For the record

 “I’m the first Latino — we checked this — to run for president,” [Bill Richardson] said.

Benjamin Fernandez, a California financial consultant, ran in the Republican presidential primary in 1980, saying he was the first.

Fernandez campaigned in New Mexico in 1979 and 1980 when Richardson was running an unsuccessful campaign to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Manuel Lujan Jr. in the 1st Congressional District.  All three were on New Mexico primary election ballots in 1980.

Fernandez ran again in 1984 — when Richardson was running for a second term in the 3rd Congressional District — but Fernandez wasn’t on the New Mexico ballot.  Fernandez got stomped both times, but his story was remarkable and his
candidacy was written about in the Journal more than three dozen times and in The New York Times and Time magazine.

Born in a boxcar in Kansas to Mexican immigrants who were farmworkers, Fernandez picked sugar beets as a child before going on to college and becoming a millionaire.  Fernandez got close to 1 million votes nationally, enough to send three
delegates to the Republican nominating convention in 1980. He died in 2000.

The Richardson camp brushed off the mistake on Tuesday.  “The campaign was looking at the Democratic side of things,” campaign communications director Pahl Shipley said. “But it’s also clear that the governor is the first serious Latino candidate.”

Lujan, the former congressman from New Mexico, helped Fernandez found the National Republican Hispanic Assembly and remembered his presidential campaigns.  “He was serious about running,” Lujan said. “He was in New Hampshire and Iowa, I know.”

He said Fernandez liked to explain that he became a Republican because he heard they were rich and he wanted to be rich.  In 1980, Fernandez was in a crowded primary field. He raised $180,000 and campaigned in 18 primaries, including Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and New Mexico.

The always-genial Lujan said Richardson, a Democrat, should get a pass for forgetting a fellow Hispanic’s history-making campaigns.  “There’s no reason for him to have known that,” said Lujan, a Hispanic who served 20 years in Congress and was secretary of the interior under President George H.W. Bush.

So, what makes Richardson — seeminly the fourth most likely Democrat to be nominated in 2008 — more serious than Fernandez — probably about the same for the Republicans in 1984?  I’m … just wondering.

One Response to “For the record”

  1. Kristofer D. Dale Says:

    REMOCRACY: An open letter to “Merck-y” Governor Bill Richardson


    New Mexico is on the verge of becoming the latest state
    to require sixth-grade girls to be vaccinated against a
    sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer,
    a spokesman for the governor said Monday.

    “It’s a public health issue, and I believe it’s an important
    step,” Richardson said Monday. “New Mexico has always been
    progressive on these issues. … We’ve got to find ways for
    young women to be protected.”

    While federal regulators have approved the vaccine, the
    issue of making it a requirement for girls has been
    surrounded by controversy.

    Merck & Co., the vaccine’s maker, said last month that it
    would suspend a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign to get
    states to require it for school-age girls because of
    pressure from parents and medical groups.



    John Edwards said Thursday that his wife is now battling an
    incurable reappearance of cancer but vowed to continue his
    second bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

    New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a rival for the nomination,
    said he and his wife offered their prayers, and in a
    telephone call to The Associated Press, said: “If there is
    one message here, it should be that we should all redouble
    our efforts to lick that deadly disease.”


    Dear Governor Richardson,

    These are noble words indeed from a man who, as Secretary
    of Energy, was content to sit back during the botched attempt
    to hang serious national security problems at LANL that have
    continued to this day on a Chinese-American scientist named
    Wen Ho Lee. I recall that Judge Parker felt it was necessary to
    issue a public apology for that fiasco. Ever the opportunist, we
    now see that you have decided to jump on the cancer bandwagon
    despite the fact that the University of New Mexico is still stone-
    walling the legitimate development of the vitaletheine immune
    modulator technology fraudulently discredited and co-opted by
    UNM, its former licensee, Floyd E. Taub, and/or the USPTO.

    If you, Governor Richardson, are truly as concerned as you claim,
    perhaps you will immediately look into the many murky reasons
    why this non-toxic method of stimulating the immune system,
    to treat not only cancer but an entire range of immune
    and regulatory diseases, has languished under the auspices
    of UNM for nearly the entire patent life of these
    scientifically-published compounds. Is your publically demonstrated
    resolve firm enough to actually get you out of bed with Merck
    and begin protecting and promoting the health and livelihoods
    of the citizens you allegedly serve? Time will tell, but if you do
    decide to expedite the development of this cancer treatment for the
    “surviving” Americans who funded the initial research through an NIH
    grant, you might just be able to pull off your bid for the presidency.
    All you have to do is pick up the phone and tell UNM to honestly
    develop the authentic discoveries or honor its contract with
    the Inventors as per its 1983 Patent Policy and return the
    undeveloped technology to researchers Galen Knight and
    Terence Scallen at no additional cost to these inventors.

    The inventors can take it from there, and you, Governor
    Richardson, can take the credit for making it finally happen.
    Who knows, once cancer has been vanquished, perhaps as
    President you could then do something about the cancer of
    political corruption that prevents good things like cures for
    cancer from being developed in a timely manner in our home
    state of New Mexico, to the great benefit of the rest of the nation.
    DEmocracy obviously isn’t working any more. Perhaps we need
    some REmocracy for a change, as in REaffirming, REestablishing,
    and REvitalizing our political system!

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