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Udall Cousins Elected To Senate In N.M., Colo.

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Udall Cousins Elected To Senate In N.M., Colo.

Election 2008: Congressional & State Races

Udall Cousins Elected To Senate In N.M., Colo.

Udall Cousins Elected To Senate In N.M., Colo.

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Democrat Tom Udall of New Mexico and Democrat Mark Udall of Colorado were elected to the Senate. The cousins beat their Republican opponents. They discuss their victories with Steve Inskeep, as well as how things are going for the Democratic Party in New Mexico and Colorado.


When the Senate clerk calls the roll on a vote next year, he will at some point say, Senator Udall. And after that new Democratic senator votes, the clerk will say again, Senator Udall, and record another vote. It's not fraud. Two cousins, same last names, were elected from two states. They're both Democrats, and they're both with us this morning. One is Tom Udall of New Mexico. Senator-elect, good morning.

Senator-elect TOM UDALL (Democrat, New Mexico): Good morning. Great to be with you this morning.

INSKEEP: And also on the line is Mark Udall who won a Senate election from Colorado. Good morning to you.

Senator-elect MARK UDALL (Democrat, Colorado): Good morning. My cousin sounds like he got as little sleep as I did.

INSKEEP: You've been celebrating all night, gentlemen, have you?

Senator TOM UDALL: Well, we've been up late. It was a wonderful celebration here in New Mexico, and we stayed up late and had a great time.

INSKEEP: I want to figure out what's changing in your states because you're in two states that went for Obama after going for President Bush in 2004. You're both, if I'm not mistaken, replacing Republican senators as well. Let's start with you, Mark Udall. What's changing in Colorado?

Senator MARK UDALL: What's changed here is that the people want us to get things done. They're not particularly affiliated to one party or the other. I have to - if I can be a little immodest - suggest that Tom and I both have a record of working across the aisle, of finding the right solutions regardless of where they originate. I also think there's a re-emergence of the small libertarian instincts in the West. Your private life is your private life. And then finally, there's a real emphasis on renewable energy and being on the cutting edge. And both New Mexico and Colorado are clearly leaders. And Tom and I have both been on the frontlines of generating a new energy economy out here.

INSKEEP: Well, now let me ask about the first thing you said there, getting things done. Voters just want practical results. That sounds a lot like what Dick Armey was just telling Renee Montagne a moment ago when he said, look, they threw us out, they threw Republicans out because they weren't satisfied with our performance. And it could easily go the other way. Do you believe that is, in fact, the case, Tom Udall?

Senator TOM UDALL: I think that could be the case. I think that we've been given a mandate now. This is a pretty strong mandate when you have Barack Obama winning by the largest percentage since LBJ...

INSKEEP: For a Democrat, yes.

Senator TOM UDALL: This mandate for change, this is a mandate to get things done. It's a mandate to put this economy back on track again. And people asked me last night, you know, what is the first thing you're going to do? And I said three words: economy, economy, economy. We've got to get this country rolling again. There's a lack of confidence in the world in our financial institutions. There's a lack of confidence in the American people and the direction we're headed. So this next Congress and president need to unify and to get things done.

INSKEEP: Let me just interrupt there, if I can. I've got a couple of quick questions for each of you. We've just got a couple of minutes left. And let me go back to Mark Udall of Colorado. Do you believe that Democrats are resembling new coalitions of different types of voters in the interior West which has been so red on that map, so Republican?

Senator MARK UDALL: Back to your original question, you're exactly right. You have the new economy business community, aerospace, and the new energy technologies. It's also biotech and, of course, IT and telecom. It's ranchers and farmers working with conservationists to protect public lands. It's new arrivals from the coasts and the Midwest who love our way of life out here, who want to protect our air and water. So you're right, there are new political coalitions. And Democrats have been getting things done. Look at the governors in all of the Rocky Mountain states from Montana all the way to the Mexican boarder. These are Democrats in red states who are getting things done.

INSKEEP: And Tom Udall, is this also a demographic change, very briefly?

Senator TOM UDALL: I think this is a demographic change, and specifically bringing young people in, in significant numbers, made a difference in my Senate race, and Barack Obama winning New Mexico, and also the two congressional seats that haven't been - one of them has never been in Democratic hands. And the other, it's been 28 years.

INSKEEP: And in just a couple of seconds, do you think Democrats have the inside track now on the Latino vote which was much competed over in past elections?

Senator TOM UDALL: We did a great job here in New Mexico from Barack Obama all the way down through the ticket of mobilizing Hispanics.

INSKEEP: Mark Udall, in a couple of seconds, how about in Colorado?

Senator MARK UDALL: The same dynamic's at play in Colorado. And the Latino community really stepped up and has really engaged. It's exciting to see.

INSKEEP: Well, gentlemen, thanks very much. I appreciate talking with you both.

Senator TOM UDALL: Thank you.

Senator MARK UDALL: Thank you. See you later.

INSKEEP: And congratulations to you. Tom Udall of New Mexico won a Senate race in that state. Mark Udall of Colorado won a Senate race in his state as well. They are both Democrats and will join the Congress in January, part of an expanded Democratic majority. The Democrats gained as many as five seats, perhaps more than five seats. We'll learn soon. It's Morning Edition from NPR News.

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