LOOKING FOR AN UPSET: A New York Times computer model claims Allen Weh (left) and David Clements have just a 1 percent chance of beating Tom Udall in the U.S. Senate race in New Mexico. Photos by New Mexico Watchdog.
By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE, N.M. — The U.S. Senate may flip from a Democrat to a Republican majority after the November elections, and political pundits are spending plenty of time handicapping races in each state.
But for what it’s worth, a computer model touted by the New York Times says the race in New Mexico isn’t even worth ruminating about.
“According to our statistical election-forecasting machine,” the Times posted on Wednesday, Democrat and incumbent Tom Udall has a 99 percent chance of defeating whomever wins the Republican nomination in New Mexico — either Allen Weh or David Clements.
In fact, the Times forecast says the New Mexico race is one of 14 Senate races, featuring six Democrats and eight Republicans, where the favored candidate has a 99 percent or better chance of winning:
New Mexico Watchdog asked the Weh and Clements campaigns for their reaction and — surprise! — each of scoffed at the Times prediction model.
“This article doesn’t come as a surprise since Tom Udall has spent 15 years in Washington and is part of the Udall political dynasty,” said Weh’s campaign manager, Diego Espinoza. “But this is why we have campaigns. We are confident that New Mexicans will be ready for a change once they find out the truth about Tom Udall and his voting record, including the fact that he’s ranked as the most liberal member of the Senate, has the absolute worst record on taxes and spending of all 535 congressmen, and votes with Obama 94 percent of the time.”
“Political prognosticators don’t exactly have the best record in calling races this far away from Election Day,” Clements said in a email. ”This is especially true in cases where the winner in the primary could be an actual political outsider.”
Clements then took a shot at Weh.
It’s no secret that observers believe that Udall will cruise to an easy re-election if Republicans nominate a tired, perennial, self-funding candidate with decades of worth of political baggage. I think the turnout is completely different if I get the nod,” he said.
The Clements-Weh battle has been getting nastier lately.
The Weh campaign has sent out news releases criticizing Clements on a number of fronts. Earlier this week, it accused Clements of not filing paperwork in time with the Federal Election Commission. “Apparently it’s amateur hour at the Clements campaign,” Espinoza said.
The Clements campaign denied the charge, saying the paperwork was field by certified mail and sent out its own news release with Clements saying, “This is another example of how Allen Weh will lie and cheat in an attempt to slow our grassroots momentum.”
The GOP primary is set for June 3 and so far, no debates have been scheduled between Weh and Clements. But if there ever is one, it looks like it would be a doozy.
Oh yes, getting back to that New York Times forecast: It says calls the Senate “essentially the same as a coin flip” as to whether Democrats or Republicans take control.
Contact Rob Nikolewski at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @robnikolewski