Action Diary: Become a Citizen Co-Sponsor of the New GI Bill

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Tom Udall is calling on you to join him in co-sponsoring the new GI Bill.  The original GI Bill ensured that a generation of American veterans were able to return from World War II and get a quality, four year college education.

The new GI Bill will ensure that post-9/11 veterans are entitled to the same full four year college education.  You can help pass this bill by adding your name to the growing list of citizen co-sponsors.

A letter from Tom, below the fold...

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GOP Sen. Domenici Hit By the Senate Ethics Committee

It's been over a year since New Mexico's longtime Republican Senator Pete Domenici was implicated in the prosecutor purge scandal -- a scandal that in no small part helped lead to his decision to retire rather than run for reelection -- but now the chickens are really coming home to roost: Domenici has been admonished by the Senate ethics panel.

The Senate Ethics Committee today issued GOP Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico a "public letter of qualified admonition" for his involvement in the Justice Department's firing of several US Attorneys last year. It was a scandal that helped lead to the resignation of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

In March of 2007, former US Attorney David Iglesias testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Domenici had called him at home asking about an ongoing investigation of Democrats in the senator's home state of New Mexico. Iglesias said Domenici wanted to know the timing of indictments.

According to the transcript from the hearing, the US Attorney said the senator asked, "'Are these going to be filed before November?' And I said I didn't think so, to which [Domenici] replied, 'I'm very sorry to hear that.'" Iglesias then said, "the line went dead."

Domenici later apologized for the call, but said he did not pressure Iglesias to move on the case. The 75-year-old senator has since announced his retirement saying he was diagnosed with a dementia type brain ailment.  

The committee said it "finds no substantial evidence to determine that you attempted to improperly influence an ongoing investigation." But it did find that Domenici should have known his actions "created an appearance of impropriety that reflected unfavorable on the Senate."

It's not clear what, if any impact this news would have at this point; Democratic Congressman Tom Udall already appears on the inside track to replacing Domenici in the Senate despite Republican hopes of either Congresswoman Heather Wilson or Congressman Steve Pearce winning the New Mexico Senate race in November. Nevertheless, this news does at least round out the story and suggest that a United States Senator cannot attempt to bully a United States Attorney for political reasons and get away unscathed, either in the electoral realm (with Domenici not running for reelection) or in the public realm (with Domenici being publicly admonished by the Senate).

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Senate Fundraising Roundup

It's still a little early before we're going to get the whole fundraising picture (campaign finance filings are not due until Tuesday, which will be a nice birthday gift for a political junkie like me), but a few numbers are beginning to trickle in slowly, and thus far this is what I've got.

  • In New Hampshire, former Democratic Governor Jeanne Shaheen brought in $1.2 million in the first quarter from 6,500 donors (4,000 of whom were first time contributers to the campaign). This bumped Shaheen's cash-on-hand to roughly $2 million, which is still quite a bit less than the $3.4 million her GOP opponent, freshman Senator John Sununu, had in the bank three months ago. (Read more on the money from DiStaso.) However, Shaheen does hold a sizable lead where it counts -- among the voters -- so this one remains a very good pick up opportunity for the Senate Democrats.

  • Yesterday I noted polling showing draftee Tom Udall leading quite comfortably in the New Mexico Senate race over either of his potential Republican opponents, Congressman Steve Pearce and Congresswoman Heather Wilson. Now, via email, comes word that Udall raised a healthy $1.3 million in the first quarter. Note that this is an improvement from last quarter when Udall raised $1 million -- which was enough to trump both of his GOP opponents... combined.

  • Via SSP comes news that former Virginia Governor Mark Warner raised a remarkable $2.5 million in the first quarter, bumping up his cash-on-hand to $4.4 million.

More as we get it...

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NM-Sen: Tom Udall Continues to Look Great

Congressman Tom Udall, whom so many worked so diligently to try to draft to run for the Senate in New Mexico last year, has consistently looked great in head-to-head polling against either of his potential Republican opponents, Congressman Steve Pearce and Congresswoman Heather Wilson. The latest numbers on the race from Rasmussen Reports look little different.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in New Mexico shows that Democratic Congressman Tom Udall has widened his lead over potential Republican opponents in the race for the state's open U.S. Senate seat.

Udall now leads Republicans Steve Pearce 54% to 40% and Heather Wilson 56% to 36%.

Among voters not affiliated with either major political party, Udall has a twelve-point advantage over Pearce. Udall leads Wilson 52% to 33% in that category.

Last month, Udall had an eight-point lead over Pearce and a seven-point lead over Wilson.

[...]

In New Mexico, Udall is now viewed favorably by 62% and unfavorably by just 29%. Wilson's numbers are 53% favorable, 52% unfavorable. Pearce is viewed favorably by 49% and unfavorably by 40%.

It's really great to see this race sitting as the Democrats second best Senate pick-up opportunity (behind Virginia). Although it looked for a while as though Udall would not run and instead Marty Chavez, who is not well liked throughout the state and who is extremely centrist, would be the leading Democratic candidate in the race. But as a result of a strong push, both from the grassroots inside the state and the netroots in the state and around the country, Udall reconsidered his decision not to run, now putting this race in the leans Democratic category. And lest you think that support should be given to Udall just because he has a good shot at winning (which he does), go back and take a look at his interview on this site to see that he would really be a strong progressive voice in the Senate. Very exciting stuff.

More over at NMFBIHOP...

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Video: Tom Udall Asks You to Stand Up Against Torture

On Saturday, Rep. Tom Udall (NM-03) who is running for the US Senate  spoke at the Democratic Party of New Mexico's Pre-Primary Convention. He took the opportunity to draw a pretty clear distinction between his position on torture and that of his possible opponents, Rep. Heather Wilson (NM-01) and Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-02). The video is on the flip (I apologize for the audio, my mic was misbehaving) and you can add your name to the list of Americans standing up against torture at http://www.tomudall.com.

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