Job Description: One of New Mexico's two representatives in the U.S. Senate. Drafts and votes on federal legislation.
Term: Six years
The race for the junior U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico isn't much of a race. Incumbent Jeff Bingaman is far ahead in the polls, and most people have never heard of his under-qualified opponent, Farmington urologist Allen McCulloch.
Bingaman is running for his fifth term. To his everlasting credit, he was one of the rare Democrats in Congress to vote against giving President Bush the authorization to go to war with Iraq. Back then—when right-wing talking heads regularly accused anyone who disagreed with the president of being a traitor who should be dragged into the streets and shot—this was an extremely difficult and courageous thing to do. Bingaman recognized that invading another country is a grave undertaking fraught with danger. In the end, sadly, he was all too correct.
On this and other issues, however, Bingaman is the type of politician who values civil deliberation over shouting matches and name-calling. He's served New Mexico well for more than two decades. He's a huge supporter of research into renewable energy. He's worked hard to protect natural areas of New Mexico, such as the Ojito Wilderness. He's also shown a willingness to work on the small-scale, nitty-gritty policy changes necessary to improve our defective health care system. Best of all, he has the personal and political skills necessary to work with politicians from outside his party. In the end, we'd be crazy to not send him back to Washington.
As far as his opponent, we still don't know all that much about him. Although McCulloch refused the Alibi's repeated requests for an interview, we know he's a typical stay-the-course conservative when it comes to the Iraq war. He's also an abortion opponent and supports walling off large sections of our border with Mexico. And he's made it clear that he supports the Bush administration's questionable stances on wiretapping, “vigorous” interrogation of terrorist suspects and other civil liberties issues associated with the war on terror.
For these and many other reasons, we enthusiastically endorse Bingaman.