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The hottest Senate news in the past week have undoubtedly come from New Mexico. Pete Domenici announced his surprise retirement, followed in quick succession by Republican Rep. Heather Wilson announcing a run and Democratic Rep. Mark Udall announced he would not. Today, Democrats seem on the verge of getting one of their strong candidates in the race: Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez is likely to announce tomorrow morning that he will run for the seat.

Full analysis here.

This guarantees Democrats have a strong candidate in the race, though the DSCC is also trying to convince Lieutenant Govenor Diane Denish to forego her plans to run for governor in 2010 and jump in the Senate race. Many Dems see Denish not only as more competitive, but also as more progressive. Chavez is clearly not viewed very well around here, and NM is not a red state in which a Dem must be moderate to win.

Also very interesting is Chavez's assessment that Rep. Pearce, not Wilson, would be the strongest GOP candidate. The general sense is that Pearce might be too conservative to win a statewide race. Steve Pearce has still not announced his plans, and whether he will run against Wilson in the primary, but he says he is nearing his decision. This could set up a situation in which both Democrats and Republicans have a competitive primary.

Also today, Democrats got a candidate in the North Carolina Senate race (finally!), though he is an unknown, and Robert Novak reports Shumer is pressuring the governors of KS, WY, and OK to run for Senate!

Originally posted to LeftistAddiction on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 12:01 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yuck. (0+ / 0-)

    Yucky icky yuck bleech.

  •  Regarding the Novak Report.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Maven, dem4evr, Nab

    I could see Schumer pressuring Sebellius (KS) and Freudenthal (WY) to get into the Senate races (although I am convinced that neither of them will).

    But why lean on Brad Henry? Andrew Rice is not a bad public face to have on your campaign in Oklahoma. Young, bright, and with a surprisingly strong ($310K in two months) fundraising profile.

    "You share your young with the wolves of the nation...
    Theres nothing left til you pray for salvation"
    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club "American X"

    by Steve Singiser on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 12:11:58 PM PDT

  •  A lot of people here don't seem to like Chavez (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nab

    Is this reflected in the state as a whole, or his like Ben Nelson, who kossacks don't like but he wins big in Nebraska anyway?

    •  He is like Ben Nelson/Ken Salazer. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Love, The Maven, lgmcp, RandySF

      The problem with Chavez is that he is very popular with voters in New Mexico but Bloggers who believe in Ideological purity or things Moderates are bad despises him.

      Chavez is a strong general election candidate. Being a Moderate-Conservative Democrat. He neutralizes Heather Wilson's image as a Moderate. He beats Wilson in the Central NM-1CD. He will do well in fundraising and run an energetic and disciplined campaign. Chavez will be no pushover.

      •  Marty (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        samddobermann, lgmcp, Nab

        is more popular with Repub voters than Dems. As for bloggers, the ones I know aren't as concerned about ideological purity as they are about his taking money for favors from sprawl developers and those who make money on it. He has openly worked against good Democrats on the city council and supported candidates who run nasty, campaigns.

        He definitely can raise money, as shown by his raising and spending more than a million in his last mayoral race. Why do you think he got so many big donations?

        The reason he's been able to win as Albuquerque mayor is because it's officially a nonpartisan race and he's never had to face a Dem Party nominating convention or a Dem primary. Believe me, the vast majority in those factions can't abide Chavez.

        •  Favors to developers (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          barbwire, Nab

          I have worked on the municipal level for most of my career and that is so common it's not funny. You should see how the plan checkers in our planning department fall to their knees faster than Paris Hilton on a hot date.

        •  This is why I like Marty. (0+ / 0-)

          We need a candidate that can run a nasty campaign against the Republican. Not strong progressive Democrats who run lackluster campaigns. Why should we back strong progressive Democrats if they can't run a strong campaign-or go on vacation and let the Republicans walk over them.

          We need a candidate that can raise alot of money. This will be an expensive/dirty Senate campaign.
          Too win a general election in a swing state like NM. Not only we need Democrats but we have to appeal to Independents and disaffected Republicans.

          •  Wiviott (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            samddobermann

            has been highly successful as a small business man and has many Republican friends who respect him. He's also some who isn't compromised ethically as Chavez is. Chavez also has a very bullying, defensive personality that brings him much grief. I don't see him being able to work well in the Senate, quite frankly.

            There's a long way until the primary and Wiviott has pledged to stay in all the way, well funded.

  •  This morning I wrote Richardson (0+ / 0-)

    pleading with him to switch his sights to a Senate seat for now, for the good of the nation.  Much as I'd love to see him a Veep slot or cabinet, we CAN'T let Domenici's seat stay R, and I don't see any other sure-fire contenders on the horizon.  Good people, sure, but this is the only shoo-in.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 12:29:02 PM PDT

    •  We won't (0+ / 0-)

      really know that until some polls come out on this race, which I expect will happen in a few days.  Expect to see Denish, Chavez, and Richardson polled against Wilson and Pearce.  Possible also Madrid and Udall on the D side, even though Udall has opted out.  Until we see polls, we won't know whether Chavez is a strong general election candidate or not.

      •  I'd be most excited by (0+ / 0-)

        Udall or Richardson, but unfortunately it appears niether is "willin'" at this time.

        Denish is the most progressive, and the cleanest, IMO, while still having good name recognition and thus would be my preference.  Chavez is a VERY mixed bag, as above, and Madrid is under a cloud because she failed to deliver against Wilson last time.  

        Wiviott -- well, I respect him for throwing his hat into the ring when a supposedly invincible Domenici was his opponent.  But now that the race has gone top-tier, I'll have to support someone a bit more senior.

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 12:38:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why? (0+ / 0-)

          I thought the netroots was about finding outsiders with smarts who aren't beholden to the political insiders. I wish you would wait and meet Don Wiviott before you make a decision.

        •  If Denish ran I'd back her over Chavez. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lgmcp, Nab, Morgan Sandlin

          However- Denish has not been battletested. Does she have what it takes to run an expensive and nasty campaign.

          •  I know you're right. (0+ / 0-)

            I still like Patrica Madrid and hope she can get Heather's seat somehow. It's just a Chavez victory would almost feel like a defeat to me.

            You seem to know a lot about what's going on. Is Madrid really a terrible campaigner with no future? Do you really think Udall could win easily if he wanted? Does Chavez have a streak of goodness hidden deep down inside? Would he be a good Senator?

            •  Madrid will be a shoe in for Wilson's open NM-1 (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Nab

              Seat. She has name recognition. She will have a semi incumbency advantage.

              Madrid would be a terrible candidate for a statewide office that is going to be expensive and nasty.

              Regarding Udall- He would win easily. Udall has high name recognition- Udall is a household name in Southwest region. and a strong fundraising base. Unlike Madrid. Udall will run a energetic and disciplined campaign.

              Regarding Chavez- I don't know if he has a streak of goodness hidden deep down inside. Regarding what type of Senator will Chavez be.

              Answer- Chavez will be the New Mexico version of Ken Salazar- He'd anger Progressive for being a Centrist Moderate but I'd don't see him as a Faux News Democrat like Joe Lieberman or Zell Miller. Regarding his support for Pajama Pete. Pete is an elder statesman who is well respected in NM before the AG scandal. Chavez wanting to support Pajama Pete is similar to Mark Warner in Virginia wanting to support John Warner in Virginia had he ran again.
              He won't go on Fox News and repeat the GOP talking points on how bad Democrats are.
              As Senator- Chavez will not be dealing with developers but will be deal with National issues. such as the Economy-(Budget),Federal Judiciary Appointment- will he confirm Progressive Judicial Nominees to the Supreme Court. and Foriegn Policy- Does he support an immediate withdrawal of US Troops from Iraq. and Does he support the Kyl Lieberman resolution on Iran. Does he support the Senate's decision to condemn the MoveON.org Ad.

              •  Right (0+ / 0-)

                Chavez will just vote to put roads through Yellowstone like he pushed the road here through the Petroglyphs National Monument. I'm only half kidding. Remember when he took it upon himself to stand by the hundred plus year old cottonwood they knocked down for the Montano bridge? He stood there beaming and wouldn't do anything to move the road a bit to save it. I think he's sick.

                Martin Heinrich is the strongest candidate for Congress in NM-01. I don't see Madrid beating him.

    •  Don Wiviott (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      samddobermann, Nab

      The new Ned Lamont. Count on it. He will raise or contribute his own bucks up to $2.1 million for the primary race. He's in it to stay and I predict he will be highly successful. He speaks truth, not jive.

    •  It will be impossible to convince Richardson to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nab

      run for the open Senate Seat.

      Richardson occupies a powerful position as Governor in which his term expires in November 2010. Richardson will win the 2008 NM US Senate Race if he ran without a sweat. But will he be that effective as a Junior or Freshman member of the US Senate from a small populated state. Isn't Richardson best suited serving future President Hillary Clinton as her Vice President or Secretary of State being a public policy advisor.

      Udall has seniority and power Appropriations Committee assignment.

      Denish is more likely to be Governor of NM before Nov 2010.

      I would have no problem with Chavez as a freshmen Senator from New Mexico- Chavez will be a backbench member. He will have no influence in Public Policy like Joe Lieberman who has Seniority and Committee Chairmanship in the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

      Chavez is able to defeat Wilson in the general election. He neutralizes Wilson's strength as a moderate. He is very popular in ABQ. He beats Wilson in Central NM-1. Wins Northern NM-3 by a greater margin than Wilson's margin of victory in Southern NM-3.

      Chavez can run a strong campaign. He won't be a pushover like Patricia Madrid.

      •  Whence your data? (0+ / 0-)

        Chavez is able to defeat Wilson in the general election. He neutralizes Wilson's strength as a moderate. He is very popular in ABQ. He beats Wilson in Central NM-1. Wins Northern NM-3 by a greater margin than Wilson's margin of victory in Southern NM-3.

        These are interesting numbers and quite a bit stronger than I would have thought.  

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 12:54:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Looking at Wilson's narrow victory in NM-1 (0+ / 0-)

          against a weaken Patricia Madrid losing by less than 1,000 votes. Wilson is more weak due to the AG scandal. and Mayor Marty is much better campaigner than Madrid.

          Look at Pearce Southern NM-2 CD. Despite outspending his opponent 10-1. Pearce only got 60%. Wilson is not going to get more than 60% of the popular vote in NM-2.

          That leaves us Northern NM-3CD. Because 2008 is a Democratic year- nationally. Chavez's will score a landslide victory in NM-3. Chavez wins NM-3 with at least 60%.

          •  So these are personal estimates (0+ / 0-)

            rather than recent scientific polling?  Your guesses may be reasonable but I was hoping they had verification.  I want whoever we put up for Domenici's seat have excellent odds.

            I do like Richardson for veep, Denish for Gov, and Udall right where he is.  But I don't want us to miss out on that Senate seat!  

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 01:06:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That is right. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lgmcp

              the Domenici seat is competive without Richardson who is a shoein based on the fact he is the 800lb gorrilla with High Name Recognition and Money. or Denish and Udall who will be strong with the Progressive Base and Able to run an energetic and campaign.

              2008 New Mexico US Senate race is occuring in a Presidential Election year- which is benificial to Democrats- Voter turnout among Democrats is generally high in Presidential Years than Off Year Election. At the Presidential Level- NM is going to be a blue state due to the strong Hispanic population. Demographics are favorable to Democrats.  Heather Wilson is weak candidate due to the AG scandals and narrow victories in NM-1.

              Chavez- while not favorite among Progressives can run a nasty campaign against Republican. He can beat Republicans at their game.

          •  Hold On (0+ / 0-)

            From what I know and have heard from many, Chavez is NOT popular in NM-03. In fact, he's run into a brick wall in gaining support there for a guv run. And, in fact, Wilson has strong Hispanic support from many quarters because so many Hispanics serve in the military and guard. Plus there are those Los Alamos people wanting to get in on building a new generation of nuke bombs. It's not as simple as you are laying out.

  •  if those 3 governors run, we could be looking (0+ / 0-)

    at 67 in 2010.

    Hell with this talk of 60.

    Republicans are not a national party anymore.

    by jalapeno on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 12:32:27 PM PDT

    •  After 60 for overcoming a filibuster, what's the (0+ / 0-)

      next threshold?

      Overcoming a veto requires 67 (which would only be necessary in case a Dem doesn't win the Presidency or does but loses in 2012), but would require 2/3 of the House too (which is about as likely as 67 in the Senate).

      What's next? Constitutional amendments? That also requires 2/3 of the House and Senate each, and then approval by 3/4 of the states.

      My first hope for the latter would be to declare corporations as non-citizens, and therefore not able to donate to political campaigns (i.e. their "free speech" rights can be curtailed).

      The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit. Somerset Maugham

      by verasoie on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 12:47:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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