NM-01: Wilson's Anti-Oversight Gambit Fails

The congressional race in New Mexico's first district is shaping up to be one hell of a race. Though both Al Gore and John Kerry won the district, it has been represented for the past eight years by Republican Heather Wilson. Now, Wilson is being challenged by Democratic Attorney General Patricia Madrid, and polling indicates the race could still go either way (the last two non-partisan surveys had Wilson ahead, though within the margin of error).

Trying to further bolster her national security credentials, Rep. Wilson has worked with House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner to pen legislation stripping Congress of mch of its oversight powers in regards to domestic surveillance. But this gambit appears to have failed as even Republicans on the panel see the move as unwise. Carrie Sheffield reports for The Hill.

Unrest among GOP members of the House Judiciary Committee threatens to overthrow a bill co-sponsored by Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) aimed at altering policies governing federal intelligence-gathering programs.

Citing concerns over civil liberties and program stability, GOP committee members last week forced Sensenbrenner to cancel a markup of the bill that would allow President Bush's warrantless surveillance program to continue with limited congressional oversight.

Republican members say they have enough votes to replace what they see as an unsavory bill, introduced by Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) and co-sponsored by Sensenbrenner, with a more palatable one during a scheduled markup this morning.

Several GOP and Democratic committee members are concerned that Wilson's bill would separate oversight of Bush's Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) from congressional oversight under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who is spearheading GOP committee movement against Wilson's bill, said the measure fails to create a solid system for TSP and would instead establish a passive, ad hoc response to terrorist attacks, rather than a steady program with legislative oversight under FISA. Flake said this approach both threatens the stability of intelligence gathering and increases the likelihood of civil liberties abuse.

[...]

Wilson faces a tight race in November against Democratic challenger Patricia Madrid and has touted her bill -- which, according to press reports, the White House opposes and is hoping to amend on the House floor -- as a sign of independence from Bush. [emphasis added]

Wilson's aborted legislation has fallen prey to the same pitfalls that have thus far blocked President Bush's attempt to unilaterally gut the Geneva Convention. Wilson, like her allies in the administration, believed that she could steamroll her opponents by offering legislation so heinous that they could not sign on to it. According to this plan, when Democrats eventually voted against the legislation, she could portray them, and by association Patricia Madrid, as soft on terror. But when a small handful of Republicans came to their senses and joined with a united group of Democrats, Wilson's legislation, like that supported by the White House, met its demise.

Now, Rep. Wilson must run on a record that includes legislation that even members of her own party say "both threatens the stability of intelligence gathering and increases the likelihood of civil liberties abuse." I can imagine that line making for a fairly potent negative direct-mail piece come late October...

There's more...

NM01---The Heather Wilson Story: Tales of the Push Poll

So I was watching my new favorite show (BAttlestar Galactica) when the phone rang and I noticed it was the same number on caller ID that I ignored a couple of times last night because I was too busy watching Dancing With the Stars (I know, it's ABC, I'm horrible).

This time I decided to answer it...

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New Mexico Polling Released

The first independent polls of the campaign have been released; the Sanderoff-Journal polls are generally very accurate, and Sanderoff is a respective New Mexico pollster.


If you have read my blog before, you can guess which Congressional race is in play -- yup, the Patricia Madrid - Heather Wilson matchup in the First Congressional District.  Let's take a look at that race and its poll first.


Brian Sanderoff had his poll 45-42, with Wilson in the lead.  Ten percent are undecided, and the rest (three percent) say they aren't going to vote for either; the margin of error is 4.8 percent.  This is in line with the Dem poll taken a couple weeks back.

Crossposted at New Mexico FBIHOP and Daily Kos

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NM-01: USA Today Profiles Race, Wilson's Ties to Bush

It's nearing Labor Day and the elections are kicking their way into the home stretch.  The finish line is within sight.  The white flag is being waved (that's auto racing, not a surrender flag, folks).  It's the bell lap.  How many racing metaphors can I use?


Anyway, attention is starting to be amped up on the close races around the country.  Included is our humble little race here in New Mexico, Patricia Madrid and Heather Wilson.  Yesterday, the USA Today profiled the NM-01 race and Heather Wilson's loyalty to President Bush.


Crossposted at New Mexico FBIHOP

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NM-01: Poll: Dead Heat in Madrid-Wilson Race

With less than 3 months to go before the November election, the latest district-wide survey of 400 likely voters in the district included a head-to-head ballot that shows the race statistically tied.

Lake Research Partners (D). 8/17-20. 400 likely voters. MoE: 4.9% (Jan. '06 Results)

Heather Wilson (R) 46 (44)
Patricia Madrid (D) 44 (43)

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