A few friends and I were discussing Governor Richardson's Presidential bid and we were both in agreement that regardless of what happened in the Democratic Primary Election the Democrats will probably win the General Election. We were also in agreement that Governor Richardson will probably be Vice President or Secretary of State. But some interesting dynamics began to come into play as we discussed this.
One was what if John Edwards wins the Primary? Kerry/Edwards team was not happy that Governor Richardson did not deliver New Mexico. Patricia Madrid who was supported by the Governor in her bid to unseat Heather Wilson is supporting Senator John Edwards and not Governor Richardson in the Presidential Primary. Patricia has always supported Senator John Edwards and she headed his New Mexico Campaign when he last ran for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Patricia and John Edwards are also good friends. So the Governor had no expectation she would not continue to support John Edwards. He did however have no choice but to support then Attorney General Patricia Madrid in her race against Heather. How much influence will Patricia have to recommend or not recommend Governor Richardson to her good friend John Edwards should he win the nomination? It has long been felt by many that there is no love lost between Patricia and the Governor.
What about Hillary? would she forgive Governor Richardson for running against her? Can the Governor run an aggressive campaign without straining his relationship with Hillary? My feeling is he probably can. On this week with George Stephanopoulos the Governor talked about his light hearted Got Milk?, Cowboy ads which he ran during the Governors race. He stated he felt the public was ready for positive light hearted ads that were a change from the negative voting record type ads of the past. I feel this is part of his strategy. Run a clean light hearted campaign that will not endanger his chances of a Vice President or Secretary of State position.
This brought our conversation to the Lieutenant Governors position. I have been taking a look at this situation as it was interesting to note that should the Governor leave for what ever position in Washington there is no provision to put a Lieutenant Governor in place for the remainder of current Lt. Governor Diane Denish's term. A good friend in State Government brought it to my attention that barring a constitutional amendment the position could remain unfilled until the next election cycle.
The legislative session currently underway allows for an opportunity to fix that situation. Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino plans to introduce a Constitutional amendment which if passed must still be voted on in 2008 in a state wide election, that would allow the lieutenant governor-turned governor to pick a second in command, to be approved by the Senate. It is my understanding that at least one name is being tossed around by the Lt. Governors staff for this position.
I began looking at it because I had been asked by a group of supporters to consider running for this position in 2010. (no this is not an announcement). This situation is very interesting however. If the voters do not approve a constitutional amendment (very few proposed amendments are approved), this would leave us with no Lt. Governor for the remainder of Diane Denish's term. If the voters do approve the amendment Lt. Governor Denish would be in the unique position of choosing her Lt. Governor prior to any election giving that person a distinct advantage in the next election. In New Mexico the Lt. Governor and the Governor run seperate campaigns in the primary and then must join forces in the General Election. So in essence the Governor candidate really does not choose his or her running mate the public does.
While Richardson has much national campaigning to do, look for Diane Denish to begin taking more local news time then she has in the past as she prepares for her race. However Richardson will still be careful of giving the impression that he is not spending enough time or keeping tabs on the goings on in New Mexico. Very few Lieutenant Governors go on to win the Governors race and there are some formidable opponents eyeing the Governors seat even as only the first month of Governor Richardson's second term is finishing up. However, Lt. Governor Denish has made it very clear she intends to run for Governor. As for me, I am watching with interest but very busy completing only my first month in the next four years as Sheriff in Santa Fe County.
One final note: I took a look at Bill Richardson's Presidential Campaign Web Site and he has covered many bases including a My Space Page, a You Tube page, Flickr and of course a Blog. Of special note is his video The New Mexico Comeback, it was a well made video which was visually pleasing as well as informative for those who don't know much about New Mexico.