As Tuesday’s primary fast approaches, the Democratic field in the open 1st District is becoming better defined at the eleventh hour. With incumbent Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-Albuquerque) departing the House to run for Governor – she has a big lead in the statewide Democratic primary – the eventual Democratic nominee will become the heavy favorite to win the seat in November. Yesterday, Albuquerque City Councilman Pat Davis, who at one time was viewed as a major candidate, decided to suspend his campaign and endorse former state Democratic chair, 2014 Lt. Governor nominee, and Tribal Administrator Deb Haaland. She is battling retired law professor Antoinette Sedillo Lopez and former US Attorney Damon Martinez in addition to two others. Though Mr. Davis has withdrawn from active campaigning, his name will remain on Tuesday’s ballot.
A new Lake Research Partners survey (5/13-14; 390 NM-1 registered voters by Interactive Voice Response system) finds almost a four-way tie for the open Democratic nomination. Retired law professor Antoinette Sedillo Lopez has a slight 25-23-20% lead over former US Attorney Damon Martinez and ex-New Mexico Democratic Party chairman Deb Haaland. The results mean the race is a virtual three-way tie at this point, just three weeks from the state’s June 5th primary election. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-Albuquerque) is vacating the House seat to run for Governor. The eventual Democratic nominee will be a heavy favorite to hold the seat in November.
The New Mexico Democratic Party held its qualifying and endorsing convention during the past weekend. Candidates needed to record a minimum 20% of the delegate vote to qualify for the primary ballot. They also have the option of qualifying by signature petition, and can do so even if they fall short in the pre-primary convention.
In the two open House races, the Democratic delegates advanced former New Mexico Democratic Party chair Deb Haaland and retired law professor Antoinette Sedillo Lopez into the primary election. Ms. Haaland led the voting, 35-25%. Four other Democrats have announced their candidacies, including former US Attorney Damon Martinez, who has more on-hand funds than any candidate ($323,000), and Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis, but neither secured enough delegate support to automatically advance. It is unclear how many of the non-qualifiers will attempt to gather petition signatures. Incumbent Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-Albuquerque) is running for Governor, and easily scored the first position in the statewide convention with 67% delegate support.
In the open 2nd District, attorney Xochitl Torres Small placed first with 65% of the delegate vote. The second qualifier is college instructor Madeline Hildebrandt. The result is unsurprising because these two candidates are the only Democrats who filed. The Republican convention, held several weeks ago endorsed state Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo). Here, GOP Rep. Steve Pearce (R-Hobbs) is vacating the congressional seat to run for Governor.
The open 2nd District (Rep. Steve Pearce (R-Hobbs) running for Governor) now has an official party endorsed candidate. Republicans met in convention and awarded the New Mexico Republican Party primary endorsement to state Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo). The move was a bit of a surprise because the convention delegates eschewed their former state chairman, Marty Newman. Rep. Herrell received a whopping 69% of the GOP delegates’ support.
New Mexico’s 2nd District occupies the state’s southern sector. Rep. Pearce was initially elected in 2002, but left in 2008 to run unsuccessfully for US Senate. He returned in 2010 to oust Democrat Harry Teague (D-Hobbs), who had succeeded him. The 2nd supported President Trump with a 50-40% margin. Candidate filing closed on February 6th, which yielded only two Democrats declaring themselves, surprising for an open seat. College professor Madeline Hildebrandt and attorney Xochitl Torres-Small will square off for the party nomination.
It was commonly believed that state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn (R-Hobbs) had the inside political track to succeed outgoing US Rep. Steve Pearce (R-Hobbs) in the open 2nd Congressional District. But, apparently a dispute with Gov. Susana Martinez (R) has soured him on New Mexico politics and yesterday he withdrew from the congressional contest. This makes the Republican primary a free-for-all and, in a district with 45% Hispanic population, the Democrats certainly have hopes of scoring an upset victory in the open seat general election. Both primaries, to be decided in June, will be crowded. Therefore, no clear favorite for the seat currently exists, though based upon the long-term southern New Mexico voting history the eventual GOP nominee will be considered at least a slight early favorite to hold the seat.
State Land Commissioner and former congressional candidate Aubrey Dunn (R) announced that he will enter the open 2nd Congressional District race next year. Incumbent Rep. Steve Pearce (R-Hobbs) announced his run for Governor last week, thus opening the congressional district for the 2018 election. Already in the GOP primary is state Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo). The district encompasses virtually the entire state south of the Albuquerque metropolitan area. The electorate votes generally Republican (Trump: 50-40%), but did elect a Democrat, Harry Teague, for one term the last time the district was open (2008).
US Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-Albuquerque) appears well on her way to locking up the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Late last week, businessman Alan Webber, the second place finisher in the 2014 Democratic primary losing to Attorney General Gary King who then subsequently fell 57-43% to incumbent Gov. Susana Martinez (R), said he will not run for Governor next year and will instead endorse Rep. Grisham. Earlier, Attorney General Hector Balderas (D) did the same. The position is open in 2018 because Gov. Martinez is ineligible to seek a third term.
Earlier in the week, US Rep. Steve Pearce (R-Hobbs) announced his campaign for Governor, and already one key potential GOP opponent has endorsed him. Lt. Gov. John Sanchez (R) yesterday announced his public support for Mr. Pearce, and is now clearly focused on preparing a statewide challenge to Sen. Martin Heinrich (D). It was thought that Mr. Sanchez would become a gubernatorial candidate, but several months ago let it be known that challenging Sen. Heinrich was also a viable option. We can soon expect the Lt. Gov. to enter the Senate campaign.
Retired business executive and US Army veteran Tony Martinez announced his congressional candidacy, becoming the fifth Democrat to enter the party primary hoping to eventually challenge veteran Rep. Steve Pearce (R-Hobbs). None of the five candidates have elective office experience, but the race has become potentially attractive because Mr. Pearce may enter the open Governor’s campaign. Therefore, we see the large Democratic field forming in anticipation of such a move. Should the Congressman opt for re-election, he will be in strong position to win yet again.
Tarrance & Associates (5/20-23; 605 NM likely voters) just released a May survey and, as expected, finds US Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-Albuquerque) leading the race. The surprise is that she only maintains a small margin against an individual who isn’t even yet a candidate. According to the results, Rep. Grisham out-polls fellow US Rep. Steve Pearce (R-Hobbs), 47-43%. Mr. Pearce, a former US Senate candidate, confirms he is considering a gubernatorial run but has so far not taken action to form a campaign.
Blog Moved to a New Site
Visit the new BIPACRundown.com website to continue to read "The Rundown" blog.
Learn more about our regular contributors: