© Getty Images
Former CIA operative Valerie Plame, whose cover was blown by George W. Bush administration officials in a major scandal in the run up to the Iraq War, will run for an open House seat in New Mexico.
Plame filed papers Wednesday to formally open a campaign committee. A Democrat, she will run for the seat held by Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), who is running for a Senate seat.
“Over 10 years ago, I chose to make New Mexico my home and it has become my heart,” Plame said in a statement on her new website. “I have lived all over the world and have never felt more connected to a place and its special people than in the Land of Enchantment.”
Plame was an undercover CIA officer who recommended sending her husband, the former diplomat Joe WilsonAddison (Joe) Graves WilsonOvernight Defense & National Security — Congress begins Afghanistan grilling Connolly rips Wilson over 'you lie' during Blinken hearing Taliban seizes Kandahar as advance picks up speed MORE, to Niger to investigate Bush administration claims that then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had tried to purchase uranium for use in weapons production.
Wilson published an op-ed in 2003 casting doubts on the administration’s claims, used to back up assertions that Iraq was pursuing weapons of mass destruction.
The journalist Robert Novak reported later that Plame had recommended sending Wilson to Niger, citing two Bush administration officials. Novak learned of Plame’s identity from then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and confirmed it with Karl RoveKarl Christian RoveChristie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group Christie to co-chair fundraising program for Republican governors The Hill's Morning Report: Afghanistan's future now up to Afghans, Biden says MORE, then President George W. Bush’s senior adviser.
Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, told two other journalists about Plame’s identity as a way to undercut Wilson’s conclusions. Libby was later convicted of four counts of lying to a grand jury. Bush commuted Libby’s sentence, and President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE pardoned Libby in 2018.
"I moved the day after Vice President Cheney’s chief aide Scooter Libby was convicted for his role in outing my true CIA identity,” Plame said in a press release Thursday morning. "I had traveled the world as part of a military family and then throughout my career. New Mexico was the first place that felt like home and that’s what it has been ever since."
Plame is likely to face a crowded Democratic field in the race to replace Lujan. The Santa Fe County district attorney and a sitting state representative are already in the race, and several other elected officials are considering runs.
The winner of the Democratic primary is almost certain to win the seat in November. The district, which sprawls across New Mexico’s northern border with Colorado, favored Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty Attorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation MORE by 15 points in 2016, and only one Republican has ever held the seat, after winning a special election in 1997 to finish a partial term. Luján won reelection in 2018 by a 25-point margin.