Former CIA operative Valerie Plame gestures while testifying on Capitol Hill, in an undated photo. (Associated Press)
Former CIA operative-turned-activist Valerie Plame announced Thursday she will be running for Congress in New Mexico’s 3rd District.
The seat is currently held by Democratic Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, who is stepping down to run for U.S. Senate.
“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 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 became a national figure after her identity as a CIA operative was leaked by an official in President George W. Bush’s administration in 2003 and used to discredit her then-husband Joe Wilson. Wilson is a former diplomat who criticized Bush’s decision to invade Iraq. Plame left the agency in 2005.
I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted of lying to investigators and obstruction of justice following the 2003 leak. President Trump issued a full pardon to Libby last year.
In 2017, the Wilsons launched an unsuccessful crowdfunding effort to buy Twitter so Trump couldn’t use it. At the time, Plame said if she didn’t get enough funding to purchase a majority of shares, she would explore options to buy “a significant stake” and champion the proposal at Twitter’s annual shareholder meeting.
Plame and Wilson divorced later that year.
In her congressional race, Plame faces several Democratic challengers including State Rep. Joseph Sanchez, businessman Mark McDonald, and former Navajo Nation presidential and vice presidential candidate Dineh Benally.
The winner of the Democratic primary is likely to win the open seat. New Mexico’s 3rd district sprawls across the state’s northern border with Colorado. Hillary Clinton won it by 15 points in 2016.
Only one Republican, back in1997, has ever held the seat.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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