December 2nd, 2008
03:49 PM ET
10 years ago

Two states, two very different lines of succession

 New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is headed to Washington.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is headed to Washington.

(CNN) - Bill Richardson and Janet Napolitano: Both are governors of neighboring states in the Southwest. Both are headed to Washington. But their departure is triggering very different succession scenarios in their home states.

CNN has learned that New Mexico Governor Richardson will be nominated tomorrow as President-elect Obama's Commerce Secretary. For Richardson, who was Energy Secretary and UN Ambassador under President Clinton and a former Congressman from New Mexico, it means a return to the nation's capitol.

But who takes Richardson's job?

That person would be the state's lieutenant governor, Democrat Diane Denish, who stands to become become New Mexico's first female governor. Denish was Richardson's running mate in the 2002 and 2006 elections and with the governor term-limited out of the 2010 race, was planning a gubernatorial run of her own.

While the governorship in New Mexico stays in Democratic hands, it's just the opposite in neighboring Arizona.

That state's governor, Janet Napolitano, was nominated yesterday by Obama to serve as Secretary of Homeland Security. Arizona doesn't have a lieutenant governor, so when Napolitano steps down to head to Washington, Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer — a conservative Republican - takes over the job.

soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. La Chatte

    Both New Mexico and Arizona heavily endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Dumocrat nomination, yet both governors saw fit to disregard the will of the their respective constituencies to sell their souls to Obama for a cabinet job.

    Napolitano, the opportunistic b....h, managed to get herself Homeland Security and leave a Repug in the governor's office in that hopelessly backward state of Arizona (I was born there, so I can say what I want). According to friends who still live there, she did not send Vaseline to those she left behind. But then again, Maricopa County is the home of Loser Boy McCain, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and more rednecks than I care to contemplate.

    Richardson, who would never be more than the insignificant governor of an insignificant state, if it weren't for Bill Clinton, chose to sell himself to Obama because he was actually dumb enough to think he would become Secretary of State. Instead, the very person he should have supported (will of the people) got it– as well she should have. He got a slap in the face called Commerce. heh heh heh LMAO It's better than he deserved.

    What's even more fun is that many Hispanics (Hillary supporters in the primaries who backed Obama in the election,) are bent at Obama's cabinet choices because he ignored them completely. Good thing ol' Bill "Bad Rug" Richardson got his little Commerce gig, because he perhaps could kiss the governorship adios! Que tonteria!

    December 2, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. Diablo

    Is he planning to shave soon?

    December 2, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. Mike in NM

    Paul in Miami- Backstabbing? He endorsed the better candidate. Plain and simple. The people have spoken and Obama is the one the people have chosen.

    December 2, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. wendell


    December 2, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. Ia Guy

    He didn't get SOS - even after betraying the Clintons and sucking up to Barry. He thought he'd have a higher position that SOC. Barry knows he'd jump ship on him as well.

    Richardson is still getting more than he deserves.

    December 2, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  6. Seriously

    Actually, with Janet being picked, Arizonia might see the Obama admininistration better as her being his surrogate and be a good prep for 2012.,.... as bad as that sounds...

    Also, govenorships do count toward filling Senate and house seats.

    December 2, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  7. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    I applaud Richardson as a Cabinet member.
    In fact, he was at the top of many lists for the Presidency. Too bad all of those people I know who fell into that category were not voting in the Iowa and New Hampshire primary.

    I do hope that the momentum continues for Dems, otherwise, the appointments Obama makes may cause a shift to Reps when they have absolutely no reason to believe that they can recapture their old glory days. At least not right now.

    December 2, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. daune

    congratulation richardson ,go make us all proud you are a true american.

    December 2, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. Godluvr

    After Brewer's term is up, she'll lose to another Democrat!

    This is not a good time for political LOSERS (R)!

    December 2, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  10. MARIA

    When Lulac, La Raza and the various other Latino organizations asked Obama to place Latinos in cabinet, they didn't expect Obama to kick out the Latinos currently in place to make space for Richardson.

    He should of just kept the current Commerce Secretary in place....he is also Latino and he at least knows what he is doing.

    If this move is meant to make the Latinos feel didn't work.

    Looks like the Latinos got the short end of the stick once again.

    December 2, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  11. Steve

    I see that the "Judas" drivel is already starting.

    Fortunately, nobody cares what the PUMAs think. 🙂

    December 2, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  12. Nancy

    I can't believe Jan Brewer will be Arizona's governor. What a disaster for our state!! Now we will be completely run by conservative Republicans and they have not been doing a good job so far. They like to brag about how great Arizona is doing but it is NOT doing great. Our schools are terrible, the main cities are poorly planned and overbuilt with no character. Jan Brewer? UGH! Janet, don't leave us please!!!!!

    December 2, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. mike s.

    I'm still waiting for the "change". . . ..

    For someone who depended on wins in the primary by criticizing the Clinton Administration and any attempt to "go back to the 90s," his "ideas" for the "future" sure do seem like much more of a "back to the future" moment.

    Should have been Hilary. Then we would have at least gotten the real thing instead of this Chicago politician who will do and say anything to get elected and then scoff at anyone who dares challenge any one of his numerous changes in position.

    December 2, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  14. Jackson in Pnoenix

    Oh, Janet, why hast thou forsaken us?

    December 2, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  15. G.R.I.T.S. - Girl Raised in the South

    I wish people would stop calling Richardson a back-stabber. You can be friends with someone and support someone else over your friend if you believe that person is more qualified. I have two best girlfriends and I would nominate one for any leadership position, but not the other. Does that make me a back-stabber? No, it makes me a pragmatist.

    December 2, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  16. to pat from NY

    ignorance and bigotry like yours is borderline ridiculous...

    Thank you for showing me that there are millions of dumb Americans alive and well...

    December 2, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  17. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Who's left to guard the Mexican border?

    December 2, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  18. SD Demo

    The risk in appointing sitting Governors and Senators to positions in his adminstration is that sometimes, just sometimes, the best choices leave a void that will be "filled" by someone who is either unprepared for the job or from a different political philosophy. Oh well, some slipp

    December 2, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  19. SD Demo

    The risk in appointing sitting Governors and Senators to positions in his adminstration is that sometimes, just sometimes, the best choices leave a void that will be "filled" by someone who is either unprepared for the job or from a different political philosophy. Oh well, some slippage may be necessary.

    December 2, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  20. Robert

    For the most part, I have liked Gov. Richardson since I knew who he was (same with Hillary). I actually think both he and Clinton would make great Secretaries of State, so it's win-win as far as I'm concerned. It's great that both will be in the White House again.

    It's also probably a good idea to get someone from a border state to be head of HLS, and I've heard good things about Gov. Napolitano. I'm liking this cabinet so far.

    December 2, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  21. Ex-Republican

    Moral of the Story:

    Don't visit Arizona any time soon.

    They kill be killing people, ripping them off and stating 'god bless Arizona' while doing it. This will be done by white people, and the victims will be predominantly minorities. But I hear if you are white, you'll be able to get away with your first two crimes scott free!

    December 2, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  22. Ken

    I think Obama made a big mistake not putting Richardson at the state department... He is obviously more qualified than Hillary ... Obama owes Hispanics for their support and he blew it... Payback is a mother and he better pray that they forgive him for this ill treatment.... I'm black - from Chicago and I am very disappointed in Obama's cabinet picks..... If I could take back my vote I would....

    December 2, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  23. Chloe, ME

    Richardson was a little self serving. I said that from the start. He hitched his wagon to the Clintons untli it looked as if Hillary was losing, then he high-tailed it for Barack's star.

    Oh well, I hope he will serve America well, that's all that matters.

    December 2, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  24. Godluvr

    Has anyone else noticed the Migration of the Bees? They have transferred their buzzings from Hannity and Drudge to the only sane blog that I have found! Wink, wink!

    Like Mike Tyson, I think it is 'ludacrisp' that they still have so much bitter honey! I implore you bees: Please go back to your hive!!!Hannity and the others are waiting!

    December 2, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  25. Rob

    Whoa baby, way to go BHO !. More same old CHANGE headed back to D.C.!

    December 2, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
1 2 3