Thursday, May 15, 2008

ROUNDHOUSE ROUND-UP: S. UDALL BACKS BEN RAY

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
May 15, 2008


U.S. Rep. Tom Udall, who is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate, has not and isn’t expected to make an endorsement in the crowded Democratic primary that likely will determine who will take his congressional seat.

But his dad has.
Ben Ray Lujan with Stewart Udall
Former U.S. Interior Secretary Stewart Udall on Wednesday announced he’s supporting Public Regulation Commissioner Ben Ray Luján for the 3rd Congressional District seat.

“I’ve followed (Luján’s) career, and I have a high regard for him,” the elder Udall said in a telephone interview. He said he likes Luján’s record on energy and environmental issues. “He’s interested in all the things I am,” Udall said.

Stewart Udall was a congressman from Arizona in the 1950s. He served in the cabinets of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. “I’m a very independent-minded individual at my old age,” he said. “I simply told Tom (about his decision to endorse Luján), and he didn’t object.”

A story for Hillary: During my conversation with Stewart Udall, he said this year’s presidential race reminds him of a situation with his brother, the late Arizona Congressman Mo Udall.

“My brother ran for president in 1976,” Stewart Udall said. Mo Udall lost the nomination to Jimmy Carter that year. A few years later, Mo Udall was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, his brother noted, but that didn’t stop his desire for the White House.

“During Reagan’s first two years, there was a recession,” Stewart Udall said. “My brother talked to people saying he was thinking of running again. I brought a group of friends to talk him out of it. It’s a disease that’s progressive, and he’d have to think about the next five years.”

Apparently the group of friends were effective in talking Mo Udall out of another presidential bid. And after all, Stewart Udall said, “my brother was famous for the statement that once you get it in your mind that you’re the best candidate for president or the only one qualified, the only remedy is formaldehyde.”

This, Stewart Udall said, is applicable to Hillary Clinton.

More fun with endorsements: It’s that time of year, of course. Here’s a couple that caught my eye:

Long shot Democratic congressional candidate Jon Adams sent an e-mail Wednesday endorsing A.J. Salazar for district attorney. “A.J.’s record shows a commitment to fighting drunk driving, domestic violence, and crime across the board,” said Adams, a former assistant attorney general. “A.J. is exactly the kind of tough on crime district attorney we need.”

So far, Salazar hasn’t returned the favor.

Also on Wednesday, former Secretary of State Shirley Hooper endorsed Valerie Espinoza in her re-election bid for Santa Fe County clerk.

“It’s almost unreal that I gave (Espinoza) her first job when I was Secretary of State in 1979 and she gave me my last when she became County Clerk in 2005,” Hooper, Espinoza’s chief deputy until 2006, said in an e-mail.

And it’s not really an endorsement, but ... Española Mayor Joe Maestas, who is running for Public Regulation Commission, is mailing campaign literature with a picture of him with Gov. Bill Richardson, along with a quote saying: “Mayor Joe Maestas has a proven record of accomplishment and leadership and would make a great commissioner on the PRC.”

But Richardson said Wednesday that he isn’t actually endorsing in the race. “I like Joe Maestas, but I like Paul Campos and Louie Gallegos too,” he said. Maestas, the governor said, is the only PRC candidate to ask him. “I’ll pose with anybody who asks,” he said, “but it’s not an endorsement.”

Official state Dem blogger: The national Democrats have chosen the Albuquerque-based Democracy for New Mexico as the official New Mexico blogger at the Democratic National Convention this August in Denver.

DFNM’s Barbara Wold posted Wednesday: “Some months ago the DNC solicited applications from bloggers in all 50 states (plus several territories) to vie for one blogger slot per state. They’ll form what’s called the State Blogger Corps at the Convention. ... Each official state blogger will be credentialed for seating with the state’s delegation on the Convention floor, and will be an integral part of the Convention action.”

I’m not official, but I’ll be blogging from the convention as well (right here on this blog) in addition to my regular duties writing stories for The New Mexican.

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