United States Senate election in New Mexico, 2008
50–60% 60–70% 70–80% 80–90%
50–60% 60–70% 70–80%
|Elections in New Mexico|
The 2008 United States Senate election in New Mexico was held on November 4, 2008 coinciding with the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Pete Domenici decided to retire instead of seeking a seventh term. All three of New Mexico's U.S. Representatives (Tom Udall, Steve Pearce, and Heather Wilson) chose to retire from the U.S. House of Representatives in order to run for the seat. Pearce defeated Wilson in the Republican primary. Udall won the Democratic primary unopposed and won the general election. Udall's win ended 36 years of Republican control of this seat.
In February 2007 Domenici indicated his intention to run for re-election. By October 2007, he changed his mind, stating that because of the progression of a medical condition, he would not seek a seventh term. Domenici also lost his chairmanship after Republicans lost control of the Senate in the 2006 Senate election, which may have inclined him against running. On June 3, 2008 Pearce and Udall won their respective nomination contests.
- Tom Udall, U.S. Representative
After Domenici announced he was not running, Democratic Governor Bill Richardson was considered a leading candidate for the seat, but in October he affirmed his commitment to his presidential nomination campaign.
In October Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez entered the race for the Democratic nomination. In early November five-term Democratic Rep. Tom Udall entered the race. On December 7 Chavez withdrew from the race, saying "While I deeply appreciate all the support I have received, it has become very clear to me that Democrats should not be divided in the upcoming election."
|Source||Date||Pearce (R)||Wilson (R)|
|SurveyUSA||November 16–18, 2007||37%||56%|
|SurveyUSA||May 15, 2008||49%||46%|
In February 2008 CQ Politics changed the rating of the election from 'No Clear Favorite' to 'Leans Democratic' citing polls. In June, Senator John Ensign of Nevada, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, considered New Mexico to be one of the top ten most competitive Senate races. At the end of August, The Cook Political Report rated the race as 'Lean Democratic'. At the end of September, The Rothenberg Political Report rated the race 'Likely Takeover'.
In late October Pearce made 130,000 automated phone calls, which led Wilson to "cry foul." At issue was Pearce's use of the phone calls to justify his opposition to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill. The Wilson campaign claimed that "Pearce violated House ethics by urging those he called to contact him through his official, non-campaign phone number or check out his official, non-campaign Web site."
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) attempted to defend 23 Senate seats up for election in November. Committee chair Senator John Ensign identified the 10 most competitive Republican seats in June 2008. He was asked about the two Republican seats most likely to turn Democratic, Virginia and New Mexico. Ensign did not directly say whether the NRSC was considering walking away to work on other seats that can be won, but he said, "You don’t waste money on races that don’t need it or you can’t win."
Udall raised more than $801,000 prior to November 29. Wilson had slightly less, including a November Washington fundraiser with Vice President Dick Cheney that netted $110,000, bringing her total to about $750,000.
The candidates agreed to three televised debates: October 15 on KOB-TV, October 18 on KRQE and October 26 on KOAT-TV. The AARP co-sponsored the second debate and the Albuquerque Journal co-sponsored the final debate. They also appeared together on Meet the Press in the fall.
Pearce (R) v Udall (D)
|Source||Date||Pearce (R)||Udall (D)|
|SurveyUSA||October 5–7, 2007||37%||55%|
|Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates||October 23–27, 2007||33%||50%|
|SurveyUSA||October 27–30, 2007||40%||56%|
|Research 2000||November 5–7, 2007||37%||54%|
|SurveyUSA||November 16–18, 2007||40%||54%|
|New Mexico State University||February 11, 2008||31%||53%|
|Rasmussen Reports||February 29, 2008||42%||50%|
|Rasmussen Reports||April 10, 2008||40%||54%|
|Rasmussen Reports||May 14, 2008||37%||53%|
|SurveyUSA||May 15, 2008||36%||60%|
|Rasmussen Reports||July 24, 2008||35%||61%|
|Rasmussen Reports||August 20, 2008||44%||52%|
|Rasmussen Reports||September 8, 2008||44%||51%|
|Survey USA||September 16, 2008||41%||56%|
|Public Policy Polling||September 19, 2008||37%||57%|
|Survey USA||September 29–30, 2008||39%||58%|
|Rasmussen Reports||October 1, 2008||41%||55%|
|Survey USA||October 13, 2008||40%||58%|
|Rasmussen Reports||October 13, 2008||37%||57%|
|Rasmussen Reports||October 28, 2008||41%||56%|
|Survey USA||October 31, 2008||42%||56%|
|Democratic gain from Republican||Swing|
- Talhelm, Jennifer (February 13, 2007). "Domenici: 'I am running' in 2008". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved February 14, 2007.
- Murray, Shailagh (October 5, 2007). "Citing Health, GOP's Domenici says he'll retire from Senate". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 5, 2007.
- Election.KOB.com – Pearce narrowly wins U.S. Senate nomination
- "Richardson Sticks with Presidential Bid". The New York Times. Associated Press. October 4, 2008. Retrieved October 5, 2008.
- "Chavez announces U.S. Senate run". KOB-TV. October 9, 2007. Retrieved November 18, 2007.
- "NM Rep. Tom Udall to Run for Senate". Associated Press. November 11, 2007. Archived from the original on November 12, 2007. Retrieved November 11, 2007.
- "Chávez drops out of U. S. Senate race". KRQE-TV. December 7, 2007. Archived from the original on January 10, 2008. Retrieved December 18, 2007.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 14, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
- "Democratic Udall Running Strong in New Mexico Senate Race". CQ Politics. February 11, 2008. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
- Race Ratings Chart: Senate Archived October 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. CQ Politics
- Kate Phillips, G.O.P. Leader Maps Senate Elections The New York Times, June 13, 2008
- 2008 Senate Race Chart The Cook Race Ratings, August 21, 2008
- 2008 Senate Ratings The Rothenberg Political Report, September 14, 2008
- "Wilson, Possibly Udall To Seek Domenici's Senate Seat". The Gate. October 4, 2008. Retrieved October 18, 2007.
- "Pearce calls voters, Wilson cries foul". KOB. October 22, 2007. Retrieved November 18, 2007.
- "Senate hopefuls don't inspire". Alamogordo Daily News. October 31, 2007. Retrieved November 18, 2007.
- Davis, Susan (June 12, 2008). "Sen. Ensign Says GOP Majority Would Be 'Fairly Miraculous'". Wall Street Journal blog.
- "Ten things to know about Senate hopeful Rep. Tom Udall". Albuquerque Tribune. November 29, 2007. Archived from the original on December 24, 2007. Retrieved December 11, 2007.
- "Wilson pulls $110,000 at Cheney fundraiser". The Hill. November 16, 2007. Retrieved December 11, 2007.
- Senate candidates agree on 3 NM televised debates AP, August 17, 2008
- Elections from the New Mexico Secretary of State
- U.S. Congress candidates for New Mexico at Project Vote Smart
- New Mexico, U.S. Senate from CQ Politics
- New Mexico U.S. Senate from OurCampaigns.com
- New Mexico U.S. Senate race from 2008 Race Tracker
- Campaign contributions from OpenSecrets.org
- Pearce (R) vs Udall (D) graph of multiple polls from Pollster.com
- Official campaign websites