Tom Udall’s name added to the mix for Interior post


(Manuel Balce Ceneta/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

We hear Salazar suggested Udall as a potential replacement, and that his name has been sent to the White House for consideration.

Of course, he wouldn’t be the first Interior Secretary named Udall. The senator’s father, Stewart Udall, was a legendary environmental champion who served as Interior Secretary under Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.

So he’s got a great pedigree, he’s well-liked, and he’s a Westerner, which is considered desirable in that job.

But he’s hardly a lock. The White House is desperately seeking diversity in its Cabinet picks (because the first few nominees were mostly white men), and Udall wouldn’t exactly add to the rainbow.

Other names we’ve heard that might fit that bill include outgoing Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, Office of Personnel Management chief John Berry (who would be the first openly gay Cabinet secretary), and Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.).

Then there’s the fact that Republican Gov. Susana Martine would be the one to appoint Udall’s replacement for the two years remaining in his term — so Democrats would likely lose a Senate seat.

Besides, Udall has reason to be pretty comfortable where he is. He was recently named to the powerful Appropriations Committee, and is running for re-election in 2014.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.

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