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New Mexico losing its only true leader

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By The Staff

New Mexico needs a franchise quarterback. Someone who can think deep, throw long, shake off the sack, rally the troops, charge ahead.

We're down by a field goal with 54 seconds on the clock. Who's going to take time out, devise a strategy, march us down the field?

We're not talking football here. This isn't about the Lobos or Aggies. This is about the government shutting down Cannon, cutting back at Los Alamos, shaving jobs at WIPP, withholding homeland security law enforcement funds from Farmington.

For more than 30 years Pete Domenici has been strapping on his shoulder pads, slapping on a helmet, leading the state to victory.

And now, beset by health problems and the vagaries of older age, the senator is going to step down and enjoy the rest he deserves.

Such a void. Not that New Mexico is left without players. We are fortunate to harness the services of Jeff Bingaman, an intellectually astute and effective senator of many years.

But make no mistake, it is Pete Domenici who has risen to icon status in our state.

The draft field does not look particularly promising. Unless Bill Richardson opts out of the presidential race and joins the Senate fray, the Democrats don't have a candidate with statewide heft.

And an exchange between two prominent Republican candidates signals we are in for a campaign of pettiness.