Few legislators are quieter than state Sen. Clint Harden, who nonetheless inserted himself into the news last week.
Harden, R-Clovis, called on Lt. Gov. John Sanchez to resign. Harden is upset because Sanchez is running for the U.S. Senate while continuing in his state job.
Harden is supporting Heather Wilson, Sanchez's biggest rival for the Republican nomination.
But Harden, friendly and humble, is not the type to call attention to himself. He believes in Wilson, so he lent his voice to criticism of Sanchez.
So reserved is Harden, 64, that few of his colleagues in the Senate knew he was primed to be the starting quarterback at the Naval Academy in the mid-1960s. Roger Staubach was one of his coaches before going off to war in Vietnam.
The Clint Harden of 1967 looked like a dark-haired Terry Bradshaw. He was a giant, strong and gifted. Too bad his time at Annapolis ended in defeat.
The academy discharged Harden for academic reasons after 2 1/2 years. It had to be a crushing blow for the kid from La Junta, Colo., who had a career as an officer in front of him.
Harden bounced back. He transferred to the University of Utah, played football and received his degree.
He is a businessman in Clovis and a man with a long record of government service. Harden was state labor secretary under Gov. Gary Johnson. Wilson also served in Johnson's cabinet. She and Harden have been allies since the mid-1990s.
Harden, in his third term in the Senate, has generated little or no support for his move against Sanchez. Still, he may be one of Wilson's toughest campaigners.
Harden could be especially important to her if U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce enters the Senate race.
Wilson and Sanchez are from the Albuquerque area. Pearce is from Hobbs. He could have more natural appeal to rural voters in a three-way Republican primary.
But Harden is promoting Wilson's candidacy across his legislative district. It covers all or part of seven counties in northeastern New Mexico -- an area of more than 14,000 square miles.