It backed her opponent, Democrat Martin Heinrich, in 2010 House race
Wilson, trailing Democratic U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich in voter surveys,
said 10 percent of polls are reliable and the only one that matters is
the November election.
Heinrich tonight enters the first of four debates with Wilson, and he said the strategy that lifted him in the polls will not change one bit.
“I’m going to keep talking about the things that matter. People trust me to fight for Medicare and Social Security, to look out for working people,” he said in an interview.
Heinrich has been hitting Wilson for the last several days for signing the “cut, cap and balance pledge,” which she has described as a move toward fiscal responsibility for the federal government. Heinrich, though, said those taking the pledge would open the way for deep cuts — as much as 25 percent — in Medicare and Social Security.
He has made protection of those programs a cornerstone of his campaign.
Heinrich also went on the offensive today regarding matters of judgment and spending. His camp sent out a statement reminding voters that Wilson, as a congresswoman, voted exactly 10 years ago for the war in Iraq.
Heinrich’s organization even sent quotes from Wilson in 2002, when she said that Iraq “possesses and is further developing weapons of mass destruction” to use against America.
Wilson said she looked forward to her first debate with Heinrich in a campaign that began in the winter of 2011, after 30-year incumbent Sen. Jeff Bingaman abruptly announced that he would not run for re-election.
Wilson said she relished the opportunity to discuss issues face to face with Heinrich. She said he had not accepted other opportunities for joint appearances.
Heinrich, right, countered that he agreed with no hesitation to the four scheduled debates, all sandwiched around his other campaign appearances across the state. He said this was an ample number for voters to evaluate the candidates.
For Wilson, a preeminent issue heading into the debate is how best to foster economic growth.
She served in Congress for 10 years before losing a U.S. Senate primary in 2008. Sitting Republicans in the Senate have called Wilson the candidate who would best protect the state’s labs and Air Force bases during a time of likely cutbacks to tighten federal spending.
Wilson’s record in the House of Representatives led to a high-profile victory for her today — the NRA endorsement. The NRA backed Heinrich in 2010 when he won re-election to his seat in the House of Representatives.
NRA President David Keene traveled to Albuquerque to endorse Wilson at an Albuquerque shooting range, where a few dozen of his organization’s members on hand to support her.
Keene said choosing Wilson over Heinrich was an easy decision because of her consistent support for Second Amendment rights. The tougher call, Keene said, was backing Heinrich two years ago in his race against the GOP’s Jon Barela.
Keene called Wilson "a hundred percenter" in protecting Second Amendment freedoms.
Heinrich’s spokeswoman, Whitney Potter, said he was a supporter of the very issues that Keene believes in.
“As a gun owner and avid sportsman, Martin is proud of his strong record on defending our Second Amendment rights and has been a champion of protecting the places where shooters and sportsmen can actually use their firearms,” Potter said.
Her reference was to legislation called the Hunt Act, sponsored by Heinrich. It would expand access to public lands for hunters and fishermen.
Wilson received criticism in northern New Mexico after her campaign knocked Heinrich’s bill as “a political ploy by environmentalists cloaked as sportsmen to further their liberal agenda …”
The first debate
Democrat Martin Heinrich and Republican Heather Wilson will debate from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday on television station KRQE, News 13. Dick Knipfing will moderate.