Valerie Plame announces run for Congress in New Mexico
Valerie Plame, the former CIA officer whose identity was revealed during the George W. Bush administration in 2003, is running for Congress to represent northern New Mexico.
She said in a statement released Thursday that she moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, the day after Scooter Libby, then-Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, was convicted for lying about his role in the leak.
“My career in the CIA was cut short by partisan politics, but I’m not done serving our country,” said Plame, who is running as a Democrat, in a statement. “We need more people in Congress with the courage to stand up for what’s right.”
In July 2003, Plame’s husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, wrote in a New York Times op-ed that in the months before the Iraq war “some of the intelligence related to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.” Plame’s work for the CIA was reported in the media not long afterward.
Like many Democrats who ran for office in 2018, Plame said that she wants to go to Washington and tackle the high cost of health care. “Everyone is losing under the health care system we have today except for insurance and drug companies,” she said.
Democratic strategist Oscar Ramirez said Plame would be a strong candidate with a “pretty sophisticated” national donor network, but said other candidates with deep ties to New Mexico, who could better connect to the rural areas of the district, may enter the primary race.
Since Rep. Ben Ray Luján, a member of the House Democratic leadership, announced his run for the US Senate in April, several Democrats have said they would consider running for his seat. Luján told CNN that Plame has been a “very active” constituent in the community but is not going to endorse anyone in the Democratic primary.
Rep. Deb Haaland, a Democrat in New Mexico, won her race in 2018 after a six-way primary and expected a similar outcome in 2020.
“An open seat in New Mexico doesn’t come along very often,” she said. “I’m sure there will be a lot of people running.”
Over the past dozen years, Plame wrote a memoir, “Fair Game,” which became the basis for a Hollywood movie, and a novel, “Blowback.” She also worked on behalf of the Santa Fe Institute, scientific research center, and worked to eliminate nuclear weapons.
In 2017, Plame reportedly resigned from the board of the Ploughshares Fund, an organization working to end the threat of nuclear weapons, after apologizing for sharing on Twitter an anti-Semitic article that she said she had only “skimmed.” That Twitter account no longer appears available as of Thursday afternoon.
In the past, Wilson has also been critical of President Donald Trump and his use of Twitter — including a previous effort on GoFundMe to buy a stake of Twitter and convince the company to ban the President.
This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.
CNN’s Ashley Killough and Sophie Tatum contributed to this report.