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NEW MEXICO: Lake: Wilson, Madrid Within Margin of Error

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Rep. Heather Wilson (R) and her highly touted challenger, state Attorney General Patricia Madrid (D), were essentially tied in a new poll conducted for the Madrid campaign.

The poll of 400 likely voters, conducted Jan. 25-29 by Lake Research Partners, found Wilson preferred by 44 percent of respondents and Madrid the choice of 43 percent of those surveyed. The poll had a 4.9 percent error margin.

Fifty-two percent of those surveyed said they had a positive impression of the job Wilson is doing, while 47 percent were negative. Madrid’s job approval was 62 percent, while 30 percent of voters did not approve of the job she is doing as attorney general.

In a memo accompanying the poll, Lake Research Partners said that Wilson, who has thrived in a district that slightly favors Democrats in national elections, appears to be losing her veneer of independence from the national GOP.

“The disparity in voters’ ratings of the two women’s job performance is only underscored by the fact that, by an 11-point margin, voters see Madrid as more independent than Wilson, 41 percent to 30 percent (7 percent say both are independent, 9 percent say neither is, and 13 percent don’t know),” the pollsters wrote. “Among independent voters, that margin grows to 15 percent.”

The 1st district race will be one of the most watched of the cycle. Through Dec. 31, Wilson had $979,000 in her campaign account, and Madrid had $431,000.
— Josh Kurtz

OHIO
House Leaders Host D.C. Fundraiser for Ney Foe

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) are scheduled to host a fundraiser in March for Chillicothe Mayor Joe Sulzer, one of two Democrats seeking to challenge embattled Rep. Bob Ney (R) in November.

The event was originally scheduled to be held Thursday at Tortilla Coast, a popular Capitol Hill watering hole. Admission will range from $5,000 for a political action committee sponsor to $1,000 per individual.

Sulzer was recruited to run by national Democrats and is viewed as the perferred nominee against Ney, who was forced to relinquish his House Administration chairmanship recently due to his ties to the Jack Abramoff scandal.

Still, Sulzer faces a primary against Dover Law Director Zack Space (D).

Through Dec. 31, Sulzer had $222,000 in the bank and Space had $69,000. Ney was sitting on $582,000.
— Lauren W. Whittington

GEORGIA
Lamutt Manager Admits Stealing From Campaign

The former campaign manager for then-state Sen. Robert Lamutt (R), who lost a runoff in the 6th district in 2004, pleaded guilty recently to one count of mail fraud after admitting to stealing about $40,000 from the campaign.

Jack Thomas, who managed Lamutt’s bid to succeed now-Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) in the House, admitted that he wrote unauthorized campaign checks to himself, his wife, his brother and others from September 2003 to February 2004.

Lamutt, a wealthy financial adviser who spent about $1.5 million of his own money on the losing effort, was defeated in a runoff by now-Rep. Tom Price (R).

Thomas is due to be sentenced Aug. 8. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
— L.W.W.

MAINE
Conservation Voters Join Other Liberals for Snowe

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) continues to rack up endorsements from groups usually associated with Democrats.

On Tuesday, the League of Conservation Voters gave Snowe its stamp of approval in her bid for a third term.

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