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Saturday, June 23, 2007

NM-01: New USAGate Testimony Likely to Hurt Wilson

New Mexico's First Congressional District is a quintessential swing district. Heather Wilson, the GOP incumbent has never received more than 55% of the vote in her re-election campaigns. When revelations about her role in the USAGate attorney firings became public early in 2007, her hold on the seat through the 2008 election became more precarious. This is one of the top three Western targets for Democrats as they work to expand their House majority.

#2) NM-01: Wilson [wiki] (PVI D+2) (RR = Lean GOP)*
  • Democratic Line-Up: ONE declared challenger (for more info about Martin Heinrich's campaign is here) with at least TWO more rumored to be considering making a run at unseating Wilson
  • Incumbent Running? Probable (Wilson does not have a 2008 campaign website)

  • NM-01 RACE DETAILS:

"Blue District"makes Wilson a perennial target: This is one of two Western districts (with WA-08) carried by Kerry in 04 currently held by a Republican. Dems hold a wide advantage in registration (46-35%) and is one of the truly swing districts in the West. Martin Heinrich's efforts to build a strong, well-financed campaign to oust Wilson can be found here. Former NM Attorney General (and 2006 NM-01 nominee) Patricia Madrid has not made a decision about the race.

USAGate exposes Wilson to ethics questions: Wilson's role in the firing of New Mexico US Attorney David Iglesias has resulted in a larger "bull's eye" on her back going into 2008 as witnessed by the DCCC's HeatherWilsonWatch.com website. Her political mentor, Sen. Pete Domenici, a long-time New Mexico institution, has watched his approval ratings plummet in the state since the phone calls became public. Wilson was once considered the 'heir apparent' to replace Domenici in the Senate upon his retirement. Now, both find themselves as politically wounded "damaged goods" in the state and many observers view a Wilson run for Senate as a non-starter. She will have an even more difficult time holding on to this seat.

Congressional Testimony Worsens Wilson's position: The political fortunes of both Wilson and Sen. Pete Domenici deteriorated when US Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty testified this past week before the House Judiciary Committee. McNulty expanded on his previous testimony, acknowledging that an Oct. 4, 2006, a phone call by Sen. Domenici (R-N.M.) complaining about the performance of then-New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias was a factor in his later decision to not raise objections over Iglesias’s name remaining on the firing list. He did not disclose the influence of Domenici’s call during his February testimony. This new testimony can't help Wilson's re-election chances in New Mexico, where the story has generated tons of media coverage.

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