The polls are out (subscription) and so are the endorsements. The polls show what we all know to be true. This is one of the closest races in the nation. Heather Wilson, just like in the last two elections, has lost ground from earlier polls, and just like in the last two elections, it is all going to come down to which side can motivate their people to get out and vote.
A by-product of this Election Day will be to settle one political strategy question once and for all. In a race between two candidates, is voting against something politically enough motivation to get people to turn out to the polls? Or, is voting for someone a more powerful impetus to get people to the polls?
To this end, let’s look at the endorsements. The Albuquerque Journal and the Albuquerque Tribune have respectively endorsed Heather Wilson and Patricia Madrid. What is fascinating is what they had to say in arriving at the their endorsement decisions.
Below are a few key quotes from the Journal’s endorsement (subscription) of Heather Wilson.
First, on Independence:
Congress as an institution [both Democrats and Republicans] acquiesced to the administration. Wilson was less compliant than many [emphasis added].
Wilson has asserted the authority of Congress and demanded accountability from the executive branch.
Next, on Qualifications:
Wilson is a Rhodes Scholar, an Air Force Academy graduate and the only woman veteran in Congress. She also worked as a staffer for the National Security Council and understands the magnitude of the threats we face.
Lastly, on Integrity:
Wilson’s own behavior is fair game, but her reputation for integrity has yet to be seriously challenged with anything more specific than guilt by association. And her critics have their own problems in these areas [emphasis added].
Now compare the above with what the Tribune had to say when deciding to endorse Patricia Madrid:
First, on Integrity:
For eight years, Madrid [had] a disappointing lack of early investigations into corruption in the state Treasurer’s Office.
Next, on Qualifications:
Throughout this campaign, her unwillingness to engage in a public conversation about congressional issues – be it in formal debates, one-on-one interviews or casual forums – has left us anywhere from frustrated to enraged. The first part of being a public servant is to be… public [emphasis added].
As to Independence… well, unfortunately there is nothing favorable to be said on this front for Patricia Madrid. Everyone on both sides of the aisle agrees that electing Madrid is about putting Democrats, like uber-liberal Nancy Pelosi, in key majority leadership positions:
I’ve talked to several Democrats who say they like Wilson a lot and have voted for her in the past, but the idea of having the Democrats control Congress is more appealing to them than the magnitude, character or qualities of either Wilson or Madrid.
Do you want Wilson still to represent you in the majority party? Or do you want the Democrats to control Congress? Think carefully. You may be deciding that question for the rest of us.
Madrid’s every word in this campaign has been very carefully scripted by D.C. Democrats with their own agenda – an agenda far removed from the interests of New Mexicans living in the 1st Congressional District. Probably the most damning part of the Tribune’s endorsement of Patricia Madrid is the fact they admit that “Patricia Madrid is not our ideal candidate for the post.”
Yeah, that’s motivating.