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October 09, 2008

Heinrich Ducks Pelosi-Seeking Press, NRCC Slashes White Buy

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in Albuquerque yesterday to raise money for Congressional candidate Martin Heinrich, but most New Mexicans wouldn't have known it. Both Democrats ducked cameras seeking comment on the event.

But the minor embarrassment for Heinrich's campaign came a day before the National Republican Congressional Committee cut their television advertising commitment to Republican Darren White by two-thirds, signaling that the financially-troubled committee will once again be outspent by Democrats.

Heinrich's campaign locked down the fundraiser with Pelosi last Thursday. A camera crew from KRQE-TV waited outside the event for two hours, though the campaign said they only got an hour with the House Speaker.

Clips from KRQE-TV yesterday show Pelosi leaving the fundraiser but never engaging reporters.

Later, when the station tried to get Heinrich to answer questions about Pelosi's visit, both he and his campaign spokesperson were in a closed-door meeting, according to a campaign official who wouldn't go on camera.

The DCCC explains that "with the financial crisis and her campaign work, Speaker Pelosi has a very hectic schedule. She regularly does press events during campaign stops, however she was only in Albuquerque briefly before heading out to her next stop."

Heinrich and White are locked in one of the closest races in the country to replace retiring Rep. Heather Wilson. The NRCC, struggling to match national Democrats' aggressive spending, had booked about $730,000 worth of broadcast air time, an amount that has now been slashed by about two-thirds.

Having Pelosi visit the district without warning or notice irritated some local media, and the clip on KRQE doesn't do Heinrich any favors (See KRQE's report here). But with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee having dumped $850,000 into the race already and Republicans planning on spending, at most, $230,000 of their own, Heinrich may be able to sustain a day of bad press.

--Reid Wilson