Even before Rep. Heather Wilson (R) announced Friday that she would run for Senate next year, the Club for Growth urged voters in the Land of Enchantment to reject her candidacy on the grounds that she is a tax-and-spend liberal.
Wilson was the first new candidate in the Senate race since Sen. Pete Domenici (R) announced Thursday that he would not seek a seventh term.
“New Mexico voters expect a U.S. senator who supports lower taxes, less wasteful spending, and a ‘just say no’ attitude towards special interests giveaways,” Club for Growth President Pat Toomey said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Heather Wilson’s record in the House leaves a lot to be desired. Last time I checked, supporting tax hikes, pork projects, and other liberal policies is not the mark of an economic conservative.”
Although the club did not express a preference for another Republican candidate, Rep. Steve Pearce (R) also is considering whether to jump into the Senate race, and according to sources Friday he was expected to announce his decision today. State Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons (R) also is eyeing the race.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also did not waste any time attacking Wilson, pointing out that she voted with President Bush 85 percent of the time.
Among Democrats, Rep. Tom Udall formally removed himself from consideration in the Senate race Friday, saying he was looking forward to accumulating seniority in the House and on the Appropriations Committee. With Gov. Bill Richardson (D) also unlikely to run as he continues to wage his campaign for the White House, attention at press time Friday was focused on Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez (D) and former state Attorney General Patricia Madrid (D).
Wilson’s decision to run for Senate is sure to change the dynamic in her already competitive Albuquerque-based House district.
— David M. Drucker