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July 1, 2004
Richardson: No Thanks

Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico publicly withdrew his name from consideration in the Kerry Veepstakes this evening, in a letter sent to Kerry's campaign office. Richardson, one of the most recognizable Hispanic officeholders in the nation, had originally promised to stay in office for his entire term as governor, he explained:

Richardson said he wants to keep a promise to the people of New Mexico to serve a full, four-year term and noted that Kerry has "numerous experienced and talented leaders" from which to choose a vice presidential candidate.

"It is with that knowledge and comfort that I must tell you that I respectfully remove myself from the selection process and withdraw my name from consideration for the vice presidential nomination," Richardson said.

I was just discussing Richardson's potential with the Elder and Saint Paul at Keegan's this evening, where the duo invited me to fill in on their regular Thursday trivia contests. (We tied for first, but only because we got robbed on a question about filibusters.) Richardson not only brings real centrist credentials, but also critical experience in foreign policy and federal government. Richardson is widely considered to be noncontroversial and intelligent, and his understated speaking style would have provided a nice counterpoint to Kerry's broad oratorical style. Plus, he would have brought executive experience to the ticket, something Kerry sorely lacks.

Why did Richardson take himself out? You could take his word that he wanted to complete his term, but his constituency would probably not have been all that unhappy to have their state represented in the national election. His tenure at the Energy Department may have had something to do with it, as the Wen Ho Lee investigation was conducted mostly under his watch, as well as the security problems at Los Alamos. I still think he would have easily overcome both issues and could have been formidable as a candidate, and would have been the easy choice to help Kerry capture the Hispanic vote.

Something tells me that he saw something he didn't like when he met with Kerry. This chance likely won't come around for Richardson in the future, as either Kerry will be running for re-election in 2008 or Hillary will be running to replace Bush then. Something also tells me, given Richardson's discretion and demeanor, that we'll never know for sure.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 1, 2004 10:19 PM

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