Thursday, June 22, 2006

THIS RACE IS JUST STARTING FOLKS ...

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 22, 2006


Surrogates for Gov. Bill Richardson took little time in blasting the new Republican gubernatorial candidate John Dendahl. But one e-mail from a Richardson spokesman has angered Dendahl and other Republicans. Dendahl says a news release from Richardson’s communications director, Pahl Shipley, amounts to campaigning on taxpayer’s money.

Shipley on Saturday e-mailed reporters with a short statement saying Dendahl, a former state GOP chairman, “embraces division and negativity” and decrying the Republican candidate’s “pro-drug legalization plan.”

Dendahl, as party chairman, had backed former Gov. Gary Johnson’s drug-law-reform ideas. He has said he is not proposing drug decriminalization in his campaign, but the Richardson camp has made an issue of Dendahl’s stance.

Dendahl on Wednesday faxed Richardson a letter complaining about the Shipley statement and asking to see a copy of the governor’s office policies “guiding government employees with respect to activities in support of your state and national campaigns.”

Rep. Dan Foley, R-Roswell, also weighed in on the Shipley e-mail. “This is another example of tax money being used to advertise their political agenda,” Foley said Tuesday. “If he’s such an eloquent spokesman, let him go to work for the campaign.”

Shipley responded, “The fact is it was done on my personal time and on my personal computer, although an official response was appropriate because Mr. Dendahl attacked the governor’s performance as governor.”

Then he made a jab of his own, referring to a Foley controversy: “Nevertheless, I bet my e-mail cost taxpayers a lot less than Rep. Foley's military flyover for his car-dealer friend."

The state National Guard, at Foley’s request in November, sent two New Mexico Air National Guard fighter jets to fly over the grand opening of a Roswell Toyota dealership — who was a Foley campaign contributor. Foley has denied the request was connected to the contributions.

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