Posted at: 10/11/2012 6:30 PM
Updated at: 10/12/2012 8:34 AM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Photo: Pete Domenici
One of the most popular, powerful, and influential figures in New Mexico political history is stepping into the battle for U.S. Senate.
After 36 years in the Senate you could argue that Pete Domenici knows the territory pretty well.
Thursday morning he hit the airwaves in a new political advertisement for his fellow Republican and longtime protege Heather Wilson in her Senate race against Democrat Martin Heinrich.
The ad focuses on endangered jobs at Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories.
"Today those jobs are at risk," Domenici says in the ad, seated in a Senatorial-looking office with an American flag. "Martin Heinrich voted for massive new defense cuts that will cost 20 thousand New Mexico jobs."
Those jobs could be lost in a deficit reduction deal that Congress cooked up last year, that would go into effect only if Congress can't agree on a better way to cut the deficit.
"I know Heather Wilson," Domenici says. "We can trust her to protect these jobs and protect this nation."
Meanwhile Heinrich rips Wilson with a new ad featuring a retired Los Alamos Lab employee named Ralph Garcia, who is suffering from Multiple Sclerosis and worried about the future.
"Only Social Security and Medicare have kept me living with dignity," Garcia says in the ad. " That's why it really bothers me that heather Wilson is supporting a plan that would lead to huge cuts in Social Security."
He's talking about Wilson's support for the 'Cut Cap and Balance Bill' that would prohibit any raises in the federal debt limit, unless they're accompanied by cuts in current spending, caps on future spending, and a balanced budget.
Some analysts say that while Social Security and Medicare would not be threatened immediately, they would face big cutbacks in the future.
So they're two powerful new ads, both of them focusing on what-ifs and maybes - not exatclty real deals. But when you're talking about jobs, Social Security, and Medicare people worry. And worried people vote.