Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Here's a link to my profile of Lt. Gov. Diane Denish and her desire to run for governor in 2010. CLICK HERE

I also wrote a sidebar about the history of lieutenant govs running for governor or higher office.

Speaking of which, I just got off the phone with former Lt. Gov. Walter Bradley, who agreed there's great difficulty with a sitting light guv running for governor.

"Whatever baggage the governor has, that's going to be your baggage too, no matter what his accomplishments were," Bradley said.

In his case, Bradley noted, it was Gov. Gary Johnson's call for drug law reform that hurt him in the Republican primary -- even though Bradley didn't back Johnson on this issue.

He also said it's tough to run from that position because after eight years voters often are looking for a change, and the lieutenant governor usually is seen as part of the old administration.

Here's my side bar:

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
January 10, 2007

Lt. Gov. Diane Denish not only wants to be New Mexico’s first female governor, she wants to be the first lieutenant governor to be elected governor.

Although several have tried, no lieutenant governor in the state’s history has succeeded in winning a governor’s race in this state.

In 2002, Walter Bradley, who served in the No. 2 post for eight years under Gov. Gary Johnson, lost the Republican primary to state Rep. John Sanchez.

In 1994, incumbent Democratic Gov. Bruce King was challenged in a bitter primary race by his lieutenant governor, Casey Luna. King won the primary but lost to Johnson in the general election.

Roberto Mondragon, who had served two previous terms under King, ran unsuccessfully for governor that year on the Green Party ticket.

Back in 1978, Lt. Gov. Bob Ferguson, who served under Gov. Jerry Apodaca, ran for governor but lost to King in the primary.

The only lieutenant governors to assume the governor’s chair were Tom Bolack — who took the office after Gov. Ed Mechem stepped down to take a vacant U.S. Senate seat — and the state’s first lieutenant governor, Washington Lindsey, who assumed power after the state’s first governor, Ezequiel C de Baca, died.

The most successful lieutenant governor in terms of achieving higher office was Joseph Montoya, who was elected to four two-year lieutenant governor terms in the 1940s and 1950s. Montoya later was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and to the U.S. Senate.

Mack Easley, who served under Gov. Jack Campbell in the early 1960s, went on to win a state Senate seat and later was appointed, then elected to the state Supreme Court.

Mike Runnels, who served under Gov. Toney Anaya in the 1980s, was elected district attorney of Cibola, Sandoval and Valencia counties in the 1990s. But he lost two bids for the District 2 congressional seat once held by his father, Harold Runnels.


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