Former New Mexico Rep. Wilson Considering Senate Bid

Posted January 3, 2011 at 3:41pm

Former Rep. Heather Wilson is considering running for Senate in New Mexico, giving the GOP a potential top-flight challenger to Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

“I am considering running for the Senate, as well as other opportunities,” Wilson told Roll Call on Monday. “A number of factors go into that. Ultimately it’s a decision about what is the best use of my talents and gifts.”

Bingaman has yet to announce whether he will seek a sixth term. First elected in 1982 after a term as state attorney general, Bingaman will be 69 by Election Day in 2012.

A spokeswoman said Bingaman always likes to take his time when deciding whether to run. Wilson just completed work heading the transition team for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, who was elected in November and on Monday became the nation’s first Latina governor.

Insiders from both parties have believed for months that Wilson was seriously considering a bid, but Wilson had previously declined to comment on her potential candidacy while serving in that role.

“I just finished chairing the transition, which ended at midnight on the 1st,” Wilson said. “While I was focused on that, I couldn’t be focused on my own future.”

Now that she can, Wilson said she has not set a timeline for making a decision. Wilson would likely face primary opposition — former Congressional candidate Greg Sowards and businessman Bill English are already in the race — but would enter the fray as the frontrunner.

The former Congresswoman was defeated in a close 2008 Republican Senate primary against then-Rep. Steve Pearce, who went on to lose to then-Rep. Tom Udall in the general election. Pearce will return to Congress this week after winning his old House seat in November.