Does Romney actually have a shot in New Mexico?
Print This Post
Back in 2008, Barack Obama won New Mexico in a cakewalk, defeating John McCain by 15.1 points in a state that had been long regarded as a toss-up.
And in 2012, New Mexico still has many more Democrats than Republicans, with registered Democrats making up 48 percent of the electorate, compared to 32 percent Republicans.
“I think it’s always been a swing state,” said Clay Sutton, the New Mexico Victory communications director for the Republican National Committee. “It’s going to be an uphill battle. We’ve got the resources here and Mitt Romney has the rescources to be competitive. It’s neck and neck.”
Of course, that’s what you expect to hear from a party official.
But 12 days ago, Public Policy Polling, which is affiliated with the national Democratic Party, released a phone survey of New Mexico voters showing that President Obama’s lead on Romney had shrunk from 15 percent to 5 percent.
And Obama’s recent remarks about business owners (“You didn’t build that”) received such wide circulation and criticism that the president’s staff spent days trying to explain or walk back the quote to the national media. The president himself came out with a response ad saying, “Of course Americans build their own businesses,” and saying Republicans had twisted his words and that intent was to emphasize the importance of infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
“It struck a raw nerve, ” Sutton said and Romney seems to have gained momentum. National polls released last week from the New York Times/CBS and Rasmussen have Romney ahead by 1 and 5 points, respectively.
On Monday (July 30), the New Mexico Republican Party called a news conference in that liberal bastion, Santa Fe, to draw attention to the remarks. A small businessman from Las Vegas, NM, Wayne Sonchar, appeared along with Republican Gov. Susana Martinez cabinet member Jon Barela blasting the Obama administration’s record and urging people to vote for Romney.
“Where I live in San Miguel County, I’m pretty sure Obama will win,” Sonchar told Capitol Report New Mexico. “Do I think the gap will be as large? No.”
As you’d expect, Democrats remain confident Obama will win in New Mexico and across the country.
“New Mexicans find Mitt Romney’s economic scheme familiar and troubling: more budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy; fewer rules for Wall Street – the same formula that benefitted a few, but crashed our economy and punished our state’s middle class,” said Mahen Gunaratna, the New Mexico/Arizona communications director for the Obama campaign. “Governor Romney is behind the curve here in New Mexico, and no amount of last minute distractions will prove he is on the side of New Mexico’s middle class.”
Obama visited New Mexico’s Oil Patch back in March. Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama have each made one trip to the state. Romney has not campaigned in the state thus far but he’s scheduled to appear at a private fundraiser in Hobbs on Aug. 23.
The last Republican to win New Mexico in a presidential race was George W. Bush in 2004, who defeated John Kerry by just 5,988 votes (a margin of seven-tenths of a point). Democrat Al Gore defeated Bush in 2000 by just 366 votes (six-one hundredths of a point).
From Monday’s news conference, here’s video of Barela — the Secretary of Economic Development – seizing on the “you didn’t build that” comments:
By the way, Barela told reporters he made his appearance during his lunch break and not as part of his state government duties.
Posted under Capitol Report.
Tags: Barack Obama, Capitol Report New Mexico, Jon Barela, Mitt Romney, New Mexico Economic Development Department, New York Times/CBS poll, Public Policy Polling, Rasmussen, Susana Martinez, Wayne Sonchar, you didn't build that