November 4, 2015

Would Clinton choose Heinrich as running mate?

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich. Official photo.

New Mexico is used to having politicians named as possible choices for a running mate on a presidential ticket.

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich. Official photo.

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich. Official photo.

In 2008, Bill Richardson’s name was floated as a possibility to be Barack Obama’s running mate. In 2012, Susana Martinez’s name came up and has continued as we head towards the 2016 elections.

Now, it looks like U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich is getting his turn in the VP speculation spotlight.

David Mixner, a gay rights activist and longtime Democratic fundraiser and strategist, isn’t in Hillary Clinton’s inner circle. He recently criticized Clinton for statements about the origin of the Defense of Marriage Act signed by Bill Clinton when he was president and supported Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary over Clinton.

Still, he says that Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for president and looked at who Clinton might choose to be her running mate. At the top of his list was Heinrich.

The Senator is strikingly handsome, intelligent, progressive, strong environmental credentials and speaks fluent Spanish. He’s also from the critical Rocky Mountain states. In addition, a fresh young face in a sea of older candidates.

Mixner wrote about the possibility at Towleroad, an LGBT-focused website based out of Las Vegas, Nevada.

NM Political Report reached out to Heinrich’s U.S. Senate office on Tuesday about the possibility but did not receive a response.

Mixner acknowledged that Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro is seen as the favorite to be Clinton’s running mate. He also mentions Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia as other “prime contenders” for the position.

Mixner says that if Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is nominee and chooses Ohio governor John Kasich as his running mate ” it will be the Democrats’ worst nightmare” and make the Mountain West critical to winning the presidency.

New Mexico was seen as a swing state in 2000 and 2004. Al Gore beat George W. Bush by less than 500 votes in New Mexico in 2000, while Bush beat John Kerry by about 6,000 votes in 2004.

Obama easily won New Mexico in 2008 and 2012.

Former Albuquerque mayor Martin Chávez is a high profile supporter of Clinton, though is not an official part of the campaign and does not speak for the campaign.

He wrote to NM Political Report that Clinton’s campaign was focused on the primary “but Martin has my vote” and that it was “really nice” that Heinrich was mentioned.

Clinton faces Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley in the Democratic primary. Clinton is still seen as the large favorite to win the nomination.

If Heinrich does become vice president in 2016 that would likely mean one less Democrat in the Senate for a President Clinton; Gov. Susana Martinez would have the ability to choose a replacement who would serve until the 2018 general election.

Martinez would likely choose a Republican to fill the position.

Chávez said he wouldn’t like to see Martinez choose Heinrich’s replacement.

“But then maybe Martinez will be on the GOP ticket,” he said. “Go figure!”