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Oct 17, 2008

Southwestern Swing


Yes we telecom.

Last night I dropped by the Obama HQ in Las Cruces, NM, while I was overnighting with a splendid couchsurfing.com host who needed to do some pre-canvassing tasks.

Pictured above, Team Obama was on their (maybe nightly?) conference call.  Various teams were reporting on the numbers of doors knocked on, number of people contacted, etc.  It was nice to catch my first glimpse of the ground-level organizing that I've been hearing about for the last year.*

Slate just ran an article on how every tiny town counts in this complex swing state whose five electoral votes are getting plenty of attention.  Click here for It's the Little Things -- In the New Mexico presidential race, no town is too small to matter. By Jacob Leibenluft


In 2000, Gore won the state by a margin of 366 votes. By comparison, 2004 was a landslide for Bush, who carried New Mexico's five electoral votes with an edge of 5,988 ballots. Campaigns in New Mexico have gotten used to thinking in small numbers.

Southern New Mexico presents the ultimate challenge to a campaign that is counting on its ground game: It's got a lot of ground and not many people. New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District—which covers the southern half of the state—is bigger than Pennsylvania. It's very rural and very conservative.


LAS CRUCES—As southern New Mexico goes, Las Cruces is about as liberal as it gets. It's home to New Mexico State University, as well as a growing community of East Coast transplants who have moved here for the weather. But for a good example of New Mexico's ideological diversity, consider this: Santa Fe, in the northern part of the state, was one of the first cities in the country to pass a living-wage ordinance. Las Cruces, on the other hand, doesn't yet have curbside recycling.

I watched most of last night's debate at the New Mexico State University student center, along with a dozen or so folks.  One of the audience made a series of disparaging comments about how "McCain's face looks weird".  Another said, "well, give us fifty years and we might all look like that.  I want to hear about his policies."


*I volunteered for the Gantt campaign all of October '96.  It of course looked nothing like this.

Unrelated: I left Las Cruces this morning and drove just over 600 miles to San Antonio.  That's a solo record for me.  I'm now in a hotel watching America's Funniest Videos and they really are hilarious.  I just saw a stork swallow a big fish, and then I saw a seagull swallow a whole hot dog and then yarf it up.  No one's gotten hit in the nads yet on this show, but I saw one of those on Corner Gas.  I love television.


01:20 AM in Editorial, Traveling | Permalink


p.s. 15 minutes later, double bonus at AFV. Dogs and people taking spills, AND a dog stepping on the working end of a shovel, sending the handle right into his master's nads. Yesss!!!

Posted by: Phil | Oct 17, 2008 1:44:51 AM

Ah, New Mexico. It's the state that algae researchers say we should cover with 15,000 square miles of algae farms to provide all the fuel for our planes, trains, and automobiles -- all our transportation needs -- if they were to all run on jet or Diesel fuel.

I say, okay, but let's start with a few hundred square miles. See how that goes.

Posted by: Elrond Hubbard | Oct 27, 2008 10:32:05 PM