by Craig Dimitri

In the New Mexico-1st CD, it appears that eight-year incumbent Rep. Heather Wilson is in a pitched battle, to hold onto her Albuquerque-area seat.  She trails her Democratic challenger, NM Attorney General Patricia Madrid, according to independent polling.

Since she entered Congress in 1998, to replace deceased Rep. Steven Schiff (R), Wilson has managed to win four terms in her own right.  In 2002 and 2004, she defeated her Democratic challengers handily, winning 55%-45% in both years.  And in 2004, she was able to do so despite the fact that the N.Mex.-1st CD narrowly supported John F. Kerry, 51%-48%.

Two independent polls have surveyed the N.Mex.-1st CD in the course of the past week.  Zogby found a large lead for Madrid, 53%-44%, in a poll which concluded Oct. 29.  The other independent poll, by Polling and Research and the Albuquerque Journal, shows much better news for Wilson, down just 49%-45%, with 6% still undecided.  Plus, the latter poll concluded on Nov. 2, four days later than Zogby.

Both national parties view this seat as important, and both have sent in big guns.  For the Democrats, it was former President Bill Clinton to benefit Madrid, and for the GOP, First Lady Laura Bush, to help Wilson.  Another wild card in this contest is the fact that New Mexico permits early voting, and so it’s entirely possible that the frenetic 11th-hour campaigning won’t make a difference.

Obviously, by the time the the House Democrats will have already established their new majority, by the time New Mexico closes its polls at 7:00 PM Mountain Daylight Time (9:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time).  Democrats are expected to capture Republican seats located throughout the Northeast (EDT) and Midwest (CDT).  By the time New Mexico has finished counting, odds are that

a) Madrid will simply be adding one more seat to the new majority – or

b)  DC Republicans can take some late-night solace, in having saved Wilson in New Mexico, another endangered incumbent. 

Wilson official campaign site – http://www.heatherforcongress.com/

Madrid official campaign site – http://www.madridforcongress.com/ 

Tribune – http://www.abqtrib.com/news/2006/nov/06/each-candidate-says-shes-ahead/

Questions?  Comments?  Information?  You can contact Craig Dimitri at cdimitri1@yahoo.com.

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