Thursday, June 24, 2004

ROUNDHOUSE ROUND-UP: JUMPING SHIP

An e-mail from the national Bush reelection campaign in Arlington, Va. Wednesday contained two mysteries.

“The Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign will hold a press conference at the Obelisk Plaza on Thursday, June 24, to announce that a New Mexico elected Democrat official will endorse President Bush for the November election.”

Mystery #1: What and where is the “Obelisk Plaza”?

Mystery #2: Which Democrat is jumping ship?

We’re pretty sure that the location of this press conference actually is by the obelisk on the Plaza.

But nobody in the GOP wanted to disclose the identity of the mystery Democrat until today’s press conference.

I think I’ve rounded up a pretty good suspect though.
Contacted Wednesday, City Councilor David Pfeffer said he knew the name of the Bush-supporting Democrat.

When asked whether it was him, Pfeffer would neither confirm or deny it.

“You’re asking a politician to either tell the truth or lie,” Pfeffer joked. “That’s pretty rude.”

City councilors, as well as mayors and municipal judges, are elected in non-partisan contests. Currently the council is dominated by registered Democrats, which isn’t unusual in a town where Dems have a 3-1 edge over Republicans.

Pfeffer was the only councilor to vote against a 2002 resolution opposing military action in Iraq war. He also was the lone dissenter on a resolution directing police to not cooperate with federal authorities under the Patriot Act in cases where in their judgment it violates an individual’s constitutional rights.

Pfeffer often finds himself at odds with some of his fellow party members on the council. He was in the center of a controversy following the March city election when he admitted to proofreading a newspaper ad for a group called Santa Fe Grass Roots that was highly critical of three councilors seeking election. Some of those councilors characterized the full-page ad, which ran in this paper, as an “attack ad,” saying it contained inaccuracies about their council records.

So is Pfeffer the elected local Democrat supporting Bush, or was he just pulling a columnist’s leg by refusing to confirm or deny? We’ll find out today in Obelisk Plaza.

Ship-jumping Greens: New Mexico’s Democratic Party isn’t the only political party with mavericks switching sides. A former state Green Party chairman and candidate for U.S. Senate, Abe Gutmann, is listed as a spokesman for an organization called “Greens For Kerry.”

Sarah Newman, a spokesman for the Oakland, Calif.-based group said the organization is launching its campaign to convince Greens to vote for John Kerry this week because the national Green Party is having its convention in Milwaukee, Wisc.

“The larger goal is beating George Bush,” she said. “Every Green and Nader supporter concerned about keeping civil liberties and environmental protection should vote for John Kerry.”

Gutmann, who couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday, has bucked his party to support a Democrat before. In 1998 he publicly backed Tom Udall for Congress over Green candidate Carol Miller.

The latest from Zogby: According to the latest known tracking poll in the state, Kerry is leading Bush by nearly seven percentage points. However, that lead still is within the margin of error.

The interactive poll of 505 New Mexicans, conducted via e-mail, shows Kerry with 50.1 percent, Bush 43.2 percent and Nader with 1.4 percent.

The Zogby organization conducted the poll in 16 battleground states June 15-20. Kerry is ahead in nine of the states, while Bush leads in seven.

However, the poll shows Bush gaining some ground. He only led in five states two weeks ago. Bush is leading 285-253 in electoral votes by Zogby’s estimate. The number of electoral votes needed to win is 270.

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