Retirement rumors loom over senator with Attorneys-linked ethics problem
The Associated Press today reports on rumors that Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM), one of two members of Congress in possible ethical trouble for allegedly contacting the U.S. Attorney in New Mexico to discuss grand jury proceedings, may retire. But the senator's staff pointed to the ample money he has raised as evidence he won't quit.
"Down the road, as the election comes — will questions about his health or the [U.S. attorney] story hurt his campaign?" asked University of New Mexico political science professor Lonna Atkeson in an interview with the AP.
At a recent banquet in Albuquerque, the New Mexico Republican apparently "called recent weeks 'hell' like he had never experienced his entire career."
Since an ethics complaint was filed against the senator in February for calling U.S. Attorney David Iglesias prior to the November 2006 elections and inquiring about the status of grand jury proceedings in a political fraud case, Democrats have seen an opportunity to defeat the longtime Republican senator, comparing him with Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), who was linked to the Abramoff scandal.
"Senators in his peer group have lost elections in less competitive states," New Mexico state Democratic Party spokesman Matt Farrauto told the AP. "The window of opportunity has been pried open much wider."
New Mexico's other U.S. senator, Jeff Bingaman, and its governor, Bill Richardson, are both Democrats. President George W. Bush won the state's electoral votes by a narrow margin in 2004.
But Domenici's campaign would not comment on the rumors, and continued to raise money, with $393,786 raised since January and a total of $541,116 in the bank as the AP reports.
The full AP article can be accessed at this link.