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Denish Says She'll Run for Governor in 2010

Associated Press
      SANTA FE — New Mexico's first female lieutenant governor would like to be its first female governor.
    Denish, who was inaugurated with Gov. Bill Richardson this month for a second term, said she loves being lieutenant governor, but plans to run for governor when her term ends.
    Richardson — who is expected to announce soon whether he plans to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 — could not run for another consecutive term in 2010 because of term limits.
    Denish, 57, acknowledges that she occasionally still encounters people who are surprised by a female lieutenant governor. Nonetheless, she said New Mexico is ready for a woman in the top job.
    ''I think the voters are ready,'' she said. ''I think what they really want is someone who is committed to New Mexico.''
    And, she said, ''I came to realize a long time ago that my feet are firmly planted on the ground in New Mexico.''
    No lieutenant governor in New Mexico's history has been elected governor, but Denish said that nationwide, one out of every four governors had been a lieutenant governor.
    Denish said Richardson given her more responsibilities and a bigger role in his administration than most governors give their lieutenants. She also said working with a governor who has a ''national and international agenda'' has given her insight into many issues.
    The governor said she's ''immersed in every issue that the administration works on.''
    ''I don't think she needs any grooming. She'd be ready to step in if she had to,'' Richardson said.
    Richardson has asked Denish to head the administration's efforts on water in the 2007 legislative session that begins next week. Richardson wants more than $100 million spent on water projects around the state.
    Senate Majority Whip Mary Jane Garcia of Dona Ana, one of a few female leaders in the Legislature, said she considers Denish a leader and has no doubt Denish could run the state.
    ''If we have a (U.S.) House speaker that is female, why not a governor of New Mexico?'' she said.
    Denish's father, the late Jack Daniels, was a state lawmaker in the 1960s from Lea County. He sought the Democratic nomination for governor in 1970, losing to Bruce King, and was the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in 1972, losing to Republican Pete Domenici.
    Her father didn't push her into politics, but was very supportive, she said.
    ''He always told me, 'Go get 'em, kid,''' she said.

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