Valerie Plame, famed ex-CIA operative, running for House seat in New Mexico

In run-up to Iraq war, a Bush administration official exposed her undercover agent status

Former CIA agent Valerie Plame plans to run for the open seat in New Mexico’s 3rd District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame, who was famously outed by a State Department official in the George W. Bush administration, is running for the open seat in New Mexico’s 3rd District, she announced  Thursday.

Plame is one of many Democrats who have announced an interest in the seat being vacated by Rep. Ben Ray Luján, a member of House Democratic leadership, who is running to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Udall.

“My career in the CIA was cut short by partisan politics, but I’m not done serving our country. We need more people in Congress with the courage to stand up for what’s right,” Plame said in a statement.

Plame became the subject of national attention in the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003 after the State Department official leaked her undercover identity to a Washington Post reporter in an effort to undercut the credibility of her husband, Joseph Wilson, a former diplomat. Wilson had openly questioned the Bush administration’s justification for going to war to stop Iraq from developing weapons of mass destruction. 

The episode led to the conviction of former Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, for lying to investigators.

In her statement, Plame highlighted access to affordable health care and rising prescription drug costs as issues she hopes to address in Washington.

“Everyone is losing under the health care system we have today except for insurance and drug companies,” she said.

Other Democrats already in the race include state Rep. Joseph Sanchez and lawyer Teresa Leger. Santa Fe County District Attorney Marco Serna is reportedly weighing a run. 

Whoever emerges from the Democratic primary will likely be the favorite to win the general election. Hillary Clinton carried the seat by 15 points in 2016, while Luján has won six terms since 2008, all by double digits.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Democratic. 

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.