Oct 3, 2007

A blast from the past


Is Pete Domenici Ready for Prime Time?

Last week I took a gander at the potential for a real race for Senate in New Mexico this cycle due to the rumors that incumbent Republican Pete Domenici is on his way to retirement despite his statements otherwise. In short, there are a number of reasons why one might believe (as many do) that Domenici will opt not to run again, opening up a strong pick-up opportunity for the Democrats. But if my post were not enough to convince you that something might be up with Sen. Domenici, perhaps this report from Roll Call's Mary Ann Akers (sorry, subscription required) might make you change your mind (h/t Wonkette).

Pajama Party ... or Not. We had a number of reports Friday that Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) was wandering the halls of Senate office buildings in his jammies.

Two staffers said they saw the Senator wearing "tartan" or "buffalo plaid" pajama bottoms and a "loose-fitting shirt." By the end of the day, one informant called to say she heard Domenici was walking around in his boxers. But by that point, we already had spoken to the Senator, who assured us, "These aren't pajamas! They're hunting pants!"

These are not the actions of someone who is tasked with running for reelection over the next two years as is Sen. Domenici, who is quoted as saying, "I'm still going to run again, and win again." Make no mistake: this is not a mere Ted Stevens wearing an Incredible Hulk tie, this is a Senator potentially ambling around the halls of Congress in only his underwear. If this isn't a borderline Jim Bunning moment, I don't know what is. And though Bunning was able to ride George W. Bush's long coattails to a narrow victory over a largely unknown state senator in 2004, Domenici will not likely have as much cover from the 2008 Republican nominee (regardless of who he is) given the more even partisan balance in New Mexico.


Anonymous said...

You are remembered by the last note of the last song you play. Domenici will be remembered for trying to help turn LANL into a plutonium pit factory by his attempts to convince Congress to throw more money in the direction of the Bechtel-led LANS, LLC management team.

A pretty sour note to go out on.

On a brighter note, he can now have as many pajama parties as he wants to.

Anonymous said...

Pete was also the force behind congress' creation of NNSA.

Anonymous said...

Seems the news made MSNBC. He will make an announcement tomorrow, Thursday. They also mention that Udall has his eye on the "prize." Aren't we lucky!!!!

Anonymous said...

Every two-bit hick politician in NM will have his/her "eye on the prize". However, don't forget Dominici will be in office until January 2009. Lame duck or not, he will still have his powerfull committee assignments. Look for some "go for broke" bold actions on his part to try to reclaim his "St. Pete" rep.

BTW - there is still time for Bill Richardson to lose the Dem nomination and turn around on the new "prize". Don't say I didn't warn you.

Anonymous said...

Sen Pete Domenici is NOT going to run for re-election. The article can be found @ cnn.com/politics. I would provide the url but the blog does not allow it.

Anonymous said...

Here is the article.....

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Veteran Republican Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico will announce Thursday that he will not seek re-election to a seventh term next year, opening up another competitive seat for the GOP to defend, three Republican sources told CNN on Wednesday.

Republican Pete Domenici is the longest-serving senator in New Mexico's history.

Domenici, 75, will make his retirement announcement in New Mexico, the sources said. He was first elected to the Senate in 1972.

The departure of Domenici is another blow to Republican chances of retaking the Senate in 2008, and it forces the GOP to defend another seat in a state where Democrats are highly competitive.

Sitting Republican senators in Virginia, Colorado and Nebraska have also announced their retirements, and Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho, caught up in a sex scandal, has said he won't seek re-election. He may leave the Senate sooner if his battle to overturn a guilty plea to a disorderly conduct charge isn't successful.

In order to regain control of the Senate, Republicans must make a net gain of just two seats. However, they are defending 22 seats -- including the five open seats -- while Democrats have just 12 to defend. While Democrats haven't won a Senate seat in Idaho in more than 30 years, the open races in New Mexico, Virginia, Colorado and Nebraska are likely to be competitive.

Domenici, the longest-serving senator in New Mexico's history, hasn't faced a competitive challenge to his seat in 30 years. However, in recent months, he has come under scrutiny for his role in the controversy over the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, including David Iglesias of the District of New Mexico.

Iglesias has said Domenici called him before the 2006 midterm elections to ask about the progress of a corruption investigation involving Democrats. The prosecutor has said he felt the senator was trying to pressure him to bring down indictments before the election, and Iglesias believes he was dismissed a month later for refusing to expedite the case.

Domenici has admitted calling Iglesias, but he has denied trying to influence the investigation.

In his years in the Senate, Domenici has served as the chairman of the Budget Committee, as well as the Energy Committee, where he is now the panel's ranking Republican.

Pinky and The Brain said...

The Washington Post mentions Domenici's planned retirement. Thanks to the readers who emailed it to me. I haven't yet decided whether to post this or wait until its official in the morning.