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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Domenici Rejoined at the Hip with Bush: Mayor Marty Considering a Challenge?

After pretending to change his position on the Iraq occupation -- at least superficially -- Sen. Pete Domenici is now back in line, having given up trying to separate himself cosmetically from Bush and the war forever bunch. As the parade of shameless surge pushers and propagandists finished their performances last week, I guess Pete decided it made some sort of cynical political sense to return to lockstep with his keepers. NM FBIHOP has more on Domenici's return to the fold.

Meanwhile, Matt Stoller over at Open Left asks -- as many others have -- if Domenici intends to retire. Musing on why Bush spent time to raise funds for Domenici here in New Mexico recently, Stoller says:

But why Domenici? Maybe it's personal. It's possible he just hates fundraising, and wanted someone else to do it for him. Or maybe the New Mexico Republican Party is going to need the money since Domenici is going to retire and the seat will be very competitive.  Anyway, I heard just such a rumor, that Domenici is going to retire, that Albuquerque mayor Martin Chavez will run on the Democratic side, and Congresscritters Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce will fight it out in the primary on the Republican side.

There IS a lot of conjecture going around about what Mayor Marty intends to do next. He's obviously gained little traction in his initial efforts towards running for governor in 2010 against our very popular Lt. Gov. Diane Denish. In the recent Albuquerque Journal polling, likely Dem primary voters picked Denish as their favored gubernatorial candidate over Chavez by a 50% to 30% margin (with 20% undecided). Even on his home turf in metro Albuquerque, Chavez trailed Denish 29 to 54 percent among the Dems polled.

Chavez has said that he supports Domenici and won't run against him for Senate. But if Pete's enthusiasm wanes for the rigors of the job or his health worsens and he decides to retire, I wouldn't be surprised if Chavez tried his luck. Whether he'd get more support in the Dem primary than current candidate Don Wiviott is another matter. Mayor Marty isn't well liked within large portions of the Dem base, and he'd have to work some miracles to win them over. Of course there's always the possibility he could encourage his Repub supporters to change their registrations for the primary. He has a fair amount of support among less rabid Repubs, at least in parts of the Albuquerque area.

To check out our previous posts on the 2008 U.S. Senate race in New Mexico, visit our archive.

September 16, 2007 at 06:11 PM in 2008 NM Senate Race, Iraq War | Permalink