Chris Cillizza: Pajamas Pete to Announce Retirement Tomorrow 07/10/sen_pete_domenici_expected_to.html #comments

As long as Cillizza's sources are solid, NM has become a top-tier pickup opportunity.  Rep. Heather Wilson is often mentioned as Pete's successor, but the US Attorney scandal may have scuttled that career path.  The other major R option seems Rep. Steve Pearce, who is significantly more conservative (think Bob Schaffer in CO).  If Wilson were to run, her seat would probably become lean-Dem, while Pierce's seat is likely GOP (though not  safe - his opponent's numbers were in the 40's last election IIRC).

For the D's, the top two options seem to be Albequerque Mayor Martin Chavez and Rep. Tom Udall.  My personal preference would be for the latter; Chavez is quite conservative and had previously endorsed Domenici.  But either guy would probably have the edge over Wilson or Pearce, particularly in this environment.  Cillizza also mentions Lt.Gov Diane Denish, but she seems more interested in Richardson's current job, and fmr AG Patricia Madrid, but she flubbed a debate with Wilson and is considered damaged goods.

The ginormous donkey in the room is obviously Richardson himself, but he doesn't seem particularly interested (given that he's a shoe-in for Veep or State if he weren't to get the nod).

As long as candidate recruitment goes worse than expected, I would rank this as the fourth lean Dem race thus far (after VA, NH, and CO).

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NM-01: Potential Challengers to Wilson Mull Options

Rumors of Democrats getting ready to take on Heather Wilson for her seat in Congress have been floating around since November.

Clearly, whichever Democrat goes against Wilson will have money behind him or her (more on that below).  So who is stepping up to the plate?  State Rep. Al Park?  State Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino?  Former Albuquerque City Councilman Eric Griego?  Nope.

Check it out under the fold.  Crossposted at New Mexico FBIHOP.

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DCCC Goes Up on the Air Hitting Heather Wilson for Prosecutor Purge

It has been more than two weeks since GOP Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico admitted to breaking congressional ethics laws and still no member of the House, to my knowledge, has stepped forward and asked the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to initiate an investigation into Wilson's misdeeds. Yet now, at the least, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is moving to put pressure on Wilson for her improprieties by running a radio ad in her district. You can download the ad through the previous link or listen below:

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This is a good start, and I would like to see the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee move ahead with a similar ad targeting New Mexico's Republican Senator Pete Domenici, who is also up for reelection in 2008 and who also has admitted to breaking ethics regulations, in the hopes of cajoling him to retire, which would make it significantly easier for the Democrats to pick up his seat.

That said, for as meaningful the action has been within Congress, in terms of the hearings and subpoenas, within the House, in particular, pressure on Wilson needs to be applied within the institution and not just through the Democrats' campaign arm. As I alluded to above, for the ethics committee to open an investigation into a House member, another member of the chamber must take the assertive step of asking for an investigation, unlike in the Senate where the request of an outside group can prompt an investigation. As I've said twice already in this post (and it bears repeating a third time), Wilson has already copped to breaking ethics laws and should not be allowed to weasel out of punishment within Congress just because of the ethics truce within the House.

Truthfully, I would have liked to have seen the ethics committee move on a query of Wilson's actions before the DCCC went up with an ad. But in the absence of anyone willing to break the ethics truce in the House, I do like the move to target Wilson this early in the cycle, when the prosecutor purge scandal is fresh in voters' minds, because it is a lot cheaper and perhaps even more effective to go after her at this point in the cycle then to wait until the last month or two of the election, when most voters will be tiring of the near-constant barrage of information -- particularly with New Mexico appearing to be a swing state on the presidential level.

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statements by Democrats on Iraq

vive le democracy

<Republicans continue to beat us in the field. Even though our financial resources in 2006 reached parity with the Republicans, and we had much more enthusiasm on our side, they were clearly ready. Chris Shays and Heather Wilson and Steve Chabot and Deborah Pryce were incumbents that held on because they ran a tried and true effort to turn out their voters. We have serious problems in the way we run Democratic field operations. I've laid out ways we can improve upon them below<p>

There are a number of new statements by Democrats on Iraq that deserve attention. The first one I would like to address is the now debunked notion that Patrick Murphy supports escalation in Iraq. Others have already pointed out that he was misunderstood by Charles Gibson last night, but I want to add that he stated opposition to escalation both to me personally, and to a crowded room of netroots folks at out party last night. He believes it is time to start brining the troops home, and there should be no mistake about that. As for Nancy Boyda, well, clearly that is another issue.

Second, a new study by ABC News finds that an overwhelming majority of Democratic Senators who voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq in 2002 would now vote differently. From the study: >


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NM-01: Madrid Holds Clear Lead in Final Independent Poll

In a new poll, Dem Patsy Madrid has expanding her lead over incumbent Rep Heather Wilson to 49-45.  This is the latest Albuquerque Journal/Research and Polling poll by veteran New Mexico pollster Brian Sanderoff.  He has polled New Mexico for years and has polled this race four times.  

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