In the close presidential race, even New Mexico's five electoral votes are worth a fight. George W. Bush has visited three times, Al Gore has stopped by twice, and Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman both showed up in Albuquerque in mid-September. "For the first time in recent memory, New Mexico appears to be playing an important role in the national election," former Republican Gov. Garrey Carruthers told the Albuquerque Journal.
Sierra Club is also keeping an eye on New Mexico, and a recent
television ad from the group acknowledges the power of the Hispanic
vote. The $200,000 Spanish-language spot, now on the air in New
Mexico, criticizes George W. Bush's
environmental record. Both major-party candidates have run
television ads in Spanish .
As two sons of the
political establishment battle it out in the presidential race,
another is cruising into the 2nd Congressional District seat in
Utah. Democrat Jim Matheson, the son of popular
former Gov. Scott Matheson, holds a comfortable
lead in the polls over Republican candidate Derek
Smith. Smith bested two-term incumbent Merrill
Cook in the primary race, but Cook is threatening to run
as a write-in candidate.
are more evenly matched in Montana, and Democrats have hired a
full-time staffer to rally support on Native American reservations
- a first for a major party in the state. Organizer
Darrell LaMere, a member of the Winnebago Tribe,
made a recent appearance at a Blackfeet Reservation high school.
"I'm not here to knock the Republicans," he told a group of
seniors. "I'm here to get you interested in the political process."
The national group Friends of the Earth
recently jumped at a chance to knock the Republicans. At a Sept. 20
press conference, Sens. Slade Gorton of
Washington, Larry Craig of Idaho and
Gordon Smith of Oregon said Gore had told
Friends of the Earth he planned to "announce a decision to remove
Snake River Dams." But the trio was quoting from a question posed
by the environmental group - not from Gore's middle-of-the-road
response. "These guys are looking like the Three Stooges," said
Friends of the Earth spokesman Mark Whiteis-Helm.