Many observers have noted that the South Valley has not been as politically active as usual this campaign season. Clearly, one of the reasons is that none of the local elected officials on the ballot this year has opposition. This includes Dolores Caviness Saldana, county commissioner; Mary Helen Garcia, state representative; Joseph Cervantes, state representative; Cynthia Nava, state senator; and Mary Kay Papen, state senator. Normally they would be busy putting up signs, and asking their supporters to vote. Another reason is that there has been no coordinated campaign effort between Democrats (the dominant party in the South Valley) and candidates at the top of the ticket. The Udall, Teague, and Obama campaigns at least up to now have been stand-alone operations. And finally, the Obama campaign, apparently at the national level, had an inflexible policy toward yard signs during most of the campaign, such that persons were expected to pay for yard signs. In the South Valley, where per capita incomes in some communities are one third the national, people gather their cues about whom to vote for by looking at the volume and location of signs. But they do not expect to pay for the signs.
Net result has been a relatively inactive campaign season, or at least one that has seemed so on the surface (there may have been more going on behind the scenes with phone calls, canvassing, etc.) This could be especially important in the Teague-Tinsley race, which is apparently very close. A high turnout in the South Valley would probably help Teague out the most, since most citizens are Democrats. But it could also make a difference in the total margin of victory of Obama in New Mexico. Apparently the McCain people thought it was important enough to warrant a visit by McCain himself to Mesilla.