Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Roundhouse Roundup: Entering the Arena

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 21, 2011

Richardson Meets the PressHe’s not running for anything — that we know of — but former Gov. Bill Richardson is in The Arena.

I’m referring to a section of Politico’s website, where New Mexico’s former governor is one of dozens of politicians, strategists, scholars and others who sound off on issues of the day.

Richardson on Wednesday opined on Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels as a possible Republican presidential candidate.

“I would be more concerned if (former Utah Gov.) Jon Huntsman entered the race because he is a classy moderate with foreign policy experience,” Richardson wrote. “What both have in common is their likely inability to do well in Republican primaries and caucuses even in a crowded field because the extreme right fringe and the tea partiers dominate the Republican (party) and these two candidates don’t drink their kool aid.”

He’s incorporated: In addition to his punditry, Richardson has been filing papers with the state Public Regulation Commission.

On Feb. 16, he incorporated The Richardson Center for Global Engagement, which he has said will focus on hostage negotiations and improving relationships with hostile regimes such as North Korea and Iran.

Richardson is listed as president of this corporation, while his wife, Barbara Richardson, is vice president and treasurer. His spokeswoman, Caitlin Kelleher, is secretary, while former attorney general and longtime political ally Paul Bardecke is on the board. The corporation is in “good standing” until May 2013.

The same day, Richardson, who is earning money by giving high-priced speeches, teaching and sitting on several boards, filed papers for W.B. Richardson LLC, a limited-liability company. The only officer listed is Jay Rosenblum, an Albuquerque lawyer.

Hector Balderas
Hector hopping in?: State Auditor Hector Balderas says he’ll decide by the end of the month whether to jump in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

In a Facebook posting late last week, Balderas wrote, “I’m truly humbled by the outpouring of support encouraging me to run for the United States Senate. I will continue to reflect on this important decision with my family, and will announce my decision within the next two weeks.”

The Senate seat is open because Democrat Jeff Bingaman, who has held it since 1983, announced he won’t seek re-election.

Speaking of Facebook, Balderas already has one prominent supporter. Former state Democratic Chairman Brian Colón, who was the party’s nominee for lieutenant governor last year, voted for Balderas in a Facebook poll.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Balderas was trailing U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich of Albuquerque by 20 votes (147-127). In a distant third, with 22, was U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, who hasn’t made any noises about running for Senate. Other usual suspects had a smattering of votes.

On the GOP side: I haven’t seen any recent polls, Facebook or otherwise, for the Republican Senate primary. Lt. Gov. John Sanchez told a local conservative group, Friends of Capitalism, last week that he’s still considering challenging former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson for the nomination. But at least he didn’t denounce Wilson as an “Enemy of Capitalism.”

Wilson continues her strategy of picking up endorsements. Last week, she added state Senate Republican Leader Stuart Ingle of Portales to the lengthy list of GOP bigwigs who are supporting her.

The dunes sagebrush lizard couldn't be reached for comment.
Then there’s U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce of Hobbs. Conventional wisdom is that Pearce, who just last year won back the House seat he gave up to run for Senate in 2008, won’t run again. But reading his steady stream of news releases, I’m not sure about that.

Instead of campaigning against Wilson, lately Pearce has been campaigning against a critter called the dunes sagebrush lizard.

He’s held town meetings in Carlsbad and Artesia to rally support against a move by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to add the lizard to the federal endangered-species list.

Listing the lizard would be bad for the oil and gas industry in Southern New Mexico and could affect the building of a planned nuclear-enrichment facility in Eunice, Pearce says.