New Mexico: Miller Trying Again in Northern House District

Posted March 4, 2008 at 6:33pm

Carol Miller, whose Green Party bid for the 3rd district Congressional seat in a 1997 special election helped temporarily transform northern New Mexico politics, announced Tuesday that she again is seeking the seat, this time as an independent.

“I am running as an Independent so that you are guaranteed that I will represent every person in the district, loyal only to you and the needs of the district, not to a party,” she said during an announcement speech at the state Capitol in Santa Fe.

Miller said she decided to run only after Rep. Tom Udall (D) announced his Senate candidacy, because she was afraid the district and the state — all three House Members are running for the seat being vacated by Sen. Pete Domenici (R) — are losing valuable seniority in Congress. Miller is a 61-year-old public health care professional who served on now-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) health care task force when Clinton was first lady.

Although the 3rd district is a Democratic stronghold, Miller received an eye-popping 17 percent of the vote as the Green Party nominee in the 1997 special election to replace former Rep. Bill Richardson (D). Because the Democratic nominee was enveloped in scandal, a Republican, Bill Redmond, stunned the political world by winning the special election with 43 percent of the vote. He was ousted in the 1998 general election by Udall. Miller also ran in the 1998 election, taking just 4 percent as the Green nominee.

Whether Miller becomes a factor in the race this November remains to be seen. Democrats are heavily favored to retain the seat, though there is a competitive primary under way.

Wealthy developer Don Wiviott last week became the first candidate in the 3rd district to go on the air as he seeks to introduce himself to Democratic primary voters.

Wiviott is running two ads on broadcast and cable television, with the spots scheduled to remain on the air for the next several weeks.

One ad is a biographical spot that features regular people trying to pronounce Wiviott’s last name. The other ad also is biographical, but in addition focuses on Wiviott’s opposition to the Iraq War.
— Josh Kurtz and David M. Drucker