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!