Udall Needs to Step Up

Cross Posted at The Huffington Post

The Movement to Draft Tom Udall to run for the United States Senate from New Mexico is getting more and more attention everyday, including from the national press.

Shortly after Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) announced that he would not seek re-election, Congressman Udall too abruptly announced that he would not seek the seat in 2008. Most people attribute this move to his new seat on the House Appropriations committee, making him one of the most powerful Members in Congress.

The top-tier Democratic Candidate instead? A DINO! Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez might not even deserve to be called a Moderate. Matt Stoller over at Open Left has done two really great pieces on Marty and why he cannot be our Democratic Candidate from New Mexico. (Please, No Marty Chavez for Senate and New Mexico: Reactionary Democrats Can't Run Campaigns).

Chavez has not only endorsed Republicans in New Mexico before, but he seems to be running scared even of Tom Udall, who already took his name out of the race:

"Philosophically, he's so far to the left," Chávez said. "I'd rather not have him in the race, but that's a challenge I'd not shy away from."

This isn't what anyone wants to hear or see from a Democratic candidate for Senate.  For someone who has said,

"I think I get a bad rap from progressives,"

mudslinging against other popular Dems in the state who aren't even running against you is a sure sign of insecurity and audacious.

But Tom Udall is a real progressive and is well respected across the state. Not only that, but a recent SurveyUSA poll has him destroying Republican opponents in the general election (see more below the fold, including his numbers compared with Martin Chavez's).

New Mexicans and people across the country are responding: since the beginning of the effort, we have been asking for small donations of $5 to show the Congressman broad support. Since then, the netroots have given over $1,100!

Four days ago, the Draft also featured about 400 petition signatures. That day, we changed the strategy, including a petition question asking people to pledge money for the Congressman's Senate campaign account; since then another $1,200 has been pledged! (Sign the petition here)

Yesterday, the Draft was featured on page A2 of the Washington Post in an article by Chris Cillizza. It makes sense why the Draft is getting so much attention. It's not because of our fancy html (it's really not) but because Tom Udall is a first rate choice to run for the Senate. As Cillizza writes,

Udall has held northern New Mexico's 3rd District seat since 1998 and has stockpiled an impressive cash reserve, $802,000, that could be directly transferred to a Senate bid. He carries a potent last name in Democratic politics: His father, Stewart L. Udall, represented Arizona in Congress and was secretary of the interior; uncle Morris K. Udall was another Arizona congressman and a presidential candidate; and cousin Mark Udall is a congressman from Colorado who also happens to be running for Senate in 2008.

The most encouraging piece of the article, however, was this:

The fact that Udall is not currently reconsidering the race does not mean he won't do just that in the coming weeks. Democratic insiders acknowledge as much in not-for-attribution conversations with The Sunday Fix.

Days before, The Draft Udall was given coverage in The Hill, a special newspaper circulated in Washington, DC to every office in Congress. None of this would be possible, of course, without the strong backing of the netroots since the start. See the Draft Udall Around the Web page to track the various articles and blog posts written about the movement over the past month.

Many supporters of the Draft sent emails applauding the efforts to collect $5 donations but lamented that they'd rather not contribute to his account unless he's really committed; now we're changing the strategy.

We're going to send an even stronger message! Sign the Petition and tell Congressman Udall how much you'll pledge if he runs for the US Senate ($2,300 is the Federal campaign limit). If you don't, NMFBIHOP points out, we might face the problem of having Martin Chavez as our Senator. Or even worse, Wilson or Pearce.

As promised, here are Congressman Udall and Mayor Martin Chavez's poll numbers versus Republicans in the general election:


Against Republican candidate Steven Pearce, Congressman from New Mexico's 2nd District:
  •    Pearce loses to Congressman Tom Udall by 18 points
  •    defeats Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez by 21 points

Against Republican candidate Heather Wilson, Congresswoman from New Mexico's 1st Congressional District:

  •    Wilson loses to Udall by 18 points (same as Pearce),
  •    defeats Chavez by 4 points (Wilson runs 17 points weaker than Pearce)

There's more...

Reinstating the Draft! Tom Udall for Senate.

Bumped from the diaries -- Jonathan... Interesting to get this prospective from New Mexican Alex Flores. What he brings up is at least worth thinking about.

The word in New Mexico circles is that despite his announcement, Congressman Udall is still being urged to run for the Senate. If  "Udall for Senate" gives you the same kind butterflies in your stomach as it gives me, please help urge him to run! Send Tom Udall the message that we want him as our next Senator by sending a small, $5 contribution to his campaign.

It seems like whoever you talk to in Washington and most importantly, in New Mexico, people agree that Tom Udall is our hero candidate. Obviously he needs to step up and run.

A move to run after announcing otherwise is not without precedent and you don't hear anyone complaining about the last guy who did it. In August of 2005, now Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown announced that he would not run against former-Senator Mike DeWine in Ohio. For the next two months, the grassroots urged him to reconsider his decision for the people of Ohio and for people across the nation. He eventually reversed his decision and went on to win the seat for Democrats, helping to give us control of the US Senate.

We need to send Congressman Udall that same message (here's another chance to donate that $5!). The people of New Mexico want him to run and people in Washington and across the United States hope that he'll help us to increase our majority in the Senate by turning Senator Domenici's seat blue!

Tom Udall is the best choice for New Mexico AND for the country as we work towards building the Democratic majority in the Senate. I already wrote a bit about his background, including a bit about his family and his cash on hand that he could use for his Senate campaign committee. But there are other, better reasons for Tom Udall to be the next Senator from New Mexico.

For one, he's a good progressive. He's pro-choice, an environmentalist, a defender of civil liberties and civil rights, and one of the great supporters for veterans in the Democratic Party today. In fact, during his time as a minority member in the Congress, he took the junior seat on the Veteran's Committee in addition to his regular committee portfolio.

In the first polling out about the race in New Mexico, Tom Udall beats both Republicans by 18 points! Governor Richardson is the only other New Mexican who polls as high. Representative Udall could afford to leave his safe seat in the north with these kinds of numbers, run hard for the Senate, and win. He could leave his House seat knowing that another Democrat (and there are many) could easily keep it in Dem control.

In terms of numbers, this just makes sense. Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R) and Congressman Steve Pearce (R) are the two leading contenders to replace Senator Domenici on the Republican side (Pearce has formed an exploratory committee and will announce his intentions in the next two weeks, while Wilson declared less than 24 hours after Domenici's announcement and after weeks of traveling statewide). The numbers tell us that both beat current Dem candidates Chavez and Wiviott by small-to-wide margins. The following summary of the numbers comes from the Democracy For New Mexico blog.


Starting with Republican candidate Steven Pearce, Congressman from New Mexico's 2nd District:
*    Pearce loses to Congressman Tom Udall by 18 points
*    loses to Governor Bill Richardson by 24 points
*    defeats Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez by 21 points
*    defeats former Attorney General Patricia Madrid by 16 points
*    and defeats businessman Don Wiviott by 35 points.
Now to Republican candidate Heather Wilson, Congresswoman from New Mexico's 1st Congressional District:
*    Wilson loses to Udall by 18 points (same as Pearce),
*    loses to Richardson by 27 points (Wilson runs 3 points weaker than Pearce),
*    defeats Chavez by 4 points (Wilson runs 17 points weaker than Pearce),
*    effectively ties Patricia Madrid (Wilson runs 15 points weaker than Pearce)
*    and defeats Wiviott by 17 points (Wilson runs 18 points weaker than Pearce).

Someone needs to put these numbers on the Congressman's desk and tell him that it's time to run.

We know that Udall's numbers aren't fluff, either. He's run statewide before and won as Attorney General, twice! Since then, Udall has remained a proud defender of the Constitution and our rights. He was one of the original 66 Members of Congress to stand up with courage against the PATRIOT Act that was first railroaded through the House, forcing most Representatives to vote on a bill they had never read.

This is the kind of leadership and courage we should demand from our leaders and a primary reason why New Mexicans are asking Tom Udall to run for Senate.

Congressman Udall's voting record is solidly progressive. Help in the movement to Draft Tom Udall for Senate today by sending him $5 and the message that he's our best hope!

There's more...

NM-01: Domenici Retirement Fallout

With Pete Domenici's retirement, there has been a domino effect in New Mexico's political landscape.

A quick recap:  One of the members of the House (Heather Wilson) is running for Senate.  Another is considering a run for the Senate (Steve Pearce).  The news that the third (Tom Udall) wouldn't run was nearly front page news.  One Democratic gubernatorial candidate pulled out of the race for Governor to run for Senate (Martin Chavez), a second may soon follow (Diane Denish) and the current governor, also a Presidential candidate (Bill Richardson), may run as well.

Yesterday, I discussed who is in and out of the race for Domenici's seat in New Mexico.  Today, I will discuss the First Congressional District and how the race is looking at this early juncture.

Tomorrow, I will discuss how the race will affect the Second Congressional District (currently held by Steve Pearce).  Crossposted at New Mexico FBIHOP

There's more...

Tom Udall for New Mexico

Update: The Albuquerque Journal is now reporting that Udall will not run for the open senate seat. And so ends one of the shorter draft efforts in recent memory...and we had such a great slogan picked out in "More and Better Udalls."

Bumped from the diaries -- Jonathan... According to the Albuquerque Journal, Udall is apparently "seriously considering" a run for Senate. Let's help him make that decision a bit easier by sending $5 contributions his way today.

I'm a young person from New Mexico and I go to school in Washington DC. I'm surrounded by elected officials seemingly everywhere I go, even at school. With all of those interactions, I can say that Congressman Udall is one of the most impressive public servants I've ever met.

It's been years that I've been prodding him to run for Senate, even before he had his seat on Appropriations and before Senator Pete Domenici announced his retirement. With the Democrats taking the House back, Congressman Udall's new committee assignments and power to affect real positive change forced me to let go of the dream.

But now we're back at it - trying to Draft Tom Udall For Senate. In some ways, it seems like he's destined for this opportunity; he's from a long lineage of incredible public servants and has money in the bank at exactly the right time. Tom Udall is mostly progressive and is especially strong on the environment and the Iraq War; he most recently voted against supplemental lacking a timetable for withdrawal.

The most important part of this debate hasn't been talked about to much length: why we cannot let Heather Wilson win this seat.

Adam Conner and Jonathan Singer have made the case for Representative Udall's qualifications and ability to wage and win a statewide campaign. I'll say a bit more.

The importance of this seat cannot be overstated. More hangs in the balance than how many seats Democrats will hold after election day, November 2008. Instead, I pose to you that the next Senator from New Mexico will likely hold office for decades, much like Domenici who was first elected 35 years ago in 1972.

That's why it's so important that we keep this seat out of the hands of Heather Wilson. Democrats need a heavy weight like Tom Udall to run for this office, not a compromise candidate (See: "A Denish Deal?") or a political rookie.

Heather Wilson, the presumptive Republican nominee, beat seasoned politico Patricia Madrid for the 1st District seat last season by about 900 votes. In the past 5 elections, she's beaten 4 different opponents, making her a serious contender and a veteran campaigner.

But the reality about Wilson is striking. Besides her conservative voting record, she's been involved in a number of questionable events.

First, Wilson sat on the committee charged with overseeing congressional pages in the House of Representatives in 2001 and knew that Pages were being warned about Mark Foley's sexual advances. Still, she did nothing. Perhaps worse was her position on the issue when it became public: "Toleration of inappropriate behavior is almost as bad as the behavior itself." That was said by the same Heather Wilson who knew about, and tolerated Mark Foley's conduct.

More recently, Wilson was named as one of two legislators who pressured US Attorney David Iglesias to indict New Mexico Democrats before the 2006 election that she barely won. The other legislator? Retiring Senator Pete Dominici whose seat she now seeks. Due partly to her misconduct in this situation, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named her one of the 22 Most Corrupt Members of Congress.

Already, Republicans are running scared. Let's Draft Tom Udall to take this Senate seat back for Democrats!

Congressman Tom Udall is the logical choice to run for the open Senate Seat. Popular Governor Bill Richardson continues to do well in Iowa and New Hampshire and has affirmed that he will continue his Presidential campaign. Mayor Martin Chavez may also run, but was defeated at the polls this past Tuesday in Albuquerque City elections and is unpopular with Progressives.

Former Attorney General Patricia Madrid and Heather Wilson's immediate past challenger, lost the race in New Mexico's 1st District in a tidalwave year for Democrats. Her famous gaffe at a small debate in the closing days of the campaign was fully exploited by Republicans. What's more, in a year when Senator Bingaman (D) won reelection 71%-29%, Governor Bill Richardson won the state with 69%, the largest margin of victory for any Governor in state history, and Democrats won four out of fice of the other statewide offices, Patricia Madrid still managed to lose in the 1st District.

Join the movement to Draft Tom Udall for Senate! Contribute $5 and let's send the Congressman a message that he's our choice for Senate! See his biography below.

Participate in the movement and check out the following links:

Contribute at our Act Blue Page

See DraftUdall.Com

Join the Facebook Group

See Congressman Tom Udall's Biography after the jump....

There's more...

NM-Sen: Heather Wilson Jumps in the Race

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.

There's more...

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