Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

2002 Governor's Race 'Live Option' for Richardson.

Byline: Michael Coleman Journal Washington Bureau

PLOTTING HIS FUTURE

WASHINGTON Bill Richardson's career as Energy secretary officially ended at noon Saturday, but he is not likely to move far from the political limelight.

In fact, it appears Richardson is leaning more heavily than before toward running for governor of New Mexico in 2002.

In the meantime, the 53-year-old former New Mexico congressman has wasted no time plotting his next career moves. For now, they include teaching a government course at Harvard University, traveling around the country making speeches and writing a book.

Richardson has eyed New Mexico's gubernatorial post for years, but the possibility seems to loom a little larger now.

"The governor's race is a live option for me," Richardson said during an interview in his spacious office in the Forrestal Building, overlooking the Smithsonian Institution on the Washington Mall. "I like managerial, executive positions. I think governors can make a difference."

Richardson is known for being politically coy, but he was well-liked by voters in New Mexico's 3rd District from 1983 to 1998. He stressed that he has not made a final decision about running for governor, and he hasn't ruled out a U.S. Senate run in 2002.

The Senate option, however, is less likely, he said. For one thing, it would pit him against longtime Sen. …

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