Udall certainly has been a reliable vote for progressive issues ranging from filibuster reform to immigration to environmental issues. Especially land conservation:Not so long ago, being labeled the “most liberal senator” might have been a problem for Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., who is tied with Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut at the far left end of National Journal’s 2012 vote ratings.
In 2004, New Mexico, with its five electoral votes, was a hard-won prize for President Bush on his way to a second term. Only Iowa’s vote in that year’s presidential race was closer. Al Gore won the state by an even slimmer margin—by mere hundredths of a percentage point—in 2000.
In the last two presidential elections, though, Barack Obama “blew the doors off the state,” as one respected New Mexico political analyst put it, garnering 57 percent of New Mexico’s vote in 2008 and 53 percent in 2012. In both years, Hispanics turned strongly against the Republican Party.
That brings us to the present. In the National Journal 2012 ratings being released in this week's magazine, Udall has a 90.7 percent composite liberal score, tying him with Blumenthal as the most liberal member of the Senate last year. Yet the liberal label will likely have little effect on Udall’s reelection bid next year. He is one of the most secure incumbents in the country, something he owes not just to his first-term record or his well-known name in Western politics, but to a changing New Mexico that now rests solidly in the Democratic column.
“The state has gotten more blue, no question,” said Joe Monahan, a communications consultant in New Mexico who has a political blog. “In years past, you might have worried about having that label. It might have helped draw a strong opponent. But the word ‘liberal’ is not what it was here.” - National Journal, 2/20/13
Udall's progressive voting streak has even made him an enemy of right-wing organizations like the N.R.A.:During their Saturday (Feb. 16) visit, Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Rep. Ben Ray Luján, all Democrats from New Mexico, heard from those who would like to see full wilderness protection for the 46,000-acre Columbine-Hondo area north of Taos. Several dozen wilderness supporters, including elected officials, business owners and nonprofit representatives, gathered at the Rivers and Birds offices in Arroyo Seco to hear legislative updates and urge federal action to protect the Columbine-Hondo.
The Columbine-Hondo was designated a Wilderness Study Area three decades ago. Last year, then-Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, introduced legislation to bring full wilderness protection to the area, but it did not pass. Michael Casaus, state director for the Wilderness Society, said the 112th Congress was the first in decades not to protect a single acre of wilderness.
Udall said those gathered made a “tremendously compelling case” for a wilderness designation for the Columbine-Hondo. He asked whether the form of the legislation introduced in 2012 was still acceptable to everyone, and no one objected. - The Taos News, 2/21/13
While it has had a tough road in beating back some gun control legislation, the NRA is still a powerful, well-funded group.And Udall label of being the most liberal Senator isn't hurting his chances at for re-election:
It is using some of its coffers to oppose Democratic senators up for election in 2014, including Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. However, it doesn’t appear to be targeting Udall to closely, as it will not be paying for newspaper ads, instead only using online ads to target Udall.
A previous web ad from the NRA opposed background checks for gun purchases.
The NRA backed Republican Heather Wilson in 2012. Wilson went on to lose to Democrat Martin Heinrich in the 2012 general election. - New Mexico Telegram, 2/20/13
I believe Nate Silver when he says Udall is safe for re-election. His a terrific public servant and a progressive hero who deserves our support for re-election in 2014. Chances are Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers will spend big to try and unseat him though, so lets make sure he has the resources he needs to secure his re-election victory:
According to electoral predictions wizard Nate Silver, Tom Udall is among the safest Democrat Senators up for election in 2014.
Silver listed Udall as only behind Rhode Island’s Jack Reed on list of most Democratic seats in his “initial snapshot” of the 2014 Senatorial elections.
Other Senators that are among the safest seats are in Democratic bastions like Delaware (Chris Coons), Hawaii (Brian Schatz) and Illinois (Richard Durbin). Virginia’s Mark Warner is also put in there despite Virginia’s swing status. - New Mexico Telegram, 2/21/13