As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
Aug. 13, 2004
Although backers of Ralph Nader’s bid to get on the New Mexico ballot say they’re confident he’ll make it, a prominent conservative Republican is trying to help make sure Nader can overcome Democratic efforts to block him.
State Sen. Rod Adair, R-Roswell, on Thursday asked the nearly 24,000 recipients of his e-mail newsletter to sign petitions seeking a ballot slot for Nader, who is running as an independent presidential candidate.
“We happen to believe that every candidate — right or left of center — should be on the ballot,” Adair wrote, attaching a download of the official Nader petition for his readers to sign and distribute.
The national Democratic Party, fearing Nader will be a spoiler for their presidential candidate in a close race with incumbent Republican George Bush, has lined up an army of volunteers in 20 states to fight Nader’s ballot efforts by challenging the validity of petition signatures.
Nader supporters abandoned their effort to get him on the ballot in Arizona after Democrats challenged thousands of petition signatures there. In New Mexico, the Nader campaign has to gather more than 14,527 valid signatures by Sept. 7 to force election officials to list his name among the presidential choices.
Nader’s New Mexico coordinator, Carol Miller, said Thursday she is responsible for about 100 volunteers who have been traveling the state gathering petition signatures.
“We got about 100 signatures at the recent Ani DiFranco concert (in Santa Fe),” she said. Referring to the left-wing singer’s fans, Miller said, “I don’t think there were many Republicans in that crowd.”
Adair said Thursday that he decided to distribute the petitions because he didn’t like the way television news reports were handling stories of Republicans helping Nader get on the ballot.
“If the Republicans were trying to keep the Libertarians off the ballot,” he said, “we’d get fried.”
Adair said Nader’s presence helps the Bush ticket. But he said other parties, including the Libertarians, aid the Democratic ticket headed by John Kerry.
Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik has secured a spot on the New Mexico ballot.
Adair wrote in his e-mail that “the Republicans have never tried to block the Libertarian Party in New Mexico — and there is little doubt their votes in 2000 cost President Bush New Mexico’s five electoral votes.”
Libertarian candidate Harry Browne got just over 2,000 votes in New Mexico four years ago, when Bush lost to Al Gore by 366 votes.
State Democratic Chairman John Wertheim on Thursday said Adair’s mass e-mail “demonstrates conclusively that Ralph Nader’s effort to get on the ballot is not a legitimate effort. It’s an effort orchestrated by the Republican Party.”
Miller, Nader coordinator, said she believes state Democratic officials are following the advice of former U.S. Rep. Toby Moffett.
Moffett, a former ally of Nader's, told the New Mexico delegation to last month’s Democratic National Convention that polls show the best argument to use with potential Nader voters is: “Ralph is in bed with Republicans.”
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