1st District race heats up as debate draws near

Posted at: 10/11/2012 5:44 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

New polling shows Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham pulling away from her Republican opponent in the hotly contested race for Congress in New Mexico's 1st district - but Janice Arnold-Jones insists the race is a lot closer than the pollsters think.

Arnold-Jones, with less money and little party support, is fighting uphill against the better-funded Lujan Grisham, and with 26 days to go this race is not over.

Conservative feminist Arnold-Jones, a born competitor, is trailing Lujan 55 percent to 40 percent in a new poll, but that poll is an internal one comissioned by the democrat's own campaign. That means Arnold-Jones is taking it with about a pound of salt.

"For us it has always been the ground game," Arnold-Jones said. "We have to get people to the polls and we knew we would not have as much money as anybody else, so our own weapon - literally - was that face to face interaction, and that's exactly what we're doing."

Still, Lujan Grisham led Arnold-Jones by 12 points in the independent Albuquerque Journal poll a month ago, so she likes the look of her internal polling.

"I think it motivates all the folks who our message is resonating with, right? You want champions for the middle class, we need to protect women's rights in this Congress, we want to put New Mexicans back to work," she said. "Those messages are really resonating. New Mexico families want action today."

Both of these candidates have plenty of television advertisements zapping the airwaves, but they prefer campaigning the old fashioned way.

"You know, when you really want to hear what the problems are in American, in New Mexico, you have to be at the front door," Arnold-Jones said. "They will tell you exactly where the problem is and if you listen they'll tell you how to fix it."

"I spent yesterday in Torrance County going door to door," said Lujan Grisham. "I was at the community centers, I was at the barbershops and restaurants. I want people to really get a sense that I know what it takes to work for you, I'm here to listen."

The candidates will face off in a live debate on KOB Eyewitness News 4 Oct. 17 at 7:00 p.m. from Sandia High School.