The Democratic Governors Association released an open letter to the candidates running for chairman of the Democratic National Committee listing the five criteria the DGA will use to evaluate candidates. From the letter:
1) Real, measurable commitment to investing resources in winning gubernatorial and state legislative races in 2018 and 2020, years that will decide the fate of redistricting;
2) A commitment to investing in organizing in states with competitive gubernatorial and legislative races — not just in states with competitive presidential or congressional elections;
3) A commitment from the candidate to serving full time as chair;
4) Commitment to provide resources to state parties for organizing and communications staff; to provide technical assistance for redistricting; provide training and support to recruit and support next generation of Democratic leaders;
5) A commitment to working with Democratic governors and other state policy leaders on advancing policies that grow our economy and strengthen the middle class.
The first two points are especially critical for the party’s short and long-term rebuilding plans. First, congressional redistricting is four years away, and in order to redraw more favorable maps, Democrats need to control governorships and state legislatures. (South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison noted at the forum organized by the Ohio Democratic Party last week: “33 out of 50 governorships are controlled by Republicans, 69 out of 99 state houses are controlled by Republicans, but we only obsess about the White House.”) The fact that the Democrats’ 2017-2018 calendar is much better at the state level than at the congressional level gives this even greater urgency.
The second reason is that they need to rebuild their bench in a hurry so that a new post-Obama, post-Clinton generation of leaders can make their way up the ranks. Remember, Barack Obama was in the Illinois state senate for seven years before he was elected to the U.S. Senate, which became his springboard to the presidency four short years later.
According to the New Mexico Political Report, Senator Tom Udall will not run for governor in 2018:
“While I firmly believe that I have the backing and the experience to properly address all these issues, I have determined, after consulting with my family, colleagues and constituents, that New Mexico will be better served by my remaining in the United States Senate,” Udall said.
In his statement, Udall outlined the problems he sees in the state, including falling “behind in education and jobs” and failing “to take full advantage of our abundant natural resources and our potential for developing a renewable energy industry.”
The incumbent Republican governor Susana Martinez is term-limited, meaning that New Mexico will have an open governor’s race in both parties. On the Democratic side, the New Mexico Political Report mentions Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Attorney General Hector Balderas, Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, former magazine co-founder Alan Webber and former Univision executive Jeff Apodaca as possible candidates. For the Republicans, Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez, Rep. Steve Pearce and Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry are mentioned.
Udall is up for re-election in the Senate in 2020.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) told the Wall Street Journal that he would not be running for president in four years, despite the fact that he flirted with a possible run back in 2008. “I think that window is probably shut,” he told a group of WSJ reporters and editors. He also said he would look for areas and issues where he could cooperate with Republicans and the Trump administration. Warner is up for re-election to the Senate in 2020.