Friday, October 05, 2007

New Mexico Senate Development

Senator Pete Domenici's (R-NM) announced retirement is another thorn in the side of Senate Republicans, but so far the candidate recruitment race is working their favor. Rep. Heather Wilson (R), a moderate veteran of several hard fought campaigns, has announced that she is in the race. I don't know enough about New Mexico GOP dynamics, but my gut tells me that even as a moderate, she'll be a strong front-runner for the nomination, if for no other reason than the NM Republicans don't have a huge bench that I know of. As to the general election, in addition to her battle-tested reputation and moderate persona, Wilson has a very marketable resume -- an Air Force veteran, Rhodes Scholar, and former member of the National Security Council. On the other hand, she has ties to the US Attorneys scandal and is looking at a potential investigation by the House Ethics committee. Also, with Wilson vacating her House seat to run, it immediately becomes a strong pick-up opportunity for the Democrats.

Meanwhile, the Democrat's top two choices both appear to be out. Governor Bill Richardson is still continuing his quixotic campaingn for the presidency, and, in a slightly more surprising announcement, Rep. Mark Tom Udall (D) has decided to forgo the race as well [Mark Udall is a Democratic Representative running for Senate in Colorado. Who'd have thought there'd be two "Udalls" in Congress?]. Still, it's a state that is trending blue, in a blue trend year, and Democrats have to remain optimistic -- assuming they can find a viable candidate. New Mexico is a pretty small state, so there just aren't that many other big name figures who could jump at this point. Attorney General Patricia Madrid may try to reprise her 2006 fight against Wilson statewide (she lost a House race to her by less than 900 votes). But while Madrid is a strong candidate on paper, she is not all that popular in the state (a swing voter friend of mine from Wilson's district said that, while she'd be open to voting out Wilson, Madrid was simply "the sleaziest politician I've ever seen").

So even though I can't think the GOP is thrilled to have yet another vulnerable open seat to defend, so far this one has at least some pieces falling into place for the reeling conservative party.


SJ Reidhead said...

I am quite impressed with your explanation and understanding of the situation here in NM. I think Wilson has a better chance statewide than in her district that is growing increasingly Dem due the the influx of the "California "Type" voter up in that region of the state. If she can hold her own in the western part of the state, Lincoln County, where I live, should be able to put her over the top in votes. What people don't realize about Lincoln County is the fact that, in 2000, the only reason Al Gore took the state (by some 400+ votes) was because on election eve we were hit by a massive blizzard, where the county was inundated by a minimum of 30 inches of snow. Something like 3000 GOP voters were snowed in and unable to vote.

I would rather see Wilson run than my Congressman, Steve Pearce. He is turning into a very good successor to Joe Skeen. It would be a shame to lose him. I think Wilson has a better chance statewide than Pearce.

The problem with the GOP is they will run just anyone, literally, and field some of the worst candidates I've ever seen. I don't know if I would count Bill Richardson out of the picture. He's running for the VP slot.

SJ Reidhead
The Pink Flamingo

Jack said...

Well the Udalls are cousins and part of one of the most dominant political dynasties in American history... so its not exactly surprising. Sen. Gordon Smith is part of the family too.

David Schraub said...

Really? That's pretty neat, actually.