Inside the Capitol

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

8-17 Denish On Ballot Could Help Teague

Syndicated Columnist

SANTA FE -- Rep. Harry Teague may be helped in his effort to retain his 2nd Congressional District seat by having Lt. Gov. Diane Denish on the ticket with him.
Denish grew up in Hobbs and still seems to consider it home base. Her father was Jack Daniels, a leading member of the business community and a state representative.
Denish spent time in Farmington before moving to Albuquerque and starting a business. She also maintains a place in Hillsboro, NM. She seems especially interested in maintaining rural ties and assisting in rural economic development.
Denish was a strong supporter of Teague in both the primary and general elections last year. If her chances look as good a year from now as they do at present, she may be able to give his campaign a boost similar to that which Teague received from the national Democratic Party last year.
Teague will need as many factors going for him as possible. All indications are that he and fellow Hobbs resident, former Rep. Steve Pearce, will wage quite a battle next year.
Last week I received a call from a reporter with a leading Capitol Hill publication asking if I thought Pearce might be old news back home. I told her it was more like big news.
I said it didn't appear district voters felt deserted by Pearce when he ran for the U.S. Senate last year. A large portion of southern voters were pleased to have a strong conservative seeking to replace Sen. Pete Domenici.
Both parties' congressional campaign committees already are going all out to support these candidates. Both committees have been sending news releases from Washington. to New Mexico media.
Steve Terrell of the Santa Fe New Mexican reports that The Hill newspaper says the National Republican Congressional Committee has named Pearce and 1st Congressional District candidate Jon Barela as two of the party's 13 "Young Guns."
The selections demonstrate how important New Mexico is to House Republicans but Pearce, who will turn 62 later this month, and Barela, 49, don't fit the image established by the teenage Billy the Kid and his pals in movies of the same name.
Actually, this is a training program to help non-incumbent GOP congressional candidates. The candidates must demonstrate a base of support, develop a media messaging plan and show they are capable of raising enough money to get their message out.
Pearce did well in all three categories while winning the district three times but any extra help will always be appreciated, I'm sure.
Ironically, the one Republican running at this point in the 3rd Congressional District, Adam Kokesh, is 27 and an ex-Marine. He also does well in all three campaigning categories. But Kokesh is a Ron Paul style libertarian who will not always follow the Republican party line.
Besides, Republicans have a very difficult time winning the 3rd district. They may find a more traditional Republican candidate to run but the person will not receive the national support enjoyed by GOP candidates in the other two districts.
Dan East, who represented the party in 2008, is a possibility in the 3rd district. He ran a great race in 2008 to secure the GOP nomination but staff problems and a strong effort by Ben Ray Lujan won the district for Democrats.
The GOP might do just as well letting Kokesh go for it. He's full of energy, a good speaker and already has used the Ron Paul Internet techniques to get a good start on a campaign war chest. Rep. Paul has endorsed Kokesh and shared his vast national mailing list.
Kokesh has appeared often with the Texas congressman and is in demand as a speaker on libertarian topics nationally. It is rumored that Paul, 74, may be about ready to retire and that Kokesh is likely to assume his mantle as the leading national voice of libertarianism.
MON, 8-17-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)



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