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Campaign ‘02 echoes in campaign ‘10

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By Hal Rhodes

Thousands of New Mexicans have become eligible to vote since the election of 2002, which made a former congressman, U.N. ambassador and U.S. energy secretary governor of the state of New Mexico.

Many of those potential new voters were just kids — 10, 11, 12 years old — eight years ago, and it’s safe to assume that few were aware of the personalities and political forces that took Bill Richardson to the state’s highest office.

Nonetheless, it was one of the more interesting gubernatorial campaigns in recent state history.

Richardson came to the 2002 Democratic nomination for governor over what some observers at the time thought to be the politically dead body of his principal rival for that honor, fellow Democrat Gary King. In short order, King proved otherwise by winning election to the office of state attorney general.

Today, with but seven months remaining in his second term, the Richardson era nears its end.

Yet among the fascinations of the 2010 New Mexico election are echoes still reverberating from the 2002 campaign that started Bill Richardson’s eight-year sojourn atop the fourth floor at the Roundhouse.


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