A familiar name returns to Western politics

  • Mark Udall is running for a House seat in Colorado

  • Tom Udall is running for one in northern New Mexico

  Some say the West has its own version of the Kennedy clan - the Udalls. A generation of Westerners has heard of Morris Udall, the former Arizona congressman, and Stewart, his brother, former secretary of the Interior. These days it's their sons who are in the news. Morris' son Mark, now a Colorado state legislator, is running for Congress, while New Mexico Attorney General Tom Udall, son of Stewart, competes in a three-way race for the state's northern House seat.

Colorado's second district, which has elected a Democrat in every election since 1974, stretches along the Front Range and includes Denver's northern suburbs and the city of Boulder. Udall easily won his state Legislature seat in Boulder two years ago, and the former director of the Colorado Outward Bound School is now up against Bob Greenlee, a pro-choice businessman the GOP calls a "new kind of Republican."

Greenlee's campaign insists this is their year: The former Boulder mayor has won four at-large elections in Boulder, and he says population growth has changed the district's demographics.

In New Mexico, Tom Udall, the popular attorney general, is trying to unseat Republican Bill Redmond while fending off a challenge from the New Mexico Green Party candidate Carol Miller. The Democratic Party ranks Tom Udall as among the candidates most likely to beat a GOP incumbent: He has won endorsements from the League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club and he's running on a strong civil rights record. He supports buying the Baca Ranch - 95,000 acres almost completely surrounded by the Santa Fe National Forest - and creating a national park (HCN, 8/3/98). Redmond, who made the League of Conservation Voters' "Dirty Dozen" list, supports legislation that would put the land under Forest Service management and open it to logging and ranching.

Redmond has won Hispanic support for his work to create a commission to review ancestral land-grant claims in northern New Mexico. But a poll reported in early September in the Albuquerque Journal shows Udall still has the edge: 42 percent of the vote compared with Redmond's 35 percent and 8 percent for Miller.

"Dustin Solberg