3 Democrats hope to advance in New Mexico governor’s race
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico voters will decide Tuesday which Democratic candidate will be the party’s nominee for the open governor’s seat. The winner will face the lone Republican contender.
Party nominations for two open congressional seats also are up for grabs.
Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians may participate in the state’s closed major party primaries, though there were no competitive races for Libertarian candidates.
The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Absentee ballots are due by 7 p.m.
A look at the top races:
Three candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination for governor: Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, state Sen. Joseph Cervantes and former media executive Jeff Apodaca. The winner will take on the lone Republican contender, U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce.
State law prohibits New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez from serving a consecutive third term.
New Mexico’s next governor will inherit discontent about a lagging state economy and troubled public education system, amid urgent calls to expand early childhood schooling and a lawsuit that may put the judiciary in charge of pivotal education funding decisions.
Democratic voters will select a running mate for the gubernatorial nominee. Rick Miera of Albuquerque, Billy Garrett of Las Cruces and state Sen. Howie Morales of Silver City are vying for the position.
Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes is paired with Pearce.
Five Democrats are running for the 1st District seat, which hasn’t been represented by a Republican since 2009. The candidates are former state Democratic Party Chairwoman Debra Haaland, former U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez, former law school professor Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, immigration and family law attorney Damian Lara and business consultant Paul Moya.
The presumptive Republican nominee is Janice Arnold-Jones, and Lloyd Princeton will appear as a Libertarian on the November ballot.
Pearce’s run for governor has opened up the House District 2 seat. It’s the most Hispanic congressional district in the most Hispanic state, and registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans. But the district’s conservative-leaning independents makes any election outcome difficult to predict in the oil-producing region.
The Republican contenders are Hobbs businessman and former state party chairman Monty Newman, state Rep. Yvette Herrell of Alamogordo, and former Bureau of Indian Affairs official Gavin Clarkson of Las Cruces.
The Democratic nomination is being pursued by water-rights attorney and former congressional staffer Xochitl Torres Small of Las Cruces and Madeline Hildebrandt, a history teacher from Socorro.
In the state House of Representatives, Democrats are defending their 38-32 majority. Wins in November could provide the party with unified control of the legislative and executive branches for the first time since 2010.
There are 13 contested primaries in the House. Five incumbent Democrats and one Republican face primary challenges.
The District 46 House race is overshadowed by sexual harassment accusations made by a former lobbyist against incumbent Democratic Rep. Carl Trujillo of Nambe. He has denied the accusations. He is being challenged in the primary by Andrea Romero of Santa Fe, who has campaigned as a progressive voice but has been criticized for expensive gatherings where alcohol was purchased in her role as former executive director of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities.
Three Democrats are running for public land commissioner, a post that controls oil and mineral development on state trust land.
The contenders are state Sen. George Munoz of Gallup, state Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard of White Rock and activist Garrett Veneklasen of Santa Fe. The winner faces Republican Patrick Lyons of Cuervo, a member of the Public Regulation Commission who previously served two terms as land commissioner, and Libertarian candidate and rancher Michael Lucero.
In the auditor’s race, state Rep. Bill McCamley of Las Cruces is running against Albuquerque attorney Brian Colon. Republican State Auditor Wayne Johnson is unopposed in the Republican primary.
Democrats are running for re-election as secretary of state, attorney general and state treasurer in races without primary election competition.
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