By David Irvin
With first lady Laura Bush scheduled to visit Clovis Wednesday, the local Republicans are ecstatic at the prospect of hearing a top figure in the Bush-Cheney campaign speak at a political rally.
Since her visit was announced last week, the Clovis Republican campaign office has had a steady flow of supporters and phone calls asking for the tickets.
“This bodes good for eastern New Mexico all the way across the board,” said Rube Render, member of the Curry County Republicans central committee. “Clovis is the seventh largest city in the state. We’re a growing city. New Mexico is moving forward.”
President George W. Bush is focusing attention on New Mexico because of how slight the margin was when he lost the state in 2000, Render said.
“The president takes it very seriously, because of the margin last time that he lost New Mexico by,” Render said. “There’s a significant number of Democrats that are going to be voting for George Bush.”
In 2000, Bush lost the state to Al Gore by a mere 366 votes.
Steve Adkins, a Portales Democrat, was at the office Monday picking up the tickets he reserved Friday for Wednesday’s political rally. His tickets were among approximately 1,500 tickets that have been guaranteed for the event.
“I think it’s neat that she’s coming to the local area here,” Adkins said. “Very few of the other large candidates have ever dropped by the Clovis or Portales area, and I think it’s a neat opportunity we have to spend some time with her.”
Adkins, who will be taking his wife, brother- and sister-in-law to the rally, said he usually votes Democrat in local elections, but he agrees with the president’s policies and will be voting for Bush in November.
There are no more tickets for the event, and there is roughly 1,000 people on a waiting list in case those who have reserved tickets fail to claim them by noon today, Render said.
Ruben Pulido, spokesman for the New Mexico Kerry-Edwards campaign, said there are no solid dates for a high-ranking Democratic candidate to visit Clovis, but that local residents can expect some activity before the election.
“We’re continuing to reach out to different stops,” Pulido said. “I imagine we will be having some activity in Clovis. Every time we have candidates come to New Mexico they come to different places.”
Democrat Gov. Bill Richardson will be coming to town at 1 p.m. Thursday to hold a press conference at the Clovis-Carver Library, said Sandra Martin, chairman for the Curry County Democrats.
Richardson’s visit — a 1 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. press conference on public safety and a Democratic rally until 2:30 p.m. at True Victory Church at the corner of Seventh and Main streets — was planned well in advance of the announcement of the first lady’s stop in Clovis, she said.
Martin said she is working on voters like Adkins who are registered as Democrats but jump the fence in certain elections.