Inside the Capitol

Saturday, April 16, 2005

4-20 Gov Goes to New Hampshire

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE � Tired of listening to stories about Gov. Bill Richardson running for president in 2008? Tired of hearing his denials? Well, get used to it because it�s not going away. And three years is a long time.
Word circulates about how political parties are going to do away with the early primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire. But that�s been going on for years with no end in sight.
Presidential hopefuls must think those primaries are here to stay because within weeks of last November�s presidential election, 2008 candidates were already in both states.
Bill Richardson plans to be in New Hampshire this June for three events. He explains that he�s �just traveling around.� Sounds like the salesman who �just happens to be in the neighborhood.�
The governor says he gets speaking invitations. �We accept some, and others we don�t.� For some reason, New Hampshire was worthy of accepting three invitations. And you can bet those invitations weren�t extended because the good folks on the other side of the country are interested in how things are going in New Mexico.
Manchester�s Union Leader newspaper crows that Republican Sen. Bill Frist visited New Hampshire twice within three weeks in March. The only other candidate it currently mentions is Richardson�s visit in June.
The newspaper has enough interest in Richardson that it had scoured other news sources for their impressions. It cited an Associated Press article quoting a �top New Mexico Republican lawmaker� as noting that Richardson�s desire is to fund everything that will get him to New Hampshire on time and not worry about the state of New Mexico along the way.
The Union Leader says Richardson�s possible presidential run will be an issue in his 2006 effort at reelection as governor but that he is extremely popular at home.
The Hill, an inside-the-beltway political publication, reported last week that according to �party strategists,� Richardson is plotting to parlay his chairmanship of the Democratic Governors Association, a committee that can raise soft money, into hard support for a possible presidential bid in 2008.
But blogger Joe Monahan reports that Richardson may have run into a little trouble. He forced out the longtime DGA executive director, hoping to get someone of his choosing in the spot.
But other governors, also interested in the presidential sweepstakes, tried to squeeze their own people into the powerful position. The final resolution, Monahan says, was to create a search committee.
Meanwhile our governor is keeping himself in the national spotlight with appearances on interview shows. He�s a frequent guest on Imus In The Morning, which is seen and heard in all 50 states.
And Richardson was recently included in a Saturday Night Live skit. His character was played by Horatio Sanz, a tubby funnyman. It wasn�t complimentary, but what can you expect from the Not Quite Ready For Prime Time Players?
As always, the governor is busy raising money � for 2006, 2008, his political committee Moving America Forward, whatever. A group of young, up-and-comers in the Democratic Party threw a $50 fundraiser for him at a trendy Albuquerque bistro this week.
An invitation went out early this month for the Richardson Roundtable. For the $1,000 per person annual dues, members will be the first to receive notices of other fundraising events and will be invited to two members-only briefings.
At least Big Bill isn�t flatly denying interest in the 2008 presidential race as he did last year with accepting a vice-presidential nod. He admits to not having ruled out a 2008 presidential run.
George W. Bush ran for president in 2000, halfway through his second term as governor of Texas. Richardson might get away with it too. That means the lieutenant governor spot will be a real plum next year in case Richardson runs, and even more important, if he wins.
And that means that current Lt. Gov. Diane Denish could have a fight on her hands next year.
WED, 4-20-05

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)



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