Denish: Congressional run is ‘still on the table’


Former Lt. Gov. Diane Denish (Photo by Heath Haussamen)

Former Lt. Gov. Diane Denish says she’s still considering running for the 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by Martin Heinrich.

“It’s still on the table,” Denish told today.

Several sources had told that Denish, a Democrat, decided against running, but they’re apparently wrong. was the first to report in April that Denish and former Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez were considering running for the congressional seat. The two heavy-hitters would dramatically change the race.

On the Democratic side, State Sen. Eric Griego of Albuquerque is the only declared candidate, and he’s been gathering support from the progressive wing of the party lately. Terry Brunner, U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman’s former state director who now heads USDA Rural Development in New Mexico, says he’s also considering running.

On the Republican side, Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis is running, and former gubernatorial candidate and state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones of Albuquerque has formed an exploratory committee. Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2010, is considering joining the race.

Denish said there is “a lot of assessing the district that has to go on,” and said she expects “a lot of activity in the next 60-90 days.” She gave no timeframe for when she might decide whether to run.

“What I’m factoring in is what I want to do, and do I want to run?” Denish said. “Could I serve the district in a way that would be smart and meaningful? Is that the best spot for me?”

“I’m pretty comfortable with how I could run,” she said.

Heinrich is vacating the U.S. House seat to run for the Senate seat Bingaman is vacating.

5 thoughts on “Denish: Congressional run is ‘still on the table’

  1. @justaUNMstudent

    Have you ever been to Diane’s home? I am guessing not. As someone who has she does not live in a mansion, far from it but sure it is a nice home. Perhaps sharing your views about Diane’s policy or your policy ideas in general would be more useful rather than trying to attack her success in life . . . oh and just because someone is from Hobbs doesn’t mean they are an oil tycoon or were ever even in the oil business.

  2. Diane Denish would definitely be a “heavy weight” with a lot to offer, though she it will be tough to overcome the paint job Martinez’s campaign colored her with. If she enters the race, and did a great job of recasting herself, she’d have a very good shot at winning against any Republican in this District. Eric Griego is being unfairly painted as “left wing,” based in large part on his advocacy work for children and the needy – since when is caring about children and the needy automatically a “left” value? No one would say “right wingers” automatically discount the needs of children and the needy. He starts with a big hurdle to overcome, but with a potentially large funding base. On the third hand Terry Brunner would bring in a “non-career politician” aspect to the race. The one time he did run for a political office, against then-heavyweight Pauline Gubbels who had City Council experience and was the incumbent in the conservative state House district, he nearly squeeked out an upset. It’s getting interesting!

  3. Seems that a look at how she did vs Martinez within the 1st Congressional district would be a good start. Bern. County went only slightly for Martinez so I would think she has a decent chance if she wins the nomination. She needs to do something 😛

  4. Diane,

    When you ran for governor, you believed that you could represent the interests of New Mexicans. You lost, so presumably New Mexicans did not think that you could represent their interests.

    If you run for the Senate, you believe that you can represent the interests of the state of New Mexico. You have little basis for this belief.

    You are a very nice woman, but you lack the temperament of a leader, the energy of an advocate, or the independence of a thinker.

    I suggest that, if you have grandchildren, you spend more time with them.