Thursday, October 28, 2004


As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
Oct. 28, 2004

They're coming over the border by the hundreds.

They walk among us.

They're going to do their best to influence the election.

They call themselves "Texans."

"Last week we were in Texas and we discovered that the Texas GOP has been funneling hundreds and hundreds of volunteers into New Mexico, which makes great sense," noted political pundit Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, on his Web site this week.

It makes great sense because President Bush has his home state wrapped up. But New Mexico still is considered a battleground state. Our modest five electoral votes could be crucial in a tight race.

Between 400 and 500 Texas Republicans are coming to help the Bush campaign here, a spokeswoman for the state Bush effort confirmed.

Matt Farrauto, spokesman for the state Democratic Party, said he's not surprised by the Texas Republican brigade. But he said the John Kerry campaign has 4,500-plus volunteers to help get out the vote on Tuesday. Some of those are from out of state, Farrauto said.

From blue stripes to red stripes

Sabato's Web site this week also changed New Mexico from leaning Kerry to leaning Bush.

"We can no longer ignore a series of public and private tracking polls showing Bush narrowly ahead," Sabato wrote. "Bush almost carried it in 2000, and despite Gov. Bill Richardson and his work for Kerry, Bush might be able to pull New Mexico into the Republican column. These are five critical electoral votes, and we will be watching all the way through election night."

Good words for the Gov.

Speaking of Richardson, the governor received a whole bouquet of compliments in an e-mail news release before Kerry's stop in Las Cruces last week.

Only trouble is, it was from the Bush campaign using Richardson to try to trash Kerry.

"When Senator Kerry campaigns with Governor Bill Richardson tomorrow in New Mexico, Kerry will probably be standing on the left side of the podium," Bush campaign spokesman Danny Diaz wrote. "Richardson supports the death penalty, but Kerry has voted against it at least 18 times and even opposed the death penalty for terrorists. Richardson has proposed tax cuts, but Kerry has voted 98 times for tax increases totaling $2.3 trillion. Richardson signed New Mexico's concealed carry legislation into law, but John Kerry has an 'F' rating from the NRA."

Many New Mexican Republicans pull out their hair any time national GOP types refer to Richardson as a tax cutter. The governor did push through personal-income-tax cuts for the upper brackets and fought hard to get rid of the gross-receipts tax on food. But Republican legislators insist that other taxes and fees have gone up under Richardson.

Sleepless in Southern New Mexico
Rep. Dan Foley, R-Roswell, and two friends -- we don't know if they're Texans -- are driving around various Southern New Mexico communities on what they call the "No Sleep Till Tuesday Tour."

Foley and friends are meeting up with local GOP legislative candidates for get-out-the-vote rallies. U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., has joined the No Sleepers at some stops, Foley said. Crowds, he said, have ranged between 30 and 50 people.

"The key is to let people know there's an alternative on the ballot," Foley said.

While the tour made it as far north as Santa Rosa, no Santa Fe area stops are planned, Foley said.

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