Of poisoned drinking fountains and an opponent being “a disaster”: Heinrich and Wilson rhetoric heating up UPDATE: Wilson launches anti-Heinrich ad
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It’s nearing the end of July in an election year and with little more than three months until November 6, it’s no surprise that the Heather Wilson-Martin Heinrich race is starting to take on a harder edge.
The Wilson-Heinrich showdown figures to be one of the most competitive in the country — and it’s already turning into one of the more expensive as the two US Senate candidates battle it out for the right to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico) in a race where the winner could end up holding the seat for years to come, as Pete Domenici did during his time in the Senate that spanned four different decades (1973-2009).
In the most recent quarterly fundraising numbers posted, Heinrich had a slight lead on Wilson when it came to cash on hand ($1.7 million to $1.6 million) but Wilson raised more money between May 17-June 30 ($1.6 million to $1.4 million).
So far, the TV ads from the candidates themselves have been highlighting their own records. But two ads paid for by environmental groups haven’t held back on Wilson, trying to paint her as a tool of oil interests who is poisoning school children from the water fountain.
Here’s the most recent ad from the Sierra Club:
Capitol Report New Mexico caught up with Wilson this past Saturday and got her reaction to the ads: “I think some of these things are way over the top and not even credible,” Wilson said Saturday (July 21). “One thing that people know about me is that we may not always agree on everything but I won’t play political games and I always tell people the truth.”
But during Saturday’s interview, Wilson took her own shots at Heinrich, saying that when it comes to the energy industry, the current congressman in the state’s First Congressional District “would be a disaster for the state of New Mexico.”
Heinrich is amping up the rhetoric too.
On Monday (July 23), the Heinrich camp sent out a news release saying Wilson “is making a desperate attempt to convince New Mexicans to go back to her devastating policies that crippled the economy and riddled our country with debt” and pointing to Wilson’s support last year for the “Cut Cap and Balance” bill sponsored by congressional Republicans and some GOP presidential candidates — but the Heinrich news release called it “Cut Cap and End Medicare.”
Wilson said Saturday she’s against privatizing Social Security but also said, “I think we’re better off addressing [possible reforms] now than waiting ’til 20 years from now. Right now this program is already paying out more than it’s taking in and in 2037 there will be an automatic cut in benefits unless we act. So the question is, how do you save Social Security and what is the best path forward and I think doing it in a bi-partisan way and not tearing the country apart is the proper approach.”
You can watch the entire 6-minute interview with Wilson here:
We’ll post an interview with Rep. Heinrich the next time we get a chance to talk to him on camera.
Update 7/24: Wilson launched her first Heinrich negative 30-second ad on Tuesday (July 24):
This the first of many from both sides, I’m sure.