Inside the Capitol

Monday, September 22, 2008

What's Ahead for Heather and Bill?

Syndicated Columnist

SANTA FE -- What will happen with Heather and Bill after the 2008 presidential election? It is likely New Mexico's two national luminaries will do quite well for themselves.
U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson will be out of a job on Dec. 31 of this year, having lost the Republican senatorial nomination to Rep. Steve Pearce in the June.
Rep. Wilson likely will want to continue working and using the reservoir of experience she has accumulated over the years.
And that shouldn't be difficult at all. If the Palin/McCain ticket wins in November, a nice federal job should be waiting. She has been mentioned for cabinet posts but something in the national security area might be more likely
If she's on the losing side, her intelligence and presence could put her in a cushy federal lobbying job. As an Air Force Academy graduate, a Rhodes Scholar with a Ph.D. from Oxford and a past National Security Council staff member, any major university would want to jump at her.
A good federal job isn't out of the question even if the Democrats win the presidency. Neither is running for governor in 2010. Having an election loss on one's record isn't a killer. Sen. Pete Domenici lost a gubernatorial race two years before starting a career as New Mexico's longest-serving senator.
A job in New Mexico might be very attractive to Wilson, since she chose to commute back to her family in Albuquerque almost every weekend during her tenure in office. But if she decides to take a position out of state, she would have to give it up in order to campaign in New Mexico.
A job in broadcasting or punditry also is a possibility. She has been acting as a McCain campaign surrogate and reportedly has appeared on MSNBC often.
The one time I saw her, she called Sen. Obama a baby killer. Afterward, commentator Keith Olberman ventured that she had to be joking. Relations between those two may be strained, but then Olberman isn't on friendly terms with much of anyone.
Gov. Richardson will do well for himself too. If his party loses, he still has two years to perform his "favorite job in the world." We'd probably see more of him than we have the first two years of this term.
Until the beginning of this year, his office sent out his public schedule every week. I haven't seen anything for a long time. And I don't think it's anything personal.
If Richardson's candidate wins, he may get a plum job that would take him away from New Mexico for the last two years of his term. Secretary of State has been rumored but reportedly the Washington establishment has grander ideas.
If Gov. Richardson doesn't get any offers he likes, either in January or two years from now, he can go back to doing what he did during the year between ending his stint as secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy and running for governor. That was 2001.
Reportedly Richardson listed his net worth as less than $750,000 when he left the president's cabinet and later listed his net worth as more than $10 million when he became governor of New Mexico.
During that brief period, Richardson worked as a lobbyist for Henry Kissinger's firm, served on several boards of major corporations and taught university classes. Who wouldn't want to try that again?
And what happens to the loser of the big Senate race between current Reps. Tom Udall and Steve Pearce? One of them will be out of a job.
Rep. Pearce doesn't actually need a job. He can enjoy the millions he made in the oil servicing business. But that doesn't sound like Steve. Reports indicate a very good chance he will run for governor in 2010.
And if Tom Udall is out of office? He could be a gubernatorial candidate. What would an election in this part of the country be without a Udall on the ballot?
MON, 9-29-08

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



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