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« Smith, Merkley Tight | Blog Home Page | Dems Neck And Neck In VA »

Bush Still Raising Money

President Bush will hit fundraisers in three Southwestern states next week, getting back on the trail after spending most of his time around Washington. Bush will raise cash in Phoenix, with John McCain, then appear twice with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in Utah. But before raising big bucks for the head of the ticket, Bush will land in Albuquerque to fill the coffers of Bernallilo County Sheriff Darren White, one of a few Republicans with a good shot at winning an open seat this year.

Tickets to the event for White, held this coming Tuesday at a Los Ranchos de Albuquerque private home, run from $1,000 to attend to $5,000 for a photo with Bush. KOB-TV reports the event's goal is just $300,000, which seems low for an evening with the commander in chief. Still, a fundraiser with Vice President Dick Cheney held for Senator Pete Domenici before he announced his retirement netted just $400,000.

The event comes just a week before the state's June 3 primary, in which White is a heavy favorite over State Senator Joe Carraro.

But Bush's visit could come back to haunt the relatively moderate sheriff as he seeks to replace Republican Rep. Heather Wilson in a marginal district that gave more votes to the last two Democratic presidential candidates than to the incumbent. White will likely face questions from the eventual Democratic nominee about his fondness for a very unpopular president, and the leading Democratic candidate has already gone on the attack.

"The president knows that Darren White is a George Bush Republican who will continue to advocate for endless war in Iraq and for economic policies that have left middle class families behind," Albuquerque City Councilmember Martin Heinrich told the Las Cruces Sun-News. Heinrich will face former state Aging Secretary Michelle Lujan Grisham and former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil Giron in the June 3 Democratic primary.