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Richardson to Seek N.M. Governorship

Politics: The Clinton Energy chief and former U.N. ambassador plans to join the battle for the Democratic nomination, an aide says.

January 04, 2002|From Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE — Former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson will seek the Democratic nomination for governor of New Mexico, an aide said Thursday.

"You can be 100% sure he's going to be announcing for governor," said Richardson's senior advisor, David Contarino.

Richardson, 54, will make his formal announcement Jan. 12, Contarino said.

Richardson represented northern New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District for 14 years. He was tapped to head the Energy Department in 1998, making him one of the highest-ranking Latinos in the Clinton administration. Richardson also served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

In June, he joined Kissinger McLarty Associates, a Washington-based advisory company headed by former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, as senior managing director.

Richardson took the helm of the Energy Department at the start of a string of security scandals at U.S. nuclear weapon labs, including the imprisonment of Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Wen Ho Lee. Lee eventually pleaded guilty to one count of mishandling nuclear data.

Richardson has said another security lapse at Los Alamos--the disappearance and reappearance of two hard drives in the lab's top-secret X Division--hurt his chances of being Al Gore's vice presidential candidate in 2000.

Two Democrats have already announced they'll run for the party's nomination in the June 4 primary: state Land Commissioner Ray Powell and former state Rep. Gary King.

Gov. Gary Johnson, a Republican, is completing a second term and can't run again.

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