~~Posted by InsightAnalytical
With the news that the McCain-Palin “StraightTalk Express” bus sports a shattered window from a gunshot and and multiple paint ball hits from a drive through NM, I thought it would be a good time to give some on-the-ground reporting about the Biden-Richardson one-two punch from the past weekend. (The report says the shot and paint hits happened in southern NM, but the prior stops were in Gallup and Albuquerque in the north, but not as far north as Raton, which is practically in Colorado. I guess folks up north don’t think much about the REALLY southern part of the state much…more later on this!)
On Friday, October 17, Joe Biden graced us with his presence at a rally in Mesilla. I’d been to the plaza to see John Edwards and Wes Clark (2X)…it’s not too big a space and has a nice backdrop for photos.
Right off the bat, “things happened.” The local rag’s rundown on the impending appearances of Biden here and Sarah Palin in Roswell contained errors. Let’s see, is it just a typo when the paper gives the address of camp Obama’s headquarters here twice, including one time in place of the address and phone number of McCain headquarters? Well, I spotted it right away and called the paper, only to get taped instructions at the editorial department for leaving a message. I left a complaint, calling it an “egregious” error. This was in a page 1 story by the way, but I never saw a correction the next day on page 1…or buried inside the paper, either. I admit, I didn’t look very hard for it…because I’ve decided that a page 1 error deserves a page 1 correction.
The day after the Biden rally, the paper had a screaming headline across the top and a big story (also “disappeared” off the website, but the squib reads: “Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden asked supporters here not to quit working for the Barack Obama campaign, with Election Day less than three weeks away … .”) I guess there was TV coverage out of El Paso, too…but TV news is off limits for me these days. For the record, the local paper, The Las-Cruces Sun-News has about 3 people here in Las Cruces…most of the content comes out of El Paso now. One outfit, MediaNews Group, seems own or have partnerships with all the daily papers in southern NM, at least as far as I can tell. Gannett used to run them, but this group is no slouch. See details below…there are some big names there and they own one one TV station– ironically, in Anchorage, Alaska!
Then, on Saturday, October 18, Bill Richardson swooped down from Santa Fe for an “early vote rally” at a local eatery. Unfortunately the story seems to have vanished, but the little teaser for a picture remains:
10/19/2008 - Gov. Bill Richardson encourages Las Crucens to get out and cast their votes for the Democratic ticket Saturday during an early vote rally at Los Compas Cafe, 6335 Bataan Memorial West.
Early voting started on October 7. More EV sites opened up around the city the 18th, the day Richardson came to town. As of October 7, the last day to register as well as the first day of EV, this was the breakdown of voter registration here in Dona Ana County:
According to a story in the El Paso Times, “As of Friday morning [10/3], 104,503 people were registered to vote in Doña Ana County, according to the clerk’s office. Of those, 51,723 were Democrats, 29,980 were Republicans, 19,391 were classified as “declined to state” a party and 3,409 were other parties.”
Even though the district has a lot more registered Democrats, Republicans seem to carry the Congressional seat and many local races anyway. This is the first time I can remember that the national Democrats have funneled money into the CD-2 race for Richardson’s guy, oil services man Harry Teague (search Archives for a story on him).
The day Richardson showed up my mother went to the library…or at least TRIED to go the library. When she got there, there were long lines of people waiting to vote at the library’s voting site. The Obamacrats had a big shade tent up with lots of people milling around. Middle-school kids were on the street with signs, urging people to vote for Obama. One lone McCain person, a brave young man, stood by himself. My mother never got into the library because she couldn’t find a place to park. Needless to say, she came home disheartened. She had never seen young kids before, waving in voters for a candidate.
To top off the weekend, the print edition of the Sunday paper the Sun-News endorsed Obama.
President of the United States Our choice: Barack Obama
The Las Cruces Sun-News endorses Barack Obama for president of the United States.
Like many Americans, we would feel more comfortable with the Democratic nominee if we knew him a little better; if he had been on the national scene a little longer; if his résumé had been filled out a little more. But, we also share the belief of most Americans that our country is heading in the wrong direction and is in dire need of fundamental change.
(The editorial states that McCain only “tweaks” current policy, and then ends with this resounding flourish:)
While Obama’s résumé may be thin, his talents and abilities are anything but. In the nearly two years since his announcement, Obama has inspired a flock of new voters who are excited about the U.S. political system for the first time in their lives. He has demonstrated steady leadership and a keen intellect at a time when those qualities are most needed.
Oh, make me retch…facts to back that crap up?
The same day, the Sun-News made sure to publish this story on page 1:
NM Hispanics may hold election key
BERNALILLO — Rick Sepulveda can’t make up his mind between Barack Obama and John McCain. The 49-year-old beer salesman thinks the Democrat would do a better job with the economy, but he can’t stomach Obama’s support for abortion, an affront to his faith.
“I’m pro-life. That’s a big issue for me,” Sepulveda said recently, after taking an order at the T & T Supermart here, 18 miles north of Albuquerque. But, he added, “McCain is another Bush.”
Undecided Hispanic voters, particularly socially conservative ones like Sepulveda, could play the pivotal role in deciding who wins the five electoral votes in the Land of Enchantment, a state known for razor-thin margins in presidential races. Former Vice President Al Gore won by 365 votes in 2000; President Bush by 5,988 in 2004.
In New Mexico, Obama had led McCain in recent polls and has a substantial lead among Hispanics. But nearly one in five Hispanic voters, who make up almost a third of the state’s electorate, remain undecided, double the rate for white voters.
Many of these voters are torn, like Sepulveda, drawn to Republicans by their Roman Catholic faith, but to Democrats by their concerns about the economy….MORE
Maybe it’s a good sign that this northern New Mexican, just a stone’s throw from Santa Fe, in an area just outside of Albuquerque, is still torn.
Here’s my gripe about early voting (and it applies to ALL early voting, not just this election). This time around, with more and more news coming out about Obama’s connections and obfuscation, we’ve got a massive early vote turnout, especially up north (Obama country). See here. Texas is also reporting heavy turnout. Of course, Obamacrats won’t change their minds, but there are plenty of conservative Dems like the man cited in the above story who might as well as a boatload of undecideds. We know early voting is a tool to push a candidate’s vote totals up so that they become insurmountable, especially for one like Obama who has hidden much of his past with the aid of the media. My feeling is, if you want to vote and can’t get to the polls on Election Day or don’t want to wait hours, take the trouble to get your absentee ballot.
And, I have another thought: if all those people came out on Saturday, then why the hell don’t we have WEEKEND voting across the country? Voting on both Saturday and Sunday shouldn’t offend anyone and more people will have the time to go out and vote and there will be less of a crush at the polls at the last minute, when people get off work! What’s so hard about that??? We’ve now got voting all over the place here, for example–in-person voting; in-person absentee voting; absentee voting by mail; sites that anyone from any district can can vote at; in-district sites; and…Election Day. Meanwhile, you call the county clerk’s office for information and get a tape, leave a message, and they DON’T call you back!! It happened to us… so what does that tell you about how things are going? With NM’s stellar performance in vote counting (NOT!) doesn’t this sound like early voting is part of one big disaster?
Now, I have to tell you what happened to me as I was writing this piece. I took a break to walk Slick because I had heard thunder. Once outside, I saw a huge stack of clouds enveloping the Organ Mountains and …2 rainbows! I’ve never seen rainbows in October in all the years I’ve lived here, let alone a huge cloud like that one. What does it mean? I had a moment of real dread…that I was seeing an omen of some sort, that a big Obama storm was coming our way here. (I swear to God, this is all true..when I got home, I took pictures to prove it!)
When I got back to the computer, I happened to see at the Sun-News site a little blurb…seems McCain may be down here Saturday for a rally in Mesilla! Well, coming on the heels of the big rally Palin had in Roswell yesterday (10,000 showed up), I’m wondering if a McCain visit means he’s 1) desperate or 2) really optimistic about his chances, especially here in the south which normally offsets the northern part of the state?
UPDATE: As of early Tuesday morning (10/21) there is no new report on a McCain visit…
About the north-south issue: Tom Udall hasn’t shown his face here, except for a closed August event for money supporters. He sounds like a real Democrat one day, an Obamacrat another day, and a Republican yet another day. Does all this, plus his stiffing of the southern part of the state make me want to vote for him. Not really, not at this point. I won’t vote for Pearce, but Udall isn’t gaining my confidence, either.
About MediaNews Group: MediaNews Group has papers in California, the Rocky Mountain States, and Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Vermont and Massachussetts. The Denver Post is among their publications. According to their site, “are privately owned and operate 54 daily newspapers in 11 states with combined daily and Sunday circulation of approximately 2.4 million and 2.7 million, respectively…Our corporate mission is to be the leading provider of local news, information and services in our strategically located markets by continually expanding and leveraging our news gathering resources.”
“Leveraging,” at least here in southern NM, seems to mean cookie-cutter content with a smattering of local stories and press releases about clubs and entertainment listings…
McCain will hold a ticketed 3:30 PM event Saturday in Mesilla’s plaza. Details here.
Filed under: Current Politics Tagged: | Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Congressional DIstrict CD-2, Dona Ana County NM, Harry Teague, Hispanic voters, John McCain, MediaNews Group, Mesilla, New Mexico early voting, Sarah Palin, Steve Pearce, Striaght Talk Express, Tom Udall