Capitol Report New Mexico barred from Martin Heinrich event with John Kerry
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A spokeswoman for US Senate candidate Martin Heinrich prevented Capitol Report New Mexico from taking part in a media briefing Wednesday evening with Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts), who was in Santa Fe for a fundraiser on behalf of Heinrich on Wednesday evening (Oct. 24) at a restaurant in Santa Fe.
Whitney Potter of the Heinrich campaign told Capitol Report New Mexico that “the event is closed to the press” and that Kerry had “very limited time.”When Rob Nikolewski of Capitol Report New Mexico pointed out that Steve Terrell of the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper, Milan Simonich of the Texas-New Mexico Newspapers Partnership (among other reporters and photographers) were on hand, Potter said, “It’s a closed event. These are one-on-ones I’ve set up.”
Here’s more of the exchange:
Potter: So the event is actually closed to press. I’ve set up a few folks who are going to be talking to the senator while he’s here. I know you wanted to [Nikolewski had e-mailed Potter twice about media availibility for the Kerry-Heinrich event]. But, uh, you know, it’s not an option.
Nikolewski: Why not?
Potter: Like I said, there’s very limited time and we’ve got folks with media outlets …
Nikolewski: I can’t just tag along with Steve and Milan?
Potter: Not tonight.
Nikolewski: Whitney, you send me news releases, two or three news releases every day saying, here’s what our candidate is doing. And your candidate has an event with John Kerry and I can’t come?
Potter: It’s a actually a closed event so these are just sort of one-on-ones I’ve set up and unfortunatley it’s not going work out tonight.
[Heinrich chief of staff Steve Haro walks up and he and Nikolewski get introduced and Nikolewski explains the situation and the discussion with Potter ends with this exchange:]
Nikolewski: It just seems unfair, Whitney. I’ve been very fair to you guys [in their race against Republican Heather Wilson]. And now, suddenly, I’m right next door …
Potter: You’re … would you say you’re with a media outlet?
Potter: They’re with newspapers that have been around a long time. You’re funded by a libertarian think tank [Capitol Report New Mexico covers the New Mexico politics and is funded by the Rio Grande Foundation].
Nikolewski: Yeah, and I also have an office in the Roundhouse and I cover …
Potter: I know. That’s why I keep you updated on things, so.
Nikolewski: Well you can do what you want Whitney but I think it makes you guys look bad.
Here’s the entire exchange, as recorded on Nikolewski’s FlipCam:
Heinrich is a two-term congressman in New Mexico’s First Congressional District that makes up Albuquerque and central parts of the state. Polls have shown him leading Wilson going into the final two weeks of the race.
And here are links to all of the stories that Capitol Report New Mexico has run on the Wilson-Heinrich race this year. You can judge their fairness for yourself:
Update: Potter called as I was posting this story to reiterate that Kerry had a limited amount of time to speak. I told her that the campaign can make its own decisions but that I thought its handling of the situation was rude.
Posted under Capitol Report.
Tags: Capitol Report New Mexico, Heather Wilson, John Kerry, Martin Heinrich, Milan Simonich, Rio Grande Foundation, Rob Nikolewski, Santa Fe New Mexican, Steve Terrell, Texas-New Mexico Newspapes Partnership, Whitney Potter