(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.
(CNN) - Two Democrats close to the transition tell CNN that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is now expected to be nominated as Secretary of Commerce by President-elect Barack Obama, pending the final vetting process.
Richardson, one of the leading Hispanics in the Democratic Party, had been seeking the Secretary of State post but lost out to Sen. Hillary Clinton. Obama aides have told CNN that Obama is “on track” to nominate Clinton as his secretary of state after Thanksgiving.
The precise timing on the announcement of Richardson’s appointment is unclear.
Two Richardson advisers said privately that Richardson had been hoping State would be his prize after facing political heat for picking Obama over Clinton, but the governor is willing to accept another post in hopes that he will move up in the Cabinet later in the administration.
Richardson served as Energy Secretary and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in the Clinton administration.
Obama’s pick will now mean that at least three former rivals from the Democratic presidential primaries will be in senior posts in the Obama administration - Richardson, Clinton and Vice President-elect Joe Biden.
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico is a serious contender for commerce secretary in the Obama administration, two sources close to the transition said Friday.
The same sources, however, cautioned that Richardson could be tapped for another senior post as well. They do not consider Richardson's appointment to the Commerce Department to be a done deal.
Richardson, 61, was a candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Currently in his second term as New Mexico's governor, he previously served as ambassador to the United Nations and energy secretary in the Clinton administration.
(CNN) – Sen. Hillary Clinton continues to top the short list of possible contenders to be the next Secretary of State under President-elect Barack Obama.
In addition to Clinton, there are several prominent Democrats and even one Republican on CNN’s list:
SEN. JOHN KERRY: The 2004 Democratic presidential nominee has served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for almost 20 years.
DR. SUSAN RICE: A veteran of Bill Clinton’s State Department, Rice was also a senior adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign.
GOV. BILL RICHARDSON: The New Mexico governor was tapped by Bill Clinton to be U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., but Richardson broke with the Clintons when he decided to endorse Obama after ending his own 2008 presidential bid.
SEN. DICK LUGAR: The Republican, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, worked with Obama last year to expand a program that destroys weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union.
SAM NUNN: The former Democratic senator from Georgia currently co-chairs an effort to reduce threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. While in the Senate, Nunn worked with Lugar to destroy weapons of mass destruction amassed by the former Soviet Union.
Click here for additional CNN short lists for Obama’s potential cabinet.
(CNN) - CNN has learned that President-elect Barack Obama spoke with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson Friday to discuss the post of Secretary of State. A senior Democratic source tells CNN that Richardson’s name has always been on Obama’s list for that post. Obama has also gauged Sen. Hillary Clinton’s interest in the post if she were offered it. If Clinton does not express interest in the post, then Richardson and others would be candidates for the job.
Another source close to the Obama transition team tells CNN that among the key details to be worked out with Sen. Clinton, should she express interest in the position, are issues of how her husband, former President Bill Clinton would be able to continue his work with the Clinton Global Initiative without complicating her work as Secretary of State.
Watch Gov. Richardson discuss Sen. Lieberman's speech at the Republican convention.
(CNN) – Whatever goodwill Sen. Joe Lieberman may have still had with Democrats may be gone after his criticism of Sen. Barack Obama in an address to the Republican convention Tuesday.
"It's a little bit sad," New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson told CNN Wednesday. "I think he must be very bitter after his Senate issues with Democrats and the fact that he wasn't supported in the primaries but this is just going too far."
The Democrat-turned-independent's split from his former party has centered largely on issues of foreign policy - especially the conduct of the Iraq war, where Lieberman agrees with the views of his friend Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee.
"I don't believe that Sen. Lieberman still has credibility among Democrats," Richardson told Kiran Chetry on American Morning. "He's basically said that anybody, like myself and many others, that have opposed this war - that want to bring our troops home safely but as quickly as possible - are basically not just wrong, but unpatriotic."
Richardson also took the opportunity to take a swipe at Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the presumptive Republican VP nominee. "Foreign policy, national security experience is something that she obviously doesn't have," said Richardson, who served as the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. under President Bill Clinton. "To have a vice president without those credentials is going to be a problem."
Watch Richardson share his thoughts on the convention and other topics.
(CNN) - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said he’s now comfortable with Sen. Hillary Clinton placing her name in nomination at the Democratic convention, but he admitted he was uneasy about the move at first.
“It's going to be placed in nomination in recognition of the 18 million votes that she got - her historic candidacy. But then she is going to pledge her delegates to Sen. Obama so that it's a unanimous - a unanimous election. That - that gives me comfort,” he said Sunday on CNN’s “Late Edition.”
“Until that had been worked out, I was a little uneasy about there being just a roll call without any transference of that support to Sen. Obama. But the point is the party is united.”
Last week, Barack Obama’s campaign said it encouraged Clinton to put her name in roll call "as a show of unity and in recognition of the historic race she ran and the fact that she was the first woman to compete in all of our nation's primary contests."
Clinton last month suggested that doing so could provide a "catharsis" for her supporters.
Richardson on Sunday called Clinton a “long-time friend” who “ran a great race.”
He and the New York senator were scheduled to hold two private fundraisers Sunday to help retire her campaign debt.
Things got ugly between Richardson and the Clintons after he endorsed Obama in March.
Richardson, who served as secretary of energy in Bill Clinton’s administration, said in April that he was "very close to endorsing" Clinton, but decided not to after the campaign became negative.
"The Clintons should get over this," he said in April.
His endorsement was viewed as an act of betrayal by some longtime supporters of the Clintons. CNN Political Analyst James Carville, who has long and deep ties to both Clintons, even likened Richardson’s endorsement to Judas’s betrayal of Christ.
Richardson responded to Carville’s criticisms by saying that Carville and other Clinton supporters believe they are a “dynasty” and that they were “clinging to the throne.”
(CNN) – Is Bill Richardson about to kiss and make up with the Clintons? It certainly looks that way.
The New Mexico governor announced Wednesday that he will host two fundraisers to help Sen. Hillary Clinton retire more than $20 million in outstanding campaign debt accumulated during her failed White House bid.
"Governor Richardson's efforts reinforce Senator Obama's commitment to unifying the Democratic Party and assisting Senator Clinton's effort to retire her campaign debt," Bill Burton, a spokesman for Barack Obama’s campaign, said in a statement released by Richardson.
Richardson, who served as secretary of energy in Bill Clinton’s administration, decided to endorse the Illinois senator, now the presumptive Democratic nominee. The move was viewed as an act of betrayal by some longtime supporters of the Clintons. CNN Political Analyst James Carville, who has long and deep ties to both Clintons, even likened Richardson’s endorsement to Judas’s betrayal of Christ.
In late April, Richardson responded to Carville’s criticisms by saying that Carville and other Clinton supporters believe they are a “dynasty” and that they were “clinging to the throne.”
WATCH: Carville, Richardson on Larry King Live
Since announcing his support for Obama, Richardson has made numerous television and campaign appearances on Obama’s behalf. He is also mentioned as a potential pick for vice president.
In the statement from Richardson, Clinton spokeswoman Kathleen Strand said, "Senator Clinton is grateful for Governor Richardson's and Senator Obama's efforts to assist with retiring her campaign debt and she is looking forward to continuing to campaign for Senator Obama and help ensure victory for Democrats throughout the country this fall."
Senator Clinton will attend both invitation-only events in New Mexico in mid-August.
(CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama supporter Gov. Bill Richardson, D-New Mexico, attacked Sen. John McCain’s stance on offshore drilling on Sunday, calling the Arizona senator’s plan “cosmetic steps.”
“The point is that we have got to have a bipartisan comprehensive strategy and this administration, it seems Senator McCain, all they want to do is drill, drill, drill,” the former Democratic candidate told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “You can't drill your way out of the problem.”
Democrats have criticized the presumptive Republican nominee for his apparent “flip-flop” on the issue of offshore drilling. The McCain camp denies that he’s changed his position, arguing that he has always supported a state’s right to choose what happens in its coastal waters. Aides said recently that the senator voted to uphold the federal ban on ocean drilling in 2000 as a way of supporting states’ rights.
Throughout his appearance on Late Edition, Richardson frequently linked McCain’s proposal to the plan put forth by President Bush.
“The Bush administration has waited eight years to pressure OPEC and their great friends, the Saudis. When President Bush came in, he said he was going to jawbone OPEC to increase production,” the governor stated. “What is needed is not what the president and John McCain want to do, which is drill offshore. What is needed is a comprehensive strategy of fuel efficiency, 50 miles-per-gallon vehicles… mass transit. What is needed is investments in renewable energy and solar and wind,” he said.
Richardson is the latest in a string of Democrats to slam McCain’s solution for lowering gas prices. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada called it a “cynical campaign ploy” and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, said: “It is so hard to tell what Sen. McCain’s positions are because they change so rapidly… [This] is certainly not the position he had just six months ago.”
(CNN) – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a supporter of Sen. Barack Obama, backed the Democratic Party’s new standard-bearer in a growing dust-up between the McCain and Obama camps over how to wage the war on terrorism.
Asked by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer whether al Qaeda suspects should be given the same rights that American citizens enjoy in U.S. courts, Richardson said he “totally” disagrees with the Bush administration’s policy of treating terrorism detainees as enemy combatants and treating them differently than defendants in typical criminal cases. “We have to protect our country from terrorists but we don’t have to be like them by abridging our own freedoms,” Richardson added.
WATCH Bill Richardson's interview from The Situation Room
The former presidential candidate, who served as Energy Secretary under President Clinton, also waded into a second dispute between the two presumptive nominees over energy policy. “In the Clinton administration, we pushed for renewable energy, for fuel efficiency. We should have pushed harder,” Richardson said. “I’m the first to say that both Republican and Democratic administrations have not come forth with a sustainable, long term energy policy,” he added.