Bingaman retires, Napolitano out in 2012 Senate contests

posted at 2:15 pm on February 18, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

First, the bad news for Democrats.  Another seat that they hoped to defend with a relatively moderate incumbent will instead go open in a state that has grown more Republican.  Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) will end his Senate career at four terms:

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, the chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, announced Friday he will not seek a fifth term. The New Mexico Democrat’s announcement complicates the efforts of Democrats to hold the Senate’s majority in 2012.

In 2008, Democrats won the other New Mexico Senate seat when Tom Udall won the open seat from retiring Republican incumbent Pete Domenici.  Udall rode Barack Obama’s coattails to victory, but since then, Republicans have surged in the state.  Susana Martinez easily won her gubernatorial election over Democrat Diane Denish to become the nation’s first Latina governor in 2010.

And now for the, er, further bad news for Democrats.  The retirement of Jon Kyl in Arizona gave Democrats an outside shot at a pickup next year, when they have to defend 23 seats to just 10 for Republicans.  However, the last Democrat to win as Governor won’t run in the Senate race, leaving Democrats with few options:

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will not seek the seat being vacated by Sen.Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), a decision that increases the uncertainty in a prospective Democratic field in which no clear front-runner has emerged. The news was first reported by the AP.

“Secretary Napolitano told senior Democratic Party leaders earlier this week that she will not seek Arizona’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2012,” DHS spokesperson Sean Smith said in a statement issued Friday. “She cares deeply about Arizona, but the Secretary intends to continue doing the job that the President asked her to do — protecting the American people from terrorism and other threats to our country. She’s focused on continuing to strengthen our counter-terrorism initiatives, border security, immigration enforcement, transportation and cyber security, and disaster preparedness.”

Former state Democratic Party chair Jim Pederson, another prominent Democrat whose name had been mentioned as a possible candidate, also said earlier this week that he will not run.

Jeff Flake has already announced his campaign to run for the Republican nomination, and the Club for Growth immediately endorsed him.  He has a national presence as well as a well-known name statewide, thanks to his efforts to fight government spending.  Democrats have mentioned Gabrielle Giffords as a potential rival, but it’s unclear whether she will be well enough to return to her current job before the next election, let alone campaign for the Senate.  With the 2012 election expected to be hard fought, a Senate race would be particularly grueling, especially for someone in physical rehabilitation.  While we all hope that Giffords recovers enough to be able to choose such a path, it’s more likely that she will focus on her district if she chooses to run for office at all in 2012.

Even the good news for Democrats in 2012 seems to keep turning sour.


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I don’t see how she could possibly win, even in her home state, after her performance as DHS secretary.

NotCoach on February 18, 2011 at 2:19 PM

Ugh. That Napolitano guy sure is an ugly dude.

fossten on February 18, 2011 at 2:19 PM

Yes, Janet always had a lock on that seat so it is a shame she won’t run for it.

roy_batty on February 18, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Thats a Bleed’n Progressive Pity,only in
Lefty America,I tells ya,its a Feely/Touchy
Shame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on February 18, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, the chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, announced Friday he will not seek a fifth term. The New Mexico Democrat’s announcement complicates the efforts of Democrats to hold the Senate’s majority in 2012.

Is this the opportunity for former Governor Bill Richardson to make a comeback?

Who would the Republicans run in New Mexico?

Steve Z on February 18, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Yea no nappy!!!!!

cmsinaz on February 18, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Napolitano running in Arizona was a non-starter. She’d seriously pissed off the state over immigration during her last years as Governor and once she took over at Homeland Security.

Tim Kaine’s chances of winning in Virginia were already low BEFORE he started getting the teacher’s unions outside of Wisconsin to start illegally striking on behalf of the DNC and Obama.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

They’re going to be playing defense on too many seats, especially since there are some notoriously weak candidates out there. McCaskill, Tester, both Nelsons, and Sherrod Brown are all in danger, not even going into the open seats in other states.

Looks like we’re going to be going from a filibuster-proof majority for the Dems in 2008 to a near-filibuster proof majority for the Republicans in a span of 4 years.

teke184 on February 18, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Democrats have mentioned Gabrielle Giffords as a potential rival, but it’s unclear whether she will be well enough to return to her current job before the next election, let alone campaign for the Senate.

Irrelevant, the ‘rats will prop Giffords up on stage if they have to, IV’s and all, while her weeping family stand behind urging everyone to vote for her. Never let a victim go to waste.

Bishop on February 18, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Ugh. That Napolitano guy sure is an ugly dude.

fossten on February 18, 2011 at 2:19 PM

fossten:Related to Kagan me thinks!!(sarc).

canopfor on February 18, 2011 at 2:21 PM

fossten:Related to Kagan me thinks!!(sarc).

canopfor on February 18, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Kagan looks like Kevin Spacey in drag.

teke184 on February 18, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Canopfor is back :)

cmsinaz on February 18, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Tru dat bishop

cmsinaz on February 18, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Wasn’t Napolitano pushing so hard for a cabinet seat specifically because she was being run out of Arizona? Why would anyone back her?

Rocks on February 18, 2011 at 2:24 PM

The Giffords option is grotesque.

Schadenfreude on February 18, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Kagan looks like Kevin Spacey in drag.

teke184 on February 18, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Wow, that’s a little hard on Spacey don’t you think?

Rocks on February 18, 2011 at 2:25 PM

I think Richardson will definitely go for it in NM. It will be a bloodbath on the Dems side.

Rocks on February 18, 2011 at 2:26 PM

I like her haircut. Creates a faint aura of mature eroticism without appearing overly bold. Quite compelling.

a capella on February 18, 2011 at 2:26 PM

Why does every HotAir blog on this subject ignore the fact that Sheriff Joe leads in polling? Not one mention. Instead, you whitewash that info and continue to push the Jeff Flake nonsense.

HotAir is getting as bad as the MSM as far as ignoring stories that don’t support their wishes, or mocking them.

Gregor on February 18, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Who would the Republicans run in New Mexico?

Steve Z on February 18, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Names mentioned so far:
Bill English
Steve Pearce
Greg Sowards
Heather Wilson

steebo77 on February 18, 2011 at 2:28 PM

Who would the Republicans run in New Mexico?

Steve Z on February 18, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Names mentioned so far:
Bill English

steebo77 on February 18, 2011 at 2:28 PM

Who would the Republicans run in New Mexico?

Steve Z on February 18, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Names mentioned so far:
Steve Pearce

steebo77 on February 18, 2011 at 2:28 PM

Who would the Republicans run in New Mexico?

Steve Z on February 18, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Names mentioned so far:
Greg Sowards

steebo77 on February 18, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Who would the Republicans run in New Mexico?

Steve Z on February 18, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Names mentioned so far:
Heather Wilson

steebo77 on February 18, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Kagan looks like Kevin Spacey in drag.

teke184 on February 18, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Wow, that’s a little hard on Spacey don’t you think?

Rocks on February 18, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Yeah no kidding; Spacey is one of my fav actors.

fossten on February 18, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Ugh. That Napolitano guy sure is an ugly dude.

fossten on February 18, 2011 at 2:19 PM

You know, I’ve always thought Johnny Napolitano reminded me of someone. I finally figured out who it is. The Queen of Hearts from the animated Alice In Wonderland movie.

Doughboy on February 18, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Gregor@2:27,
Has Joe said he would run yet? He is a great sheriff and would probably be good in dc also.
L

letget on February 18, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Why does every HotAir blog on this subject ignore the fact that Sheriff Joe leads in polling?

The one thing I hold against Sheriff Joe is his age. He’s in his 80s, IIRC, so it would mean he’s not going to be there a long time unless he pulls a Strom Thurmond / “Sheets” Byrd and leaves office feet-first.

teke184 on February 18, 2011 at 2:30 PM

I think Richardson will definitely go for it in NM. It will be a bloodbath on the Dems side.

Rocks on February 18, 2011 at 2:26 PM

Where is old Dollar Bill living these days? Not that he ever let a residency requirement interfere with his running for office.

mchristian on February 18, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Irrelevant, the ‘rats will prop Giffords up on stage if they have to, IV’s and all, while her weeping family stand behind urging everyone to vote for her. Never let a victim go to waste.

Bishop on February 18, 2011 at 2:21 PM

What a vile and cynical thing to suggest…and exactly what the Democrats would think to do first.

SKYFOX on February 18, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Ugh. That Napolitano guy sure is an ugly dude.

fossten on February 18, 2011 at 2:19 PM

LOL… And that’s a good pic of her. Take a gander at this one!

Rae on February 18, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Yea no nappy!!!!!

cmsinaz on February 18, 2011 at 2:21 PM

cmsinaz:Lol,No Large and In-Charge!!:)

canopfor on February 18, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Janet was part of a team that declared war on the state you used to lead… polls saying the bill was overwhelmingly popular with Arizonans… Janet might have supported it herself had she been governor…

When you declare war like the Whitehouse has and Janet is the turncoat… She practically called all Arizonans racists.

I thought her popularity was all used up.

I suspected she had burned her bridges… this decision confirms that.

petunia on February 18, 2011 at 2:35 PM

fossten on February 18, 2011 at 2:19 PM
==================
LOL… And that’s a good pic of her. Take a gander at this one!

Rae on February 18, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Rae:She looks happy,haha!

canopfor on February 18, 2011 at 2:35 PM

That dog won’t hunt.

Electrongod on February 18, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Ugh. That Napolitano guy sure is an ugly dude.

fossten on February 18, 2011 at 2:19 PM

I’m convinced that she’s Frank Luntz’s sister. Or they’re the same person–you never see them together. They definitely have the same haircut.

BuckeyeSam on February 18, 2011 at 2:37 PM

canopfor on February 18, 2011 at 2:21 PM
================
Kagan looks like Kevin Spacey in drag.

teke184 on February 18, 2011 at 2:23 PM

teke184:Hehe,ahem,could be!!

canopfor on February 18, 2011 at 2:37 PM

That dog won’t hunt.

Electrongod on February 18, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Electrongod:Oh my,and it won’t move either!!

canopfor on February 18, 2011 at 2:38 PM

:) Canopfor

cmsinaz on February 18, 2011 at 2:42 PM

Kagan looks like Kevin Spacey Rosie O’Donnell in drag.

teke184 on February 18, 2011 at 2:23 PM

FIFY ;D

Laura in Maryland on February 18, 2011 at 2:42 PM

Canopfor is back :)

cmsinaz on February 18, 2011 at 2:23 PM

cmsinaz:I go AWOL,for a few days,and Bahrain is slaughtering
the ingrates,

and the DNC,through the Obama Regime,are running a
Kaos/Anarchy/Mob Operation in Wisconsin,similar to
the Egyptian Uprising!!:)

canopfor on February 18, 2011 at 2:42 PM

O/T Breaking,from Drudge!

Looks like Leftys are goin
after Leftys!!

==========================

Nampa police: Tom Luna threatened, vehicle vandalized
NAMPA — Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna’s vehicle was vandalized overnight at his Nampa home and he and his family have received threats, he told police.

“Yes, he has made us aware of threats to him and family members and we are looking into those, and we are aware of those, and we are doing what we can to provide protection,” Nampa Police Deputy Chief Craig Kingsbury said.

http://www.idahopress.com/news/article_44f83a1a-3921-11e0-ace1-001cc4c002e0.html
==========================

Tom Luna

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Luna

canopfor on February 18, 2011 at 2:48 PM

That dude Napolitano got clobbered with the ugly stick. That was a hate crime level beating.

search4truth on February 18, 2011 at 2:50 PM

There’s a New Mexico?!

YYZ on February 18, 2011 at 2:52 PM

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) will end his Senate career at four terms:

I consider myself pretty well informed, but I simply have never heard that name before. At least I’m not from NM.

pedestrian on February 18, 2011 at 2:53 PM

This is from Daily Kos, so caveats and all:

PPP polled this race in mid-February and found two non-Bingaman Democrats, Reps Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan, solidly leading two potential Republican opponents (former Reps. Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson) and trailing only former Gov. Gary Johnson, who appears to be pursuing a Presidential bid:

Public Policy Polling. 2/4-6. Registered voters. MoE 4.2%.
Martin Heinrich (D) 50
Heather Wilson (R) 39

Ben R. Lujan (D) 48
Heather Wilson (R) 40

Martin Heinrich (D) 53
Steve Pearce (R) 38

Ben R. Lujan (D) 49
Steve Pearce (R) 37

Gary Johnson (R) 44
Martin Heinrich (D) 43

Gary Johnson (R) 45
Ben R. Lujan (D) 40

YYZ on February 18, 2011 at 2:56 PM

No time off for you Canopfor, too much chaos

:)

cmsinaz on February 18, 2011 at 2:59 PM

She had no chance in AZ anyway!

Hard Right on February 18, 2011 at 3:01 PM

Agreed with all of the above. Only in the DC bubble would Napolitano be seen as a likely Dem pickup for AZ. Her tenure as The face of homeland security has badly hurt her electability.

azkag on February 18, 2011 at 3:03 PM

No time off for you Canopfor, too much chaos

:)

cmsinaz on February 18, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Word!

Laura in Maryland on February 18, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Her tenure as The face of homeland security has badly hurt her electability.

azkag on February 18, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Her tenure as the face of DHS has badly hurt my eyes.

steebo77 on February 18, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Heather Wilson would win by a long shot, everyone in NM hates Richardson including his own party, he has no chance.

There’s a New Mexico?

Yeah, Retardson tried turning New Mexico into Mexico with his sanctuary cities but Susana Martinez is turning that around.

SWChance on February 18, 2011 at 3:13 PM

“She cares deeply about Arizona, but the Secretary intends to continue doing the job that the President asked her to do — protecting the American people from terrorism and other threats to our country.

If she puts up the border fence, puts troops along the border to man the fence, and starts actively removing illegals from Arizona, all in the next year, she might have a shot. Otherwise, not a snowball’s chance in Nogales.

iurockhead on February 18, 2011 at 3:21 PM

No time off for you Canopfor, too much chaos

:)

cmsinaz on February 18, 2011 at 2:59 PM

cmsinaz:No sh*t,…stability with Bush for 8 years,and
Kaos,with Obama,and anachry…..nuts I say:)

canopfor on February 18, 2011 at 3:32 PM

cmsinaz on February 18, 2011 at 2:59 PM
===========
Word!

Laura in Maryland on February 18, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Laura in Maryland:Lol————:)

canopfor on February 18, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Is this the opportunity for former Governor Bill Richardson to make a comeback?

Who would the Republicans run in New Mexico?

Steve Z on February 18, 2011 at 2:20 PM

I thought he was being investigated for some possible wrongdoing. Did that end or is the investigation still active?

Red State State of Mind on February 18, 2011 at 3:38 PM

If Big Sis cared deeply for AZ she’d do what needs to be done – secure the border! This statement is just a graceful way for her to stay in DC because she knows damn well she’d never be elected here again.

GrannySunni on February 18, 2011 at 3:39 PM

I don’t think it’s a quesiton of her not wanting to run as much as it is the reality that she has so botched the DHS job and has blatantly lied about border security that he/she knows there is no way on earth she could win.

madmonkphotog on February 18, 2011 at 3:51 PM

Hmmmm. Bingamon might have heard that the recent GOP organizing caucuses in NM were very widely attended – by some reports four times as many GOPers gathered in the wards to elect party officers for the next 2 years.

I was just on the hphone with some GOP officers in NM yesterday. If those numbers are true, then the GOP in NM is going to be a much different party, and from the sounds of things, much stronger, too.

I wonder if there was a corresponding weakness in the DEM ward meetings in NM?

ElRonaldo on February 18, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Rocks on February 18, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Not to mention especially cruel to the dog.

chemman on February 18, 2011 at 4:31 PM

She could run and get a few votes. I’m sitting in my brother-in-law’s house right now.

Mirimichi on February 18, 2011 at 4:36 PM

I’m so glad Mr Napolitano will stay in DC to “focus on border security.”

leftnomore on February 18, 2011 at 4:41 PM

I don’t see how she could possibly win, even in her home state, after her performance as DHS secretary.

NotCoach on February 18, 2011 at 2:19 PM

It’s an easy three step process. 1) Bus in, register, and vote sixteen million illegals. 2) Label anyone who objects as “racist.” 3) Then have the DOJ block all investigations.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on February 18, 2011 at 4:50 PM

This is a transparent oldie but a goodie, I wonder if Napo is from Massachusetts? The template for this game rolls like this -

Hint or at least don’t deny, you may run for higher office when you know you haven’t got a hope and….. know the media will play along with this little fantasy.

A little while later, no more than 10 days and while still fresh peoples minds, announce you are where you are to work for the American People (substituted for People of the Commonwealth) and, that’s all you’ve ever wanted. In other words, selfless servitude is its own reward.

In meantime, burn up the phones looking for a provost or better, presidency slot at comfy ivy league. As soon as one is offered you lay rubber getting the h3ll out and never look back.

roy_batty on February 18, 2011 at 5:06 PM

I’m really sick of people who have no clue about AZ telling us who would win here.
Napalitano has no chance and Giffords a small one at best. She won’t be voted for out of sympathy. Certain qualifications matter in the district Kyl retired from and she doesn’t have them.

Hard Right on February 18, 2011 at 5:28 PM

From the AZ Republic re: Manet Napolitano

Napolitano is considered one of the Arizona Democrats’ biggest stars, although a recent statewide poll found her with an uncomfortably high unfavorable rating.

As for the Gabby G rumors, folks, the top of her skull is currently removed. She mouthing nursery rhymes. It’s miraculous and we pray for her recovery every day, but running for Seante starts now..not a year from now.

DrW on February 18, 2011 at 5:33 PM

Is this the opportunity for former Governor Bill Richardson to make a comeback?

Steve Z

Doubtful. He’d have to explain what kept him out of O’Bambi’s Cabinet in 2009. Maybe a non-payment of taxes like so many others?

honsy on February 18, 2011 at 6:06 PM

Doubtful. He’d have to explain what kept him out of O’Bambi’s Cabinet in 2009. Maybe a non-payment of taxes like so many others?

honsy on February 18, 2011 at 6:06 PM

Richardson has made jokes himself about the numbers of skeletons in his closet. He’s a non-starter.

slickwillie2001 on February 18, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Yes, the AZ Republic considers Napolitano one of the Arizona Democrats’ biggest stars. That tells you something about the quality of the Democratic talent pool in this state.

Also tells you about the quality of the reporting at the “financially troubled” AZ Republic.

azkag on February 18, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Billy Richardson isn’t exactly loved in these parts. Even the Democrats had it with his overt corruption in his last couple of years. He won’t attempt a run.

Hopefully Heather Wilson will run – she’s pretty well liked by everyone.

nmlaw2012 on February 18, 2011 at 10:30 PM

FYI everyone, Bill was operating quite the pay to play scandal here. He recently sealed all of his records for 8 years, which just beats the statute of limitations. He won’t stir up trouble for himself by exposing himself to public inquiry anytime soon. That said, he never got nailed with any criminal charges.

nmlaw2012 on February 18, 2011 at 10:38 PM

The Giffords option is grotesque.

Schadenfreude on February 18, 2011 at 2:25 PM

It’s the Democrats we’re talking about here.

They turned a Senator’s funeral into a campaign rally.

Would you really be surprised to see them roll out Giffords, even if she obviously can’t do the job, for Senate?

SuperCool on February 18, 2011 at 11:21 PM

Sorry folks — Napolitano is Dick Durbin’s twin sister, separated at birth.

Greyledge Gal on February 19, 2011 at 2:11 AM