Should we begin the countdown?

-A A +A
By Ralph Damiani

While Gov. Bill Richardson is not saying anything, Barack Obama’s victory suits him just fine. See, it seems very clear that he is in line to be part of that administration – the only question is when?

Our Democratic governor refused to discuss the subject, saying: “I’m happy as governor of New Mexico, I’m planning my legislative agenda and I don’t want to comment any further.”

But this is only skin deep, as they say. He cannot seek re-election to his favorite job and he is far too ambitious to just fade away in two years.

So it is not a question of if but when he will step back to the Washington scene and what job he will get from President Obama.

And Obama does owe him.

He backed him again Hillary Clinton when that race was in doubt, despite long and deep ties to the Clintons.

He helped deliver the Hispanic vote to Obama, something that helped him win the White House.

But for now Richardson won’t say whether he expected to be part of an Obama transition team or have a position in the new Democratic administration. But surely he knows that he is in line.

And that he will go.

One of the key signs is that he is once again clean-shaven – his beard of 10 months came off Monday.

And note as the nation’s only Hispanic governor, Richardson has a resume that lands him on lists of likely candidates for all sorts of positions.

A longtime diplomatic troubleshooter, he served in the Clinton administration as energy secretary and as ambassador to the United Nations after leaving the U.S. House.

He ran for the Democratic nomination for president, endorsing Obama after he dropped out.

Over the past several months, Richardson has bounced around to at least 19 states campaigning for the Illinois senator, whose election he called “enormously significant.”

So maybe we should be discussing what a Gov. Diane Denish administration will be like as she takes over if Bill bolts.

The Legislature convenes Jan. 20 – the day Obama will be inaugurated.

So the question to ask, is in which seat will Richardson be sitting in on Jan. 21?