NM-Sen: Heather Wilson Jumps in the Race
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 02:08:36 PM EDT
The latest news out of the New Mexico Senate race isn't entirely surprising: Heather Wilson, who represents the states' first congressional district in the House of Representatives and who is viewed by many to be Domenici's annointed heir, is jumping in the race.
Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M) will run for the New Mexico Senate seat that is expected to open up officially later Thursday when Sen. Pete Domenici (R) declares that he will not seek reelection in 2008, according to a source familiar with Wilson's decision.
Domenici has taken Wilson under his wing in recent years, and as he has gotten older, Wilson's name has topped the list of potential heirs.
[S]he also faces the same U.S. Attorney scandal baggage that would have affected Domenici's reelection campaign. Fired U.S. attorney David Iglesias said both lawmakers pressured him to be more aggressive with his corruption cases during the 2006 campaign.
To begin, it's important to underscore that this move by Wilson is not one of strenght but rather than one of necessity. Given that she currently represents a district that leans towards the Democrats and only barely won reelection in 2006 after her Democratic challenger had one of the most memorable debate flubs in recent years, her reelection was far from a foregone conclusion. Thus a run for the Senate might give her about the same chances as another run for the House.
The candidates who faced similar decisions in 2006 did not fare particularly well. In Colorado, for instance, GOP Congressman Bob Beauprez opted for a run for Governor rather than a run for reelection in his swing district, only to lose his gubernatorial bid by 15 points. Similarly in Wisconsin, Republican Rep. Mark Green ran for Governor instead of seeking another term from his swing district and lost statewide by 8 points.
That said, even as Wilson is far from a lock (even for nomination -- the more conservative Congressman Steve Pearce may also join the race for Senate) it is still important for the Democrats to run a strong candidate in the Senate race in New Mexico this cycle. To this end, number of people from New Mexico and around the rest of the country (myself included) have put forward the name of Congressman Tom Udall in an effort to draft him into the race. To accomplish this goal we have set up an ActBlue page soliciting $5 contributions to cajole him into the race as well as a Facebook group to get out the message.
I have talked a bit about Udall in recent days, as has New Mexican Adam Conner, but I'd like to just say a few words about why he would be a particularly good candidate to go up against Wilson in a general election. Wilson has been thoroughly implicated in the prosecutor purge scandal, having allegedly attempted to pressure United States Attorney David Iglesias to rush indictments against Democrats before the 2006 midterm elections in order to help her own reelection bid. Who better, then, than Tom Udall, a former Attorney General and Assistant United States Attorney to highlight this clear weakness for Wilson? Who better to speak to the importance of not inserting partisan politics into our justice system?
If you'd like to help the effort to cajole Udall into the race, make a small but meaningful $5 contribution today through ActBlue to his campaign committee, the funds from which could all be used for a Senate run.