SANTA FE, N.M. (CN) – Former CIA operative Valerie Plame has officially filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for Congress in New Mexico.
Plame, who became a household name when her identity was leaked by an official in the George W. Bush administration, will run in the state’s Third Congressional District currently represented by Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-Nambé. Luján is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by incumbent Tom Udall.
In July 2003, a New York Times op-ed piece written by former U.S. ambassador to Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe Joe Wilson cast doubt on the Bush administration’s narrative regarding then-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction. In apparent retaliation, conservative pundit Robert Novak revealed in his newspaper column that Wilson’s wife, Plame, was a CIA operative.
The public disclosure of the secret information spurred a federal investigation, and though no criminal charges for the leak were brought, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted of lying to investigators and obstruction of justice. President Donald Trump fully pardoned Libby in 2018.
Plame and Wilson divorced in 2017.
Following Plame’s resignation from the CIA in 2006, she moved to Santa Fe and wrote a book about her experience in the CIA and the leak scandal, “Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House.” The book became source material for the 2010 film “Fair Game” starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.
In 2017, Plame launched a GoFundMe campaign aimed at buying a majority share of Twitter stock with the stated goal of banning Trump from the platform. In early April, she said she was considering running for the open congressional seat in New Mexico.
“Right now, I am going around and meeting with people,” Plame said at the time. “I have a lot to learn and I would like another opportunity to serve my country.”
On Wednesday, Plame launched her campaign website launched and filed a statement of candidacy. A statement on the website reads in part: “I hope to represent Northern New Mexico as your Democratic congressional representative. Over 10 years ago, I chose to make New Mexico my home and it has become my heart. 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.
“Our state is magical in many ways and I want to continue to protect its unique cultures and communities. From personal experience, I know what it is like to fight hard for what you believe in and I will take those lessons and fight for your needs. I want a brighter future for New Mexicans.”
Several other Democrats have expressed interest in the seat, which includes much of the northern half of the state including Santa Fe, Rio Rancho and Farmington. State Rep. John Sanchez of Alcalde, Rio Rancho businessman Mark McDonald, Santa Fe lawyer Teresa Leger and Gavin Kaiser of Santa Cruz have formally declared their candidacies. Republican Brett Kokinadis of Santa Fe is also in the race.
Historically, the seat has been a Democratic stronghold. Only one Republican has ever held the seat after winning a special election in 1997 to finish a partial term. Rep. Ben Ray Luján won re-election in 2018 by a 25-point margin.