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White House Loves New Mexico

Just months after President Bush stopped by Albuquerque to raise cash for Sen. Pete Domenici, Vice President Dick Cheney will pull in cash for the congresswoman hoping to replace the retiring Senator. Cheney will appear at a fundraiser for Rep. Heather Wilson next month, reports the Santa Fe New Mexican's Steve Terrell.

Appearing with Bush is dangerous, thanks to his low approval numbers. Appearing with Cheney, who is even less popular than his boss, could be even less fun for Wilson. Fortunately, Air Force Two will remain far from the prying eyes of local media: The fundraiser will be held in Washington.

Cheney's agreeing to hold a fundraiser for Wilson comes before Rep. Steve Pearce, also a Republican, has made up his mind on the race. The overt support from the White House is a pretty clear indication about what Washington Republicans think Pearce should do: Stay in his House seat, and let the more moderate Wilson take her shot.

Meanwhile, the race for Wilson's Albuquerque-based district is getting more crowded. We wrote recently about Republicans getting their top pick, Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White. Now Democrats have picked up one of their top candidates. Former New Mexico Health Secretary Michelle Lujan Grisham announced yesterday she would jump in the race, the AP reports, to contest the Democratic nomination.

Albuquerque City Councilman Martin Heinrich, another Democrat, is already running for the seat, while 2006 candidate Patricia Madrid has not said whether she will run again.