Fired N.M. Prosecutor Says He Has No Plans to Run for Office
Speculation about his future aside, one of the eight former U.S. attorneys at the center of Washington's latest political drama said yesterday that he has no plans to reenter the political arena, either as a candidate for office or in other public service.
"It would take miracles for me to get involved," David C. Iglesias told Capitol Briefing.
Iglesias, the former U.S. attorney in Albuquerque who lost his job in December, has testified before the House and Senate Judiciary committees, given numerous interviews to national and local newspapers and appeared the past two Sundays on the network political chat shows.
In each appearance Iglesias reiterated charges that two influential New Mexico Republicans -- Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson -- pressured him in phone calls just before the November elections to bring indictments in a voter fraud probe of Albuquerque Democrats (Domenici and Wilson have denied the allegations). Iglesias's willingness to speak publicly about his firing has prompted speculation in the blogosphere, and even among some GOP strategists, that Iglesias may want to run for office.
Iglesias, of course, is now estranged from the state's GOP circles (one conservative group just launched an ad campaign on local talk radio attacking his record as a prosecutor). Thus, various political scenarios see the former U.S. attorney running against Wilson in 2008. Such a challenge could come in one of two scenarios -- in a primary for her House seat, or as the Democratic challenger in the general election. Some even foresee a head-to-head match -up for Domenici's Senate seat should he decide to retire.
While his firing has soured him on some of the prominent GOP figures in the Land of Enchantment, Iglesias said he "fundamentally" remains a Republican. Iglesias said expects to firm up his job plans after a two-week stint in the Navy Reserves concludes in mid-April.
Iglesias's fall from political grace among New Mexican Republicans happened quickly, after a slow-building career that seemed headed toward political prominence at home. In his unsuccessful bid for state attorney general in 1998, he campaigned with Wilson as she was running for her first full term in the House (she had been elected in June 1998 to fill out the remaining term of a lawmaker who had just died). In early 2001, Domenici forwarded his name to the White House for the U.S. attorney's post in Albuquerque, and Iglesias won high grades from Justice Department officials through early 2005.
Now, groups like New Mexicans for Honest Courts are accusing him of ignoring voter fraud allegedly committed during the 2004 presidential elections, in which George W. Bush narrowly carried New Mexico. "David Iglesias just looked the other way," the ad says. [Thanks for a reader for pointing out a Briefing mistake: Bush narrowly carried the Land of Enchantment in '04, while Al Gore narrowly carried it in '00. I've corrected the error in the text above.]
Iglesias said he thoroughly examined the allegations of voter fraud but could not find sufficient evidence to bring charges, opting instead to start a task force to examine the issue. Justice Department officials in Washington invited him to speak to other federal prosecutors about voter fraud in 2005 and again in 2006.
A father of four girls, two of whom are in high school and will soon be attending college, Iglesias said a private-sector legal job is the focus of his search.
"I have to pay for four weddings and four college tuitions in the next 10 years," he said, reiterating that it would take "a miracle" for him to seek public office any time soon.
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