NM-Sen: Pete Domenici to Retire

With "Pajamas" Pete Domenici's approval rating in his home state of New Mexico falling all the way down to 41 percent last month from 64 percent back in February, a lot of folks began to wonder, Just when is the senior Republican Senator, who is up for reelection this cycle, going to retire? Chris Cillizza has the answer to this burning question.

Veteran Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) is expected to announce tomorrow that he will retire from the Senate in 2008, according to several informed sources, a decision that further complicates an already difficult playing field for Republicans next November.

Domenici has struggled with health problems over the last several years and has been dogged by questions about the role he may have played in the firing of U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias in Albuquerque. As a result, he had been long been rumored as a potential retirement. He joins Republican Sens. John Warner (Va.), Chuck Hagel (Neb.) and Wayne Allard (Colo.) on the sidelines for 2008.

As I've said before, it's right time for Congressman Tom Udall, who already has one cousin in the Senate and will soon have another, to jump into this race. Udall already has a decent amount of money to form a Senate campaign -- more than $715,000 as of the end of July, and likely more now -- and would be a formidable candidate. Almost regardless of whether he is the Democratic nominee or another strong candidate emerges, this race now moves into the top-5 pickup opportunities for Senate Democrats this cycle.

More to come as this story develops...

Update [2007-10-3 17:24:40 by Jonathan Singer]: I have set up an ActBlue page soliciting support for an effort to Draft Congressman Tom Udall into this race. If you want to help ensure that New Mexico sends a new progressive voice to the United States Senate next fall, make a $5 contribution through this ActBlue page to Udall's House campaign committee, the funds from which can be directly transferred to a Senate campaign. The amount of money is not what we're looking for -- it's the number of contributions. So make your $5 contribution today to Draft Tom Udall for Senate.

Tags: New Mexico, NM-Sen, Pete Domenici, Prosecutor Purge, Retirements, Senate 2008, Tom Udall (all tags)

Comments

29 Comments

Re: NM-Sen: Pete Domenici to Retire

When do you bet Heather Wilson announces that she'll be running for the seat?  She'll be a tough opponent.  The good news is when she does announce, her seat will be ripe for the picking.

Richardson should give this race serious consideration now that it's open and he won't have to run against his friend.

by Vox Populi 2007-10-03 01:00PM | 0 recs
Re: NM-Sen: Pete Domenici to Retire

I don't think she's that tough.  The AG scandal hurt her considerably.  I think either Tom Udall or Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez could beat her.

The good news is that the bench doesn't go too far past Wilson.  If she were to opt out, the situation would be similar to CO, with a conservative Rep. Steve Pearce going against a more moderate Dem.

by Ramo 2007-10-03 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: NM-Sen: Pete Domenici to Retire

She's survived tough races time after time, she's battle tested.  She beat a Democratic tidal wave last year against a top-tier recruit who made one major gaffe.

If she's refined herself, I'd like to see Patricia Madrid try for the seat.  We need more women in the Senate.

At the same time, I'm looking forward to having Martin Heinrich sitting in Wilson's seat.  http://www.martinheinrich.com/  One of the sexiest politicians in America, according to politics1.com.

by Vox Populi 2007-10-03 01:14PM | 0 recs
Richardson

I don't really expect Richardson to switch races --- he's actually doing reasonably well in Iowa and NH polls and has invested a lot (more TV ads than any other candidate there) --- even if I don't think he has any chance of winning.

But I wonder...  it's possible under campaign finance law to transfer funds from your Senate campaign into your presidential campaign, but can you do the reverse?

by psericks 2007-10-03 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson

He can transfer funds from a presidential account to a senatorial account, but he won't be able to solicit new donations from the same people for the different race.

In other words, he won't be able to hit up those who have maxed out to his presidential run.  That will make things difficult for him because he's raised a lot of money from New Mexico already.

by Vox Populi 2007-10-03 01:08PM | 0 recs
That's an interesting point.

And he's probably most of that money already...

Though he did have $7.5 million on hand at the end of the second quarter.  If he still has around that much, it still should be plenty to run a campaign in a state the size of New Mexico.

by psericks 2007-10-03 01:24PM | 0 recs
Re: That's an interesting point.

Especially for someone with his popularity.  Also, he would be able to raise for the general (which I doubt he's done for his presidential campaign) which means he'd be able to get millions more if necessary.

I don't see it happening though.  

by Vox Populi 2007-10-03 01:31PM | 0 recs
Re: That's an interesting point.
I dont see Richardson going for the Senate either. Its not like he's polling at 1% here, he is drawing reasonable support.
Also, even if he doesnt win the nomination, he could still be someone's VP choice or further down the line, he could be tapped as Secretary of State.
by AC4508 2007-10-03 01:33PM | 0 recs
Re: NM-Sen: Pete Domenici to Retire

Due to the US Attorney scandel Wilson's holding onto her house seat is less of a sure thing so I think she'll decide to try and move up as she'd been hoping to do anyway and figure it's better to fail trying to move up than be booted out of her own seat finally.

by Quinton 2007-10-03 01:18PM | 0 recs
Paging Bill Richardson!

by faithfull 2007-10-03 01:01PM | 0 recs
Richardson?

What's the drop-dead date for Richardson to get into this race? If it is after the bulk of the presidential primaries, and assuming he doesn't do well there, can he still get in here?

by some other george 2007-10-03 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson?

He could get in in March and be just fine!  The primary ain't till June 2008.

by mwfolsom 2007-10-03 01:18PM | 0 recs
Re: NM-Sen: Pete Domenici to Retire

Richardson won't run. He's gonna be either Pres, Veep or State, and our bench there is pretty decent.

by Ramo 2007-10-03 01:06PM | 0 recs
Re: NM-Sen: Pete Domenici to Retire

What!!

Who???

Nobody that has won an office of any kind has announce that they will run.  That may change if Saint Pete resigns which makes me wonder about this story.  The Republicans know this so if its true he has some really nasty disease that he can't hide anymore.

We know he's not well but nobody knows what's wrong with him.

by mwfolsom 2007-10-03 01:21PM | 0 recs
I would rather have Udall in the Senate

than Richardson. I think Udall would be more progressive on balance.

by desmoinesdem 2007-10-03 01:09PM | 0 recs
Re: I would rather have Udall in the Senate

I think the situation is similar to NH.  Marchand would've been a better Senator, but Shaheen was a lock.  Not that Richardson is likely to run...

by Ramo 2007-10-03 01:18PM | 0 recs
Re: NM-Sen: Pete Domenici to Retire

WOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

by lorax 2007-10-03 01:09PM | 0 recs
Notes from New Mexico!!!!!!!

Yipie!!!!!!!!

So much good news in Albuquerque for Progressives - yesterday we beat our DINO Mayor and now Saint Pete may go!  I'm absolutely besides myself.

Look for a Primary race between Heather Wilson and Steve Pierce - potentially 2 open House seats!

Look for Right wing wacko Steve Pearce to win that primary - the Republicans don't like Heather and to then loose the race in Nov.  

Look for Big Bill (Bill Richardson for the rest of the world) to dump his loosing race for President and run to replace Saint Pete.

We in New Mexico could go from 3 Repubs and 2 Dems in Washington to 5 Dems!

Now that's progress!

by mwfolsom 2007-10-03 01:17PM | 0 recs
Re: NM-Sen: Pete Domenici to Retire
I am hopeing that Heather Wilson runs for the OPEN US Senate Seat. Not only Wilson loses badley to Mayor Martin Chavez or US Rep Tom Udall. Democrats will pick up NM-1. The New Mexico US Senate Seat- Top Democratic Pickup CO,NH,NM,and VA.
by nkpolitics 2007-10-03 01:19PM | 0 recs
so no women?

We seem to have Shaheen as a likely addition in NH, but is that it?  It's a bit disappointing.  Maybe we can emphasize House races, to build the bench for future senate races.

by John DE 2007-10-03 01:27PM | 0 recs
See channel 13 in Abq this afternoon

From a friend it appears that Channel 13 is all over this - looks like they will have stuff this afternoon.

by mwfolsom 2007-10-03 01:28PM | 0 recs
Re: NM-Sen: Pete Domenici to Retire

Possible wonder scenario:
-All 3 House members run for Senate
-Pearce beats Wilson in Primary
-Udall beats Pearce in general
-Dems Hold District 3
-Take District 1 easily
-District 2 becomes 50/50 toss-up race

Oh this would be grand . . .

by Trowaman 2007-10-03 01:32PM | 0 recs
Re: NM-Sen: Pete Domenici to Retire

Could we have another ideological primary brewing in a GOP Senate contest- Pearce vs. Wilson would be much like Gilmore vs. Davis in VA.

by AC4508 2007-10-03 01:34PM | 0 recs
Looking Good in '08

Good god, by my count this is what we have right now...
Looking Good: Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, New Mexico
Very Competitive: Nebraska, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon
On the radar: Idaho, Alaska, Texas, North Carolina

And after all that, only LA looks like trouble as far as holds go, AND we have a huge money advantage to boot.
If we dont win at least 4 seats I'll be disappointed.

by AC4508 2007-10-03 01:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Looking Good in '08

If the Dems dont get a gain of five seats next year, they may as well pack up and go home!!

by Boilermaker 2007-10-03 02:03PM | 0 recs
Re: NM-Sen: Pete Domenici to Retire

Looks like its true -

All that's left to know is why -

Amazing - History happens.

My picks to run (in order, #1 best) -

#1  Gov. Bill Richardson
#2  Lt Gov. Dianne Denish
#3
#4
#5  Mayor Marty Chavez
#6
#7
#8
#9
#10 Tom Udall

by mwfolsom 2007-10-03 03:38PM | 0 recs
Re: NM-Sen: Pete Domenici to Retire

By-the-by, one big requirement - whoever it is MUST bring home the bacon.  That's the problem with Udall & Bingaman - neither have a reputation for protecting the Labs and that's just a must!  Without them NM will make Mississippi look rich!

by mwfolsom 2007-10-03 03:45PM | 0 recs
Re: NM-Sen: Pete Domenici to Retire

I don't think it's a matter of protecting the labs as they are anymore. It's a matter of being wise enough to know that they have to change their missions to clean energy if they are to survive, especially with a Dem prez and/or Congress.

by barbwire 2007-10-03 05:04PM | 0 recs
Re: NM-Sen: Pete Domenici to Retire

NM is number 1 Democratic Pickup.
It is a purpleish blue State- Gore narrowly won NM in 2000 and Kerry narrow lost it in 2004. In 2008. It will be a Blue State in 2008 Presidential Election. The 2008 Democratic Presidential Nomine will carry NM.

Secondly. despite being an open seat- Republican don't have a strong candidate. Pearce is too conservative. and Wilson is involved in the scandal and she never got more than 55% of the popular in any of her US House Races.

Third off all. Democrats have plenty of Candidates that have won statewide.
Udall and Madrid. .

Other Senate Seat- Democrats will pick up. CO and VA- both open Seats lean Republican at the Presidential level. In VA- the race is between a strong Democrat who has crossover appeal against a Republican who is not well known state wide or is too Conservative. In CO- the race is between a Liberal Democrat and a wingnut Conservative.

by nkpolitics 2007-10-04 08:50AM | 0 recs

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