Tuesday, August 30, 2005


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican August 30, 2005 City Councilor David Pfeffer — a former Democrat who switched parties this year after campaigning for President Bush in the 2004 election — is expected to announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate in Albuquerque today. 

Pfeffer, 60, who represents the north-side District 1 on the council, would be running against popular Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman, a four-term incumbent who earlier this year announced his intent to seek re-election. 

A Monday news release for Pfeffer said the councilor “has been touring New Mexico in recent months exploring a run for the United States Senate, meeting with GOP groups in Taos, Clovis, Los Alamos, Roswell, Albuquerque, Socorro, Alamogordo, Las Cruces and other communities.” 

The news release said Pfeffer would “discuss his political plans” at today’s news conference. In a telephone interview Monday he declined to publicly discuss his decision about the Senate race — though he joked about the unlikeness of holding a press conference in Albuquerque to announce he is seeking re-election to his Santa Fe council seat.

Most political observers agree that Bingaman will be hard to beat. His career has been virtually free of controversy. After defeating an incumbent Republican Sen. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt in 1982, Bingaman has been re-elected by healthy, usually landslide margins. 

A statewide poll of 600 New Mexican adults conducted Aug. 12 through Aug. 14 by the Survey U.S.A. organization showed that 59 percent of those polled approved of Bingaman’s performance in the Senate while only 26 percent disapproved. (The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percent.) 

But one of Pfeffer’s City Council colleagues — a Democrat — said Pfeffer’s chances shouldn’t be dismissed. Councilor Carol Robertson-Lopez said Pfeffer is articulate and media savvy, and probably is the best-known of the eight Santa Fe city councilors. Robertson-Lopez also said she expects the Republican Party to pour impressive amounts of cash into Pfeffer’s campaign. 

Earlier this month Pfeffer acknowledged that he has raised more than $5,000 for his Senate campaign. But he refused to name any of his contributors and refused to say who owns the two planes he used during the “exploratory” part of his campaign. Bingaman already has raised more than $1 million for his re-election effort.

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