Thursday, October 21, 2004

ROUNDHOUSE ROUND-UP: SENATE? HOUSE?

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
Oct. 21, 2004

State Sen. Joe Carraro, R-Albuquerque, thought he had a safe glide to election day with no opponent in his re-election bid for his Senate District 23 seat.

Or so he thought.

This week Carraro found a political postcard in his mailbox that gave him a start.

It was from New Mexico Progressive Action, a liberal PAC, seeking votes for Democrat Janice Kando for Senate District 23.

“All these people kept calling me up saying, ‘Joe, you need any help in the campaign,’ “ Carraro said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “I kept telling them I was unopposed, but they said they thought I had an opponent.”

Carraro said after he got the postcard he called the state Bureau of Elections just to make sure.

In reality, Kando, a family physician with a Corrales address, is running for the seat in House District 23, against Republican incumbent Rep. Eric Youngberg.

Carraro said he’s not sure whether Kando or her supporters actually thought she was running against him.

Apparently that’s not the case. Though Kando couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday, her website makes it clear she’s running for the House. “NM House District 23” is even part of her campaign logo.

David Duhigg, treasurer of New Mexico Progressive Action, whose name appeared on the cards, couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

Easy races

Carraro said that while it’s good not to have to worry about campaigning he almost wishes he did have an opponent. “I’m going to win, but I’m not going to beat my record,” Carraro said. That record was in 2000 when Carraro won 83 percent of the vote against a Libertarian opponent in the general election.

Actually the state legislative races could use a lot more competition. This year 25 of the 42 Senate seats have only one candidate running. There are 13 unopposed Republican senators and 12 unopposed Democrats. And despite rumors to the contrary, not all of those are running for Senate president pro tem.

This is up from 19 races with only one name on the ballot in 2000.

It’s a similar picture on the House side where 43 of the 70 seats are uncontested this year. Twenty five of those are Democrats while 18 are Republicans.

Poll dancing

Because of an agreement with Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, MSNBC and Knight-Ridder newspapers, we can’t tell you the result of the latest New Mexican/KOB-TV poll on the presidential race until Friday’s paper.

But in the meantime, for the benefit of all you poll junkies out there, another statewide poll of New Mexico voters was released Wednesday.

American Research, Inc., an independent firm based in New Hampshire, shows Sen. John Kerry at 48 percent to President Bush’s 46 percent. Ralph Nader has one percent in this poll, while five percent are undecided.

Although Kerry has a slight edge, it is well within the 4 percent margin of error.

The bad news for Kerry is that he was up by five percent in the AMG New Mexico poll a month ago and ahead by seven points two months ago.

AMG polled 600 likely voters in the state. Interviews were conducted Saturday through Monday.

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