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Domenici Retirement – It’s a Whole New World

It seems like every time I leave town for a couple of days, the political world in the Land of Manana gets thrown for a twist. Just a day after we put the Albuquerque City Elections behind us, the news breaks that Senator Pete Domenici is going to retire:

Sen. Pete Domenici is retiring after a generation as a dominant Republican voice on budget matters in Congress, deferring to health concerns after six terms in office.

A draft statement prepared for Domenici’s formal announcement Thursday disclosed that the 75-year-old New Mexico Republican has a progressive disease that can cause dysfunction in the parts of the brain important for organization, decision-making and control of mood and behavior.

The sound you heard all over Albuquerque following the news was the hasty construction of political war rooms being hastily built on both sides of the aisle. Mayor Chavez, whose team just got dealt a stunning defeat in the City Election races, is definitely going to consider a run. And, the race just got a lot more expensive for Don Wiviott, who is now going to have a full primary slate to contend with – unless, of course, Governor Richardson abandons his national tour run for the Presidency to make a go at becoming New Mexico’s next Junior Senator.

In about 120 days, Richardson is going to drop out of the Presidential race and in all likelihood make a run for the Senate seat. So, expect to see a compressed election cycle on this one. There will be a lot of potential candidates putting feelers out, but until February 5th, no one is going to know what Richardson will do, so it will be very difficult to raise money for the seat on either side of the aisle.