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Former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici Has Died

Former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici Has Died

The son of Italian immigrants was the longest-serving U.S. senator in New Mexico's history.

Former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, a legend in New Mexico politics, died Wednesday morning at the University of New Mexico Hospital, various news outlets are reporting.

The son of Italian immigrants was the longest-serving U.S. senator in New Mexico’s history. He served six terms a total of 36 years from 1973 to 2009.

The Albuquerque Journal reported that Domenici, 85, had recently undergone abdominal surgery and had “suffered a setback” during his recovery. The Journal said that Domenici’s death was confirmed by his wife, Nancy, and his son, Pete Domenici Jr.

The Journal quoted the Domenici family as saying, “He is out of pain and we feel good about that. We are grateful for all of the people who helped here at the hospital and elsewhere.”

Domenici was known for bringing massive amounts of federal money into the state.

Here’s a Wikipedia entry about Domenici’s early career:

In 1966, Domenici successfully ran for a position on the Albuquerque City Commission and in 1968 was elected Commission Chairman. This position was equivalent to that of mayor under the structure of the city government at the time. Albuquerque since has changed to a popularly elected mayor position resulting from citywide balloting and a move beyond the internal appointment.

Domenici was unsuccessful in his 1970 attempt in New Mexico’s governor’s race, losing to the Democrat, former state House Speaker Bruce King, 148,835 to 134,640.

In 1972, Domenici successfully ran for a position in the U.S. Senate and became the first New Mexico Republican to be elected to the position in 38 years. He was aided by the Richard Nixon landslide win over Democrat U.S. Sen. George McGovern at the top of the ticket. Domenici polled 204,253 votes (54 percent) to 173,815 (46 percent) for Democrat Jack Daniels, a Hobbs realtor.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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Steve “Mo” Fye is an Instructional Tech in the Culinary Arts program at Central New Mexico Community College and has been known to giggle after making a low-fat, gluten-free, low-cholesterol dish and eating it with a sauce he knows will blow his diet for days.

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