delegation is BLUE! And the victory margins were substantial. We didn't edge them out -- we ran the table in every race. Check out these preliminary results for NM as of 9:39 AM today:

President NM
56.7% Barack Obama
42.0% John McCain

U.S. Senate
61.2% Tom Udall
38.8% Steve Pearce

55.4% Martin Heinrich
44.6% Darren White

55.7% Harry Teague
44.3% Ed Tinsley

56.8% Ben Ray Lujan
30.4% Dan East
12.8% Carol Miller

I'll be writing more today on each of these races and on other contests around our state and our nation. But for now, I'm having trouble just absorbing what went down yesterday -- and beginning to discern its meaning and power. Bravo, New Mexicans. Bravo Americans. The Change We Need is coming. And it's coming from inside every one of us.

Photos and video by M.E. Broderick. See more photos from last night and more videos.

November 5, 2008 at 10:38 AM in 2008 General Presidential Election, 2008 NM Senate Race, NM-01 Congressional Race 2008, NM-02 Congressional Race 2008, NM-03 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

March to Blue in New Mexico (with Updates)

I give up on updates. We're winning EVERYTHING!

MSNBC and ABC call New Mexico for Obama!!!!!!!

ABC calls Ohio for Obama!
Brian Sanderoff calls NM-03 for Ben Ray Lujan!
Fox and Sanderoff call Udall for US Senate!

November 4, 2008 at 07:28 PM in 2008 General Election Voting, 2008 General Presidential Election, 2008 NM Senate Race, NM-01 Congressional Race 2008, NM-02 Congressional Race 2008, NM-03 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Defenders of Wildlife to Hold Live Drawing for Prius Hybrid at 2 PM Today


The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund will hold a live random drawing today, November 3rd, at 2:00 PM at its Albuquerque campaign office located on 1600 San Pedro Drive NE. The drawing will determine a lucky New Mexican winner of a Prius hybrid among those who had registered for the contest, which began on July 1, 2008. If you're in the area, stop by to see who wins.

“We have decided to give away a free hybrid car to show our commitment to raising awareness for energy conservation and to encourage eligible New Mexican voters to be sure to vote on Election Day in support of energy conservation and investments in clean renewable energy,” said Ed Yoon, NM/CO Campaign Manager of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund. “With the still high cost of fuel especially in this shaky economy, energy conservation is an important issue not only for the environment, but for families’ pocketbooks and our national security. We look forward to the winners of tomorrow’s elections working towards improving energy conservation standards.”

The 2008 hybrid car was used by the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund throughout the summer to highlight Rep. Steve Pearce’s repeated votes against increased fuel mileage standards that could save New Mexican families hundreds of dollars per year and reduce the impact of global warming.

The giveaway was open only to legal residents of the state of New Mexico who were at least 18 years of age at the time of entry and had a valid New Mexico driver’s license. The Service Employees International Union will be the independent judging organization conducting the drawing.

The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund has been highly active in the New Mexico elections since endorsing Rep. Tom Udall for the U.S. Senate, Martin Heinrich for Congress, and Barack Obama for President for their record and commitment to energy conservation and promotion of clean renewable energy. As one of the earliest and largest independent expenditure operations in the state, Defenders employs 35 paid staff and has run numerous TV, radio and mail ads in the state and canvassed more than 110,000 doors of persuadable voter in the battleground areas of Bernalillo and Sandoval counties in support of these candidates.

The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund provides a powerful voice in Washington to Americans who value our conservation heritage. Through grassroots lobbying, issue advocacy and political campaigns, the Action Fund champions those laws and lawmakers that protect wildlife and wild places while working against those that do them harm.

November 3, 2008 at 01:26 PM in 2008 General Presidential Election, 2008 NM Senate Race, Energy, Environment, NM-01 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

11/3: Udall, Bingaman Visit Roswell, Carlsbad, Santa Rosa, Albuquerque

U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Tom Udall along with U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman will campaign in Roswell, Carlsbad, Santa Rosa, and Albuquerque today. Udall will speak at a Rotary Club in Albuquerque before flying to Roswell with Bingaman for an event at the Roswell Industrial Air Center Airport. Udall and Bingaman will then help NM-02 Congressional Candidate Harry Teague get out the vote in Carlsbad before flying to Santa Rosa for his final town hall of the campaign season. Details:

Rep. Tom Udall
Monday, November 3rd, 12 – 1 PM
Hotel Albuquerque, 800 Rio Grande Boulevard

Rep. Tom Udall and Sen. Jeff Bingaman
Monday, November 3rd, 2:30 – 3:30 PM
Roswell Industrial Air Center Airport
Great Southwest Aviation Training Classroom
1 Jerry Smith Circle, Roswell, NM

Rep. Tom Udall, Harry Teague, Sen Jeff Bingaman
Monday, November 3rd, 4 – 5 PM
Courthouse Lawn, 102 N. Canal St.

Rep. Tom Udall, Sen. Jeff Bingaman
Monday, November 3rd, 6:15 – 7:15 PM
Route 66 Auto Museum, 2766 Historic Route 66

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November 3, 2008 at 10:33 AM in 2008 NM Senate Race, Events, NM-02 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Clean Sweep in the Making? Albuquerque Journal Poll Has Obama, Udall, Heinrich, Teague, Lujan Leading

Following on the heels of the last SurveyUSA poll that has Obama leading McCain 52-45% (58-39% with early voters), and Tom Udall ahead of Steve Pearce 56% to 42% (61-35% with early voters), the final polls of this election cycle conducted by Research and Polling Inc. for the Albuquerque Journat show Democrats ahead in the Presidential contest and all the Congressional races. Unfortunately, the Journal polling has small samples and a high margin of error in the U.S. House races, at plus or minus 5%. The surveys interviewed about 400 voters in NM-01 and NM-02, and only 201 in NM-03.

The Presidential and U.S. Senate sampling is somewhat better, with an MOE at plus or minus 3%, based on phone interviews with 1,002 registered voters statewide. 

As usual, the Journal has failed to release the full cross-tabs, so we're operating somewhat in the dark here. Weighting methodology? Not revealed. Breakdown of respondents who've already voted vs. those who say they will? Not revealed. You get the picture. But the results nonetheless provide an interesting snapshot of New Mexico's registered voters who said they had voted or will vote during the period October 28-30, 2008, and the trends are all tilting Democratic:

Obama (D) 51%
McCain (R) 43%
Undecided 5%
Other 1%

Obama 52%
McCain 42%

Obama 50%
McCain 44%

Obama 66%
McCain 25%
Undecided 7%

Obama 43%
McCain 52%

Ages Groups:
18-34: Obama 56%, McCain 38%
35-49: Obama 43%, McCain 49%
50-64: Obama 57%, McCain 38%
65+: Obama 50%, McCain 45%

Central (ABQ Metro): Obama 58%, McCain 36%
North Central: Obama 70%, McCain 30%
Northwest: Obama 26%, McCain 69%
Southwest: Obama 48%, McCain 41%
Eastern: Obama 34%, McCain 58%

Independents (Decline to State):
Obama 49%
McCain 34%
Undecided 11%

Obama 83%

McCain 88%

According to the Journal:

"There is not a lot of cross-over voting going on, and, for the Republicans to win, they typically need to get around 20 percent of the Democratic vote and slightly more independents," Sanderoff said. "McCain hasn't picked up as many Democrats as he needs and Obama is ahead on independents. "People are pretty much voting along party lines, but the independents are moving toward Obama," Sanderoff said.

U.S. Senate
Tom Udall (D) 53%
Steve Pearce (R) 39%
Undecided 8%

NM-01 U.S. House
Martin Heinrich (D) 47%
Darren White (R) 43%
Undecided 10%

NM-02 U.S. House
Harry Teague (D) 45%
Ed Tinsley (R) 41%
Undecided 14%

NM-03 U.S. House
Ben Ray Lujan (D) 51%
Dan East (R) 23%
Carol Miller (I) 12%
Undecided 14%

November 2, 2008 at 10:38 AM in 2008 General Presidential Election, 2008 NM Senate Race, NM-01 Congressional Race 2008, NM-02 Congressional Race 2008, NM-03 Congressional Race 2008, Polling | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Saturday: Mayor Villaraigosa, Sen. Bingaman, Rep. Udall GOTV for Obama


LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, joined by Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Rep. Tom Udall, will kick-off canvassing efforts in Santa Fe, get out the vote in Albuquerque, and encourage local residents to cast their ballots on the last day of Early Vote.

Voters can find Early Vote locations and polling places by coming into any Campaign for Change office, visiting their county clerk’s office, going to www.voteforchange.com or calling 1-877-NM-CHANGE.

Saturday, November 1st:

Santa Fe Campaign For Change Office
720 St. Michaels Drive, Suite 2L

Congress Heights Park (corner of Congress and Irving)

October 31, 2008 at 12:12 PM in 2008 General Election Voting, 2008 General Presidential Election, 2008 NM Senate Race, Events, Obama NM Campaign | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Friday: Meet Tom Udall Early Vote Events in Belen, ABQ

On Friday, you can meet U.S. Senate candidate Tom Udall at early voting events in Belen and Albuquerque. The first event will be at Rita's Restaurant at 221 S. Main St. in Belen from 8:30 to 9:30AM. The second will be held from 12:30 to 1:30 PM at Abuelita’s Restaurant, 6083 Isleta Blvd. SW in Albuquerque.

October 30, 2008 at 06:45 PM in 2008 General Election Voting, 2008 NM Senate Race, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

NM-Sen: Udall Releases Final Ad of Campaign, Offers Early Vote Tool

"This Election Matters" script and fact sheet

It's that time. The Tom Udall for U.S. Senate campaign has released its final TV ad of the election cycle in the form of a 30-second spot called, "This Election Matters." The ad highlights Udall’s work as New Mexico Attorney General and in Congress, as well as his commitment to doing what’s right for New Mexico. It will run from now until election day in rotation with "Humbled", a previously released and very moving TV ad in which injured Army Sergeant Erik Schei testifies to Tom Udall’s leadership in standing up for our troops and veterans. According to the campaign, the two ads constitute Udall's closing argument to voters.

Use Your Cellphone to Find Nearest Early Vote Site: The campaign also announced that a new tool is available to help folks vote early. Just text the word POLL and your zip code to MyTOM (69866) and they'll send you the address of your nearest location. You have until 6:00 PM on Saturday, November 1st to take advantage of in-person early voting. If you haven't early voted yet, now's the time.

October 30, 2008 at 11:14 AM in 2008 General Election Voting, 2008 NM Senate Race | Permalink | Comments (0)