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« Morning Thoughts: SeaWorld Edition | Blog Home Page | Lautenberg Gets An Opponent »

An Analogy The NRCC Likes

After recruiting their top candidate in New Mexico's Albuquerque-based First District, House Republicans are hoping Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White can emulate another sheriff turned Congressman. "If Democrats are smart, they will do the math and come to the realization that getting mixed up in a political shootout with a sheriff like Dave Reichert and Darren White usually yields negative results," said NRCC press secretary Ken Spain.

Reichert, the former King County Sheriff, won election in 2004 in Washington State's Eighth District. The county is the largest in the state centered around Seattle and its eastern and southern suburbs. When the late Rep. Jennifer Dunn retired, many saw the seat as a top Democratic pick-up opportunity. Reichert has won narrowly twice in an increasingly Democratic district, and House Republicans hope White can save the New Mexico seat following Reichert's model.

The early results look good. A Public Opinion Strategies poll, taken for White's campaign, shows White leading several potential Democratic contenders. The poll, conducted 10/8-9, surveyed 400 likely voters for a 4.9% margin of error. Tested alongside White were former state Attorney General Patricia Madrid, who lost narrowly to Heather Wilson last year, and Albuquerque City Council member Martin Heinrich.

General Election Matchups
White 51
Madrid 39

White 51
Heinrich 33

POS is one of the most highly-respected Republican polling firms in the country, and the NRCC frequently uses them for top races. White is using Nicole McCleskey, a partner at POS based in Albuquerque, for his polling.

The poll is an optimistic baseline that Republicans are pushing to convince reporters they can hold the district. But without a top-tier Democrat in the race yet, and with White getting a head start, the numbers show that Democrats face a difficult race to retake the seat, to say the least.