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NM-Senate: Shifting Sands

New Mexico Rep. Tom Udall (D) has taken the first steps toward running for what will be the open seat of Sen. Pete Domenici in 2008. Domenici plans to retire at the end of his current term and Udall has said publicly that he will reconsider an earlier decision to stay out of the contest.

While Udall is still being somewhat coy about his intentions, there is little doubt in the Washington political world that he will be a candidate and that he'll enjoy establishment support both inside and outside the Beltway.

Tom Udall
Rep. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), right, will likely run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Pete Domenici. Udall is pictured with Joseph Scarpino, senior executive of Los Alamos National Security LLC.

Need more evidence? On the same day that Udall acknowledged that he might indeed jump into the Senate race, Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, who had been heavily courted by party insiders, announced she would not run for Senate but stay focused on the 2010 governor's race.

Coincidences happen in politics -- but this is a biggie. What it looks like to us the way is being cleared for Udall. That won't likely sit well with Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez who declared for the race shortly after Domenici retired. Chavez's campaign is already on the record dismissing the role national Democrats are trying to play in picking a candidate ("While Martin Chavez has great respect for Senator Schumer [chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee], New Mexicans, not New Yorkers, get to decide who will be the next U.S. senator from New Mexico," Chavez's campaign manager told the Albuquerque Tribune) -- not necessarily the smartest strategic move.

Assuming Udall enters the race (and we are assuming he does), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and other national Democratic organizations will make it very tough for Chavez to raise money inside the Beltway. Can Chavez raise enough in the state to be competitive with Udall? It'll be tough.

While Chavez would likely have entered the general election in a dead heat against either Rep. Steve Pearce (R) or Rep. Heather Wilson (R), Udall will likely be a slight favorite for several reasons. First, his is a well-known and well-respected political name in the west.

[Here is a quick primer on the Udall family. Tom Udall's grandfather was Levi Stewart Udall, a justice on the Arizona Supreme Court. Tom's father, Stewart, was a Congressman from Arizona and Secretary of the Interior in the 1960s. Tom's uncle Morris "Mo" Udall was a legendary Arizona politician, also member of Congress, and a presidential candidate. Tom's cousin Mark (Mo Udall's son) is currently a Congressman from Colorado who is also running for an open Senate seat in 2008. Tom's cousin Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) currently serves in the U.S. Senate. Tom's cousin Milan Dale Smith, Jr. (Gordon's brother) is a federal appeals court judge on the Ninth Circuit court of appeals in San Francisco. We could go on.]
Steward K. Udall
Stewart K. Udall, Tom Udall's father, served as a member of Congress and Secretary of the Interior for most of the 1960s.

Second, Udall starts with more than $800,000 in his House account -- all of which can be transferred to a Senate race should he decide to run.

Speaking of Republicans, Pearce is set to formally announce his candidacy this weekend with a tour around the state. He is also running a statewide radio ad to coincide with the announcement.

Entitled "Consistent Conservative", the ad focuses on the Congressman's belief in core Republican principles -- including lower taxes and less government spending -- and makes special mention of his hardline stance on illegal immigration. "I've worked to secure our borders, defend America from terrorists, and have been proud to stand up for our traditional New Mexico values," Pearce says in the ad.

The ad is the first sign that Pearce, as expected, is to cast himself as the conservative to Wilson's moderate in the coming primary fight. The Wilson-Pearce primary could be the marquee intraparty race on the Senate docket in 2008 as both are seasoned politicians with electoral bases and solid cases to make to Republican voters.

Pearce is more conservative than Wilson but Wilson has shown an ability to run and win in a very tough House district -- experience that could well give her a leg up in keeping Domenici's seat in the Republican column next November.

With an open Senate seat for the first time in 25 years and THREE open House seats, New Mexico is shaping up as the center of the political universe in 2008. Who says big states have all the fun?

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 2, 2007; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

The GOP's only chance in N.M. is if Wilson gets the nod. Pearce has the personality of a wet rag and would have little appeal to independents and swing voters.

Posted by: loux23 | November 7, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

This race seems to be open for the taking. Assuming there is a Udall vs. Chavez D primary and Wilson/Pearce Republican primary, it's tough to say who will emerge victorious. I think Udall will on the democratic side, but the Republican side seems more uncertain. Domenici isn't backing anyone, and Pearce will be very well funded for this race. Can Wilson raise the money to compete? Cheney held a fundraiser for her in Washington DC, but Pearce has personal money he could donate to his campaign to be equal to the task. Apparently, Pearce and Udall's house seats would be safe Rep. & Dem. seats respectively. Wilson's seat should be much more competitive. Although R's have decided on Sheriff White to be their nominee, I'm guessing he will be able to win to keep that seat. Any guesses as to who may win Pearce's and Udall's seat?

How about this Spirro running against Pearce & Wilson for the Republican nomination. What are his chances?

Posted by: bryant_flier2006 | November 5, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

While I agree with suggestions that Gov. Richardson "on paper" would be perhaps the strongest candidate, I also think he's awful as a candidate in a mass setting.

I think he's comfortable campaigning to small groups, but he really flopped on "Meet the Press" and he doesn't distinguish himself in the candidates' debates.

Great resume, but he makes John Kerry look like a strong campaigner. I've moved my support to Joe Biden, who is loaded with good ideas--especially on foreign policy. And after Bush/Cheney/Powell/Rice, that's the area that reallly needs work. Which is why Karen Hughes will probably get the Medal of Freedom!

Posted by: orloski | November 5, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm ceertainly not saying it will be a cakewalk, VA -- I was listening to NPR yesterday, when someone was interviewing a bunch of folks from a mega-church--all of whom wanted different nominees -- McCain, Huckabee, or Romney, mostly. But when asked if they would vote for Rudy if he was the nominee, they all said yes. One woman said, if he was the nominee, she would figure it was God's will. At that point, I turned the radio off and once again, started thinking about moving to Canada. Or anyplace sane.

Posted by: drindl | November 5, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

If you favor a Democrat in the Senate to replace Sen. Domenici of New Mexico, you are on your knees right now praying that Tom Udall decides to run. Reason: those of us in New Mexico know a couple of hard truths (actually three or four or five of them) about Marty Chavez: 1. he's a conservative Democrat supported by Abq developers, who are not exactly a flaming liberal lot and who do expect generous favors in return for campaign funds. 2. He is not well-liked outside of Albuquerque (a recent statewide poll showed him with a 21% approval rating!) , which means that he could easily lose to either Wilson or Pearce, while Udall plays well over most of the state. 3. Marty is generally perceived as a arrogant man who has no patience with diplomacy, who regularly makes enemies, and who overtly favors cronies. In the past, his advisors have failed to create a kinder, gentler Marty even in his home city. He's a huge target for Republican mudslinging. 4. He has alienated the majority of his current city council, who are more liberal than he is, while failing to get councilmembers elected who are more to his liking although he overtly campaigned against his "enemies list" in the city council elections last month. His latest action, unilaterally obliterating a city department on no notice, outraged one of his few remaining supporters on the council. The man ain't no team player. 5. Because he has been such a staunch friend of development, expansion, and explosive growth, he IS well bankrolled within the state and will probably mount a decently financed campaign.

Pray, people, pray!

Posted by: eskarp | November 4, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

VApolitics -- I didn't see anyone argue that 2008 was going to be a cakewalk. To the extent that that is your argument, I certainly agree with it. Earlier, however, you rather clearly seemed to be arguing that Dems had no chance unless Richardson was the nominee -- which at the least strikes me as hyperbole. Honestly, what state that Kerry won do you see ANY of the Dem nominees losing? Cause I just don't see it -- meaning the election is almost assured of being close.

My take on '08 is that it will almost certainly be a very close election, again, unless one or both of two things happen: (1) Obama wins the nomination; (2) Romney wins the GOP race. If the latter occurs, I think even Hillary can win close to 55% of the vote. As an unabashed Obama supporter, I'm also of the opinion that he's a map changer. If Hillary is the nominee against anyone other than Romney, it's another 51/49 election one way or ther other.

Posted by: _Colin | November 4, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't going to post again, but I saw one of the lead articles in the Washington Post today - "Americans Pessimistic, Want Change, Poll Finds" The poll reported in that article finds that only 33% of Americans approve of Bush and only 28% approve of Congress. At this moment only one Democratic candidate can say I wasn't a part of either side of this mess - Governor Richardson (Senator Edwards comes close, but the fact he was in the Senate for the Iraq War resolution hurts him).

The other problem with some the arguments above is that they assume voters are voting by party affiliation. "Because a state was almost Democratic in 2004 it will for sure go Democratic in 2008" goes the typical argument posted above. Voters are voting for a combination of the person running and what they believe in. The majority of voters - especially in the swing states are not like us on this board, committed to a given party each election. As was noted by another poster, we had two bad candidates in John Kerry and George Bush in 2004. Those voters will make decisions based on other things - do they want change in Washington, they feel comfortable with a candidate's truthfulness, social issues and others. Close margins of victory in any state may just as well reflect the voter dissatisfaction with the candidates as it may reflect a commitment to a given party. The 2004 election cannot accurately tell us the country is leaning toward one party or not.

I know everyone is trying to paint the best picture, of course no one wants to go into an election thinking their chances of winning are bad. However, I am not saying that our chance are bad. I am saying take off the rose colored glasses so you can see the potholes in the road. I know however from my professional career that in whatever endeavor you undertake you cannot ignore the bad things. If you do then failure is assured.

Lastly, sure a Senator can be elected, but realized that won't be easy given the current unpopularity of Congress and the historical record. Even where the Senators Clinton or Obama lead Republican candidates in national election match up polls, the lead is usually about 5% (within the margin of error) and we must remember the candidates have really not been introduced to the public at large yet. The lack of introduction is especially true of the Republican candidates. Historically, only two Senators have been elected President in the last 100 years, Warren Harding and John Kennedy. Its not impossible to elect a Senator to the Presidency, but is difficult. When campaigns are framed in terms of change and Washington insiders verses those not captured by Washington interests it becomes difficult, although not impossible for a Senator to win.

Lastly, I will vote for whomever the eventual Democratic nominee is, but I will continue to argue that this election is not assured. Furthermore, I will continue to argue that Governor Richardson is the best positioned for a national election. Political Scientist Larry Sabato said "He is unbeatable. It is amazing the Democrats haven't recognized that," in comments that appeared in the Voice of America article titled "Western Governor Considered 'Dark Horse' for US Presidential Nomination." Sabato goes on to say that he Governor is a proven winner in a western state and he appeals to a growing part of the electorate, the Hispanic population. Governor Richardson would immediately force the Republicans to spend more money and resources in states like Florida and the entire Southwest.

Nonetheless, my message is simple Democrats - I am not trying to get you down, but 2008 is not going to be a cakewalk.

Posted by: VApolitics | November 4, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

So yesterday, Dictator Mushareff declares martial law in Pakistan. Judges are arrested, democracy activists rounded up, the Consitution suspended. This is what it looks like, people -- when a democracy suddenly becomes a dictatorship... could happen anywhere, including here. Independent and international television networks were blacked out, telephone lines were disconnected, and Internet access blocked. Pakistan has gone black. And it all happening on the US taxpayer's dime. We have spent more than $10 million on their military over the last 5 years. We helped created and paid for another Mussolini.

So much for bringing DEMOCRACY anywhere. And here's the kicker -- we're going to keep sending them money. Hope you enjoy watching democracy advocates being imprisoned and murdered in your name, folks. We have become the enablers of the world's most dictatorial states. What happened to my country? When did America die?

"[T]he Pakistani leader's action will not mean an automatic suspension of U.S. military aid, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Saturday. 'At this point,' Morrell said, 'the declaration does not impact our military support for Pakistan.' "

Posted by: drindl | November 4, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

August 27, 2001: Saudis Threaten to End Their Alliance with US

Crown Prince Abdullah, the effective leader of Saudi Arabia, is upset with US policy over Israel and Palestine and threatens to break the Saudi alliance with the US. He has Prince Bandar, Saudi ambassador to the US, personally deliver a message to President Bush on August 27. Bandar says, "This is the most difficult message I have had to convey to you that I have ever conveyed between the two governments since I started working here in Washington in 1982." He brings up a number of issues, including the complaint that since Bush became president US policy has tilted towards Israel so much that the US has allowed Israeli Prime Minister Sharon to "determine everything in the Middle East." The message concludes, "Therefore the Crown Prince will not communicate in any form, type or shape with you, and Saudi Arabia will take all its political, economic and security decisions based on how it sees its own interest in the region without taking into account American interests anymore because it is obvious that the United States has taken a strategic decision adopting Sharon's policy." Bush seems shocked and replies, "I want to assure you that the United States did not make any strategic decision." Secretary of State Powell later confronts Bandar and says, "What the f**k are you doing? You're putting the fear of God in everybody here. You scared the sh*t out of everybody." Bandar reportedly replies, "I don't give a damn what you feel." Two days later, Bush replies with a message designed to appease the Saudi concerns (see August 29-September 6, 2001). [Woodward, 2006, pp. 77-79]

Apparently as a favor to the Saudis, CIA analysts are discouraged from writing reports raising questions about the Saudi relationship to Islamic extremists. [Risen, 2006, pp. 185]

And then we find out this yesterday...

CNN) -- Saudi Arabia could have helped the United States prevent al Qaeda's 2001 attacks on New York and Washington if American officials had consulted Saudi authorities in a "credible" way, the kingdom's former ambassador said in a documentary aired Thursday.

Prince Bandar said that Saudi intelligence was "actively following" most of the 9/11 plotters "with precision."

The comments by Prince Bandar bin Sultan are similar to the remarks this week by Saudi King Abdullah that suggested Britain could have prevented the July 2005 train bombings in London if it had heeded warnings from Riyadh.

Speaking to the Arabic satellite network Al-Arabiya on Thursday, Bandar -- now Abdullah's national security adviser -- said Saudi intelligence was "actively following" most of the September 11, 2001, plotters "with precision."

"If U.S. security authorities had engaged their Saudi counterparts in a serious and credible manner, in my opinion, we would have avoided what happened," he said. '

So we know that on Agust 27, 2991, Prince Bandar [aka 'Bandar Bush' becuase of his long and close personal relationship with the family] delivers a message to Bush about the Saudi's unhappiness with the US about their Mideast policy. But he doesn't happen to mention the 9/11 plot, which he knows about. And so we invade Iraq, which had nothig to do withit, and the Saudis, somehow, ramain bush's buddies.

I find this beyond outrageous -- our ;foriegn policy;created my madmen, is a self-defeating joke -- a oneway ticket to oblivion.

Posted by: drindl | November 4, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

VA politics, the nation is running far more in Democrats' favor now than it was in 2004. Were you pessimistic last year? I heard so many people saying how we wouldn't win the House, or if that then not the Senate, and yet we won both.

NV is one of the 4 early states in the nominating process this cycle. As is SC. The voters determining our nominee won't be as liberal this time as they were 1972-2004. And look at the mentions of Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland as a running mate. And Jim Webb. Folks who are pro-gun and from rather conservative places. Barack Obama also talks very openly about religion.

We have to stop living in fear. The 2004 presidential election was the GOP's modern high-water mark. That's over and gone.

Posted by: jon.morgan.1999 | November 4, 2007 1:56 AM | Report abuse

VA -- sure, Kaine and Warner both did a good job of talking about their faith and social justice. And I want national democrats to do the same, so we don't disagree on that note. My point, which you didn't address, is that a candidate as poor as John Kerry (who assuredly did NOT connect with voters like those in SouthWest Virginia) came within 100,000 votes in Ohio of winning the presidency. So I don't think things are quite so dire for the Democrats if Richardson isn't the nominee. Both Edwards and Obama, FYI, do a good job of authentically talking about how faith informs their progressive politics.

Posted by: e.a.schroeder | November 3, 2007 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Jon forgot to mention, or if he did I missed it, the fact that Gore took New Mexico in 2000. He also took Iowa.

I'd also like to point out that Arkansas is considerably less conservative than Tennessee is.

Posted by: skywrnchsr509 | November 3, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Just a note to e.a.schroeder about my elected Democratic representatives in Virginia. It was more than a progressive appeal that allowed Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to become Governor in Virginia and Jim Webb to be elected to the Senate. As candidates, the three of them were never afraid to talk about faith and social issues and they did it over and over again in the most conservative part of the state - Southwest Virginia.

Posted by: VApolitics | November 3, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

My apologies, I thought I had cleaned that up: But I think it's an impportant piece of info about Mitt, one which CC wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole...

'On Sept. 19, 2001, J. Cofer Black, the director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center, summoned two agents to his office.

"I want bin Laden's head shipped back in a box filled with dry ice," Black told them, one of the agents later reported. "I want to be able to show bin Laden's head to the president."

Black - who is now Mitt Romney's chief adviser on counterterrorism and national security - is a brash and tough-talking veteran spy. He is also controversial. Black is widely credited with trying to warn then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice about Al Qaeda in the summer of 2001, but an internal CIA report last summer criticized his counterterrorist center, saying it lacked an effective strategy before Sept. 11.

Now Black is facing more scrutiny for his current role as a top executive of Blackwater Worldwide, the international security firm whose alleged killing of 17 Iraqis prompted a congressional investigation and a demand from the Iraqi government that the firm withdraw from the country.

Posted by: drindl | November 3, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

On Sept. 19, 2001, J. Cofer Black, the director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center, summoned two agents to his office.
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"I want bin Laden's head shipped back in a box filled with dry ice," Black told them, one of the agents later reported. "I want to be able to show bin Laden's head to the president."
Black - who is now Mitt Romney's chief adviser on counterterrorism and national security - is a brash and tough-talking veteran spy. He is also controversial. Black is widely credited with trying to warn then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice about Al Qaeda in the summer of 2001, but an internal CIA report last summer criticized his counterterrorist center, saying it lacked an effective strategy before Sept. 11.
Now Black is facing more scrutiny for his current role as a top executive of Blackwater Worldwide, the international security firm whose alleged killing of 17 Iraqis prompted a congressional investigation and a demand from the Iraqi government that the firm withdraw from the country.

Posted by: drindl | November 3, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

You might also be interested in this piece about Rudy's constant habit of lying about almost everything--we know him well here. He's truly pathological--a dangerous man. This is concerning his oft-repeated claim that Democrats are proposing 'socialized medicine' --when in fact not a single Dem has proposed anything remotedly 'socialized' -- and the MSMs record of letting him slide and getting by with it --when you know if it was John Edwards every paper would have gone after him, like they did with The Haircut--just like The Scream--they know well how to kill. With Gore, it was The Internet, wiht Kerry, The Flipflop. I haven't ever seen them go after an R like that, with a single exception -- The Macacca.

'So Mr. Giuliani's supposed killer statistic about the defects of "socialized medicine" is entirely false. In fact, there's very little evidence that Americans get better health care than the British, which is amazing given the fact that Britain spends only 41 percent as much on health care per person as we do.

Anyway, comparisons with Britain have absolutely nothing to do with what the Democrats are proposing. In Britain, doctors are government employees; despite what Mr. Giuliani is suggesting, none of the Democratic candidates have proposed to make American doctors work for the government.

As a fact-check in The Washington Post put it: "The Clinton health care plan" -- which is very similar to the Edwards and Obama plans -- "has more in common with the Massachusetts plan signed into law by Gov. Mitt Romney than the British National Health system." Of course, this hasn't stopped Mr. Romney from making similar smears.

At one level, what Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Romney are doing here is engaging in time-honored scare tactics. For generations, conservatives have denounced every attempt to ensure that Americans receive needed health care, from Medicare to S-chip, as "socialized medicine."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/02/opinion/02krugman.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&ref=opinion&adxnnlx=1194095369-qv1qqZokHaa/n8n84D7s7A

Posted by: drindl | November 3, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Mark. most of the 'eastern liberals' I know would love to see Schwietzer or Tester as VP--they're honest and hardworking and straightforward. Jim Webb too.

Thought you might like to know more about Rudy... and keep in mind, the Times is so soft on him that one of their own editorial columnists called them on it. They attribute his turning a blind eye to Kerik's crimes to Rudy's 'loyalty' -- it wasn't loyalty, he's just didn't care.

'Mr. Kerik followed Mr. Giuliani downstairs to a dimly lighted room. There waited Mr. Giuliani's boyhood chum Peter J. Powers, who was first deputy mayor, and other aides. One by one, they pulled Mr. Kerik close and kissed his cheek.

"I wonder if he noticed how much becoming part of his team resembled becoming part of a mafia family," Mr. Kerik wrote. "I was being made."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/03/us/politics/03kerik.html?_r=2&hp=&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=all&adxnnlx=1194113415-frf2OhvSf3a9ioHCxBokRw

Posted by: drindl | November 3, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

VA -- If the Dem nominee wins Ohio or Florida, plus the Kerry states, they're the next president. So, without doing the math, it looks to me like even as horrible a candidate as Kerry managed to win more than the NE and California. :) Candidly, geographic arguments can be made just as easily against the GOP -- which at this point is largely a regional southern party. Also, for what it's worth GE polls show Arkansas, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina in play for either Clinton, Obama, or Edwards -- in addition to Ohio and Florida. That's not a bad list of swing states to work off of for Democrats.

Mark -- good point on state vs national Democrats, but I would add that both Schweitzer and Tester in Montana - along with Webb in Virginia - are actually pretty darn progressive on most issues other than guns. The difference relative to the national party, as I see it, is that each comes accross as far more authentic than a Hillary Clinton. Sometimes that matters an awful lot more than policy views. Just my take though.

Posted by: e.a.schroeder | November 3, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

VA, you are wise to caution these young whippersnappers against optimism.

Whether you are looking at Montana's Senators and Governor, or the Salazars in CO, or Chet Edwards from TX, or Boren in Okla, or Napolitano in AZ, you are looking at real Ds, but also pols who represent their constituencies well.
The Ds have become a bigger tent party thanks to Dean, Emmanuel, and Schumer being open to conservative Ds. But the base that nominates the Prez candidate is far more liberal than southwestern/mountain western voters.

The national candidate of the D Party is unlikely to look or sound anything like Tester, Baucus, or a Salazar. S/he will probably be unrecognizable to them.

Alan in Missoula should check in on this.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 3, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Correction: This will be the first open NM Senate election in 35 years, not just 25. Bingaman unseated Harrison "Jack" Schmitt (R) in 1982, and Schmitt unseated Joseph Montoya (D) in 1976. The last open-seat winner in NM was, in fact, Pete Domenici in 1972, when he succeeded Clinton Anderson (D).

Posted by: kkuniyuk | November 3, 2007 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Jon Morgan I hope you are right, we need more than just close in those Western states this time around. I am also a firm believer that Governors make better candidates in the national election - thats why I support Governor Richardson. Larry Sabato, Political Scientist at the University of Virginia made the point a little over a week ago that in a national election Governor Richardson would pose the most problems to the Republicans.

Here are some final points. States don't always vote for the same party at the Presidential level that they vote for at the state level. My home state of Virginia is an example; we were electing Democratic Governors in the eighties at the same time we kept voting for Reagan (Governors Robb, Baliles, and Wilder). Also the advantage of being a Governor is that you always represent change -you are not from Washington. 4 out of the last 5 Presidents were Governors. Again, even if you support someone other than Richardson be prepared to campaign in all 50 states, don't take for granted that the public is in an anti-Bush mood (they don't like Congress either), and realize just because state office holders are Democratic doesn't mean the voters will go for Democratic Presidential nominee (the state office holders may be blue dog conservative Democrats). I say these things because everyone is in an optimistic mood about our frontrunners, maybe I'm getting old, but I've seen this false sense of security play out in bad way a few times over the last three decades.

Posted by: VApolitics | November 3, 2007 4:35 AM | Report abuse

NV was very close (2 points) in 2004 if not 2000. It also had close races in 2006. Kerry lost CO by 5 or 6 points, and that state is clearly trending blue/purple. Bill Clinton won AZ in 1996 (the first Democrat to do so since 1948), and last fall we went from 6 Rs and 2 Ds in their House delegation to 4-4. Now we may gain a majority by winning Rick Renzi's 1st district seat. AZ, CO, and NM all have Democratic governors (your use of Democrat rather than Democratic makes your party claim suspect to me). Last year we gained the majority of CO's House delegation (the 3rd district in 04, the 7th in 06, and very possibly the 4th in 08), on top of winning its open Senate seat in 2004 and the governorship there in 06. Note also that we gained both houses of CO's state legislature in 2004 for the first time since 1976, and at the same time the state unshackled itself from the "Taxpayer's Bill of Rights" they'd passed in 1992. In 2008, CO has an open Senate seat that leans Democratic, as does NM.

Who the nominees are will make a difference, but AZ, CO, NM, and NV will all be competitive in 2008. It's not implausible that all 4 could vote Democratic for president. Additionally, VA has to be considered in play (Warner in 01 and on the ballot next year, Kaine in 05, Webb in 06, hopefully the state Senate next week), and OH just had a huge Democratic wave that will continue with 3 open House seats (at least) this cycle. MO is a swing state with a very close governor's race next year that may be competitive in the pres. race (voted for Clinton twice, like OH). IA is also a swing state (Gore in 2000, Bush in 04), and we'll have Tom Harkin running well on the ballot there after electing a Democratic governor for the 3rd time in a row and taking 2 GOP House seats (and the majority of the state's House delegation) in 06.

Posted by: jon.morgan.1999 | November 3, 2007 2:35 AM | Report abuse

skywrnchsr509,

Also please name the Southwestern states that went for either Kerry or Gore? I don't know how you conclude we are making gains in that region. In 2004 Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado went for Bush. If you don't believe me check out the map at electoral-vote.com. All of those states went Republican in 2000 too except for New Mexico. If you are a Democrat and serious about winning the White House you need to be serious about winning these states!

Posted by: VApolitics | November 3, 2007 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Dear skywrnchsr509,

You fail to counter the facts I did mention. Even though some of those states in the Great Lakes Region like Minnesota or states in the Pacific Northwest may have went Democrat in 2000 or 2004 they did not tip the electoral balance enough to put Gore or Kerry in the White House.

Democrats must move beyond the status quo of the last two elections in the electoral college. If it is the same divide of states as before it will be a Republican in the White House in 2008. Don't be so sure Senator Clinton can win Arkansas. Vice President Gore could not win Tennesse and he was a legal resident of that state. Southerners still have a perception that Senator Clinton must overcome that she is against homemakers and anti-military. I will be the first to admit that she has a strong pro-military record in the Senate, but the layperson in the South will remember her actions in the first Clinton administration not what she is doing now.

Despite your assertion I am a Democrat I just remember the election night in 1984, 1988, 2000, and 2004 all too well. I do not want a repeat of those nights and democrats must realize that broader majority of opinion and thought is needed to capture the White House or else we are no better than the other side.

Posted by: VApolitics | November 3, 2007 1:26 AM | Report abuse

The first and only poll of New Mexico pitting Udall against the GOP shows just why he will be a favorite -- he is leading by double-digits: http://www.campaigndiaries.com/2007/10/first-poll-out-of-new-mexico-heartens.html

Posted by: campaigndiaries | November 2, 2007 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Pardon the thought VApolitics but the notion you provide is rediculous. Democrats have been challenging in and gaining in the Great Lakes region and the southwest.

Not only will the Democrat take New England and California, they can look forward to taking the entire west coast except Alaska, the mid atlantic states right down to DC and several of the great lakes region states like Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin. On top of that, Iowa, New Mexico, and Ohio will be heavily contested states where Democrats have made huge gains recently. Not to mention the fact that having a Clinton lead the ticket, would be gold in Arkansas provided Huckabee isn't the Republican nominee.

So for all your bluster, you seem to lack facts. Though your a republican so no one is surprised by that.

Posted by: skywrnchsr509 | November 2, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Udall and the other candidates do realize that Richardson is not interested in the Senate. Quite frankly Richardson is not interested in the VP spot either. Any of the other Democratic candidates promise nothing more than a losing ticket if they get the nomination. Richardson doesn't want a part of that. Democratic supporters are very naive and think they can win the 2008 election by just wining the New England states and California, which is all that these candidates from the North can do. It really doesn't matter if you win the popular vote if you don't win the states with the electoral votes. The people who supported Kerry, Dukakis and Mondale didn't understand that either. You have to win states in the South and West to be President. As a Hispanic Governor Richardson does well in both Florida and West states - states the Democrats could not win in 2000 and 2004. Sadly though, the party has the blinders on and is charting another course to disaster.

Posted by: VApolitics | November 2, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

My mistake--the Udalls are only cousins, not brothers. There are actually a bunch of political families in the US; Mark Dayton and Jay Rockefeller are related by marriage, as are Lincoln Chafee and Bob Taft. Mitt Romney had an ancestor who served 23 terms in the CT legislature before his death in 1670.

I'm pretty sure the answer to my question, though, is that you have to go back to 1965-68 when Ted and Bobby Kennedy represented Massachusetts and New York in the Senate at the same time.

Posted by: jon.morgan.1999 | November 2, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Trivia Time!

With Mark Udall running for Senate in NM, and Tom Udall running in CO (both with good chances of winning), when was the last time 2 siblings served simultaneously in the Senate?

Posted by: jon.morgan.1999 | November 2, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I understand that Udall's reluctance to run was based on reports that Richardson was going to flip into the Senate race after coming in fifth place in the Iowa primary. Apparently, Richardson thinks he's VP material so he's going to pass on the Senate race which has led Udall to reconsider.

If Udall runs, he wins the primary is a blowout and Udall wins the general election going away.

Posted by: texseno8 | November 2, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Greetings from New Mexico, Chris! Great blog, great article here.

Yes, a lot of us of here have been leaning on Tom to reconsider and now it looks like he is going to take the plunge. This is GREAT news for New Mexico and the whole country. 60+ majority in the US Senate, here we come!

Tom is very progressive, low-key, thoughtful, and even on those rare occasions when I don't agree with him I can see his point. His personality, politics and political style fit New Mexico like an old shoe.

Rep. Heather Wilson does not play well even in the Albuquerque area, but she has played well enough to pick off weak Democratic candidates in her first district. I think her calculation to go statewide in 2008 was partially that her strong support for President Bush's Iraq policies, etc. might play better statewide than locally. But I don't think it will.

The irony of Pearce now going after Wilson for being too liberal is hilarious!! Wilson only talked "independence" from Bush when election time came around to placate indy and moderate Demo voters in her district, and that worked for a few years. But it was just the GOP leadership in DC allowing her to vote against Bush when her vote didn't affect the outcome.

We're all anxiously awaiting the anti-Wilson ads Pearce is going to release, holding Wilson accountable to her sham "independence." This is delicious retribution to Heather who has been the Negative Ad Queen all these years. Pearce has been such a non-entity in state politics all these years it's hard to see what Heather could slam him with. I see a race to the bottom for the GOP primary, with the crippled loser easily rolled over by clean Tom Udall.

Truly, this is going to be an AMAZING election in New Mexico and I think the color to beat here will be BLUE!

I sure hope national Republicans waste as much money on the Pearce and Wilson campaigns as they can; it will not accomplish anything and it'll be money not spent elsewhere!

Posted by: JC505 | November 2, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

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