Tom Udall, the long-time back-bencher occupying the NM-3 seat (northern New Mexico) is seen by many observers as having pretty much a lock on the Senate seat being relinquished next year by "Pajama" Pete Domenici, if he decides to run for it. In a field of near-unknowns (Wiviot, et al), too-well knowns (loathesome Albuquerque machine mayor, DINO Martin Chavez, has announced for the seat, too) and with Diane Denish, the State's very popular Lt. Gov. taking herself out of the running recently (saving herself for a run at the Gov. job in 2010), with Bill Richardson committed to the presidential contest, Udall would/should be the overwhelming favorite against any GOP candidate (the field includes Heather Wilson, Domenici's heir-apparent/little laptop, and Steve Pearce, the Bushevik-loyalist incumbent in NM-1). Polls show Udall winning handily over ANY GOP candidate.
Amid cheers of "Run, Tom, Run," at this weekend's Democratic Party of New Mexico's State Central Committee meeting at CNM's Smith-Brasher Hall in Albuquerque, Udall was both coy and temporizing: "Bottom line: Udall will take another two weeks to listen to what the people and his family have to say, and weigh the pros and cons of giving up his secure U.S. House seat in Northern New Mexico before making a decision on entering the 2008 U.S. Senate in New Mexico."
The decision is difficult for Udall, scion of a noted Western family of environmentalist ranchers that includes both his brother, his father, and his uncle. His father, Stewart Udall, was elected four times to Congress before being appointed Secretary of the Interior by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Tom's uncle Morris ("Mo") Udall served in Congress for 30 years and was a major presidential contender in 1976. Representative Mark Udall (D-CO) and Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) are Tom's cousins and current members of Congress. He won his current seat with 75% of the votes, a sufficient margin to mark it as a sinecure, should he wish to remain in the House, where his influence, due to his environmental credentials, is certain to increase, especially should a Democrat win the presidency this year.
There are clips from the weekend meeting, and excerpts from Udall's address up at "DemocracyForNewMexico.com.