Friday, September 12, 2008
Batman Keeps Cape on Gov. Bid
By Dan Boyd
Journal Capitol Bureau
SANTA FE — Holy political intrigue, Batman!
Gov. Bill Richardson said Thursday that he wasn't endorsing film actor and Pecos resident Val Kilmer when he said earlier this week that he likes the idea of Kilmer running for New Mexico governor in 2010.
The governor thinks Kilmer, star of the 1995 hit "Batman Forever," is a "first-rate New Mexican" who shouldn't be dismissed as a potentially serious candidate, Richardson spokeswoman Caitlin Kelleher said.
However, Richardson added that it's "too early" to make endorsements, and Kelleher said he holds Lt. Gov Diane Denish, who has already indicated she will run for governor when Richardson's term expires after 2010, in high regard.
Denish said Thursday that she wasn't bothered by Richardson's remarks about Kilmer.
"There's a lot of speculation about 2010. But what I'm doing, and what I think everyone should be doing, is working on 2008," Denish said. "I'm not going to speculate on what the governor thinks."
Wednesday, Richardson told TV reporters that a number of successful actors have made the leap into politics.
"He's got name identification, so it can't be discounted," Richardson said of Kilmer, in a statement provided by Kelleher.
Rumors that Kilmer has Roundhouse ambitions were fueled last week by a report on the Web site Politico.com.
Kilmer's agent, David Unger, declined to comment in an e-mail Thursday. Kilmer's party affiliation couldn't be determined Thursday.
Were he to launch a campaign, Kilmer might have to reckon with some of his previous observations on New Mexico.
Kilmer, 48, who has also starred in such movies as "Top Gun," "The Doors" and "The Saint," was quoted in a 2003 Rolling Stone article as saying he lives in the "homicide capital of the Southwest" and that "80 percent of the people who live in my county are drunk."
After the article came out, Kilmer, who lives on a ranch south of Pecos in San Miguel County, said he was misquoted. He also participated in a dinner hosted by Richardson at the Governor's Mansion aimed at showing he's a good New Mexican.