Candidate filing closed in New Mexico earlier this week, and 3rd District Congressman Ben Ray Lujan (D-Nambe/Santa Fe) will run unopposed for his party’s open US Senate nomination in the June primary. Becoming the Democratic Party standard bearer in this situation makes him a heavy favorite in the fall to succeed retiring Sen. Tom Udall (D). Five Republicans filed, but none have ever been elected to any office.
Emerson College provides us possibly the first Democratic presidential nomination survey data for one of the late primary states, New Mexico, whose electorate will vote with a group of three other states and the District of Columbia on June 2nd.
According to the survey (1/4-6; 447 NM likely Democratic primary voters), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) edges former Vice President Joe Biden, 28-27%, with businessman Andrew Yang surprisingly in third position with 10%. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Mayor Pete Buttigieg follow with only 8 and 7% preference, while former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg records a small 3% support figure. New Mexico has 34 first ballot delegates.
Though the open New Mexico Democratic primary isn’t until next June, it appears we already have a consensus nominee.
Dropping out of the Democratic Senate race is New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, who found that she could not develop any traction against Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-Nambe/Santa Fe). At this point, it appears the Congressman is unopposed for the Democratic nominee, and the party standard bearer at least will begin with a heavy advantage in the general election. It appears Mr. Lujan is well positioned to replace retiring Sen. Tom Udall (D).
Reports say New Mexico Oil & Gas Association chair Claire Chase (R) is scheduled to announce her candidacy against freshman Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-Las Cruces) in the state’s southern congressional district. Assuming Ms. Chase wins the Republican nomination, it is highly likely that we will see a race based upon the Green New Deal and its promise to eliminate the fossil fuels industry within twelve years. Southeastern New Mexico is rich in oil and gas, thus placing the energy issue as the focal point of this impending campaign.
GBAO Strategy & Research conducted the first poll of the open seat Democratic primary (4/15-18; 600 NM likely Democratic primary voters) and finds Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-Nambe/ Santa Fe) jumping out to a huge 64-25% lead over just-announced Senate candidate Maggie Toulouse Oliver, the New Mexico Secretary of State.
Rep. Lujan has already attracted major endorsements including the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, but this did not dissuade Ms. Oliver from entering. No Republican has yet announced. Sen. Tom Udall (D) is retiring.
As expected, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-Nambe/Santa Fe) is not going to have a free ride to the open Democratic US Senate nomination despite him already scoring major endorsements such as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Yesterday, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D) announced that she will run for the party nomination in hopes of succeeding retiring Sen. Tom Udall (D). In November, Ms. Oliver was re-elected to a four-year term with a 58-37% margin. Therefore, she will not have to risk her current position to run for the Senate.
Rep. Lujan is favored for the nomination and the general election. So far, the only Republican to declare for the race is Gavin Clarkson, the college professor who Ms. Oliver defeated in November.
Despite US Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-Nambe/Santa Fe) securing key endorsements such as his latest from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D) just filed a campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission and says to expect an announcement soon. While Rep. Lujan is favored to win the open seat party nomination and the general election to replace retiring Sen. Tom Udall (D), he is now likely drawing significant opposition.
Chris Mathys, who lost the GOP nomination for a district position on the New Mexico Regulation Commission by a mere 25 votes last June, is returning to run for a higher office. This week, Mr. Mathys announced that he will compete for the GOP nomination to face freshman Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-Las Cruces) in a general election campaign that will be competitive.
But first, Mr. Mathys will have to deny former state Rep. Yvette Harrell (R) re-nomination. In November, she held then-candidate Torres Small to a tight 51-49% victory margin.
Freshman Rep. Deb Haaland (D-Albuquerque), who flirted with the idea of running for the state’s newly open US Senate seat, announced yesterday that she will seek re-election to the US House position she won last November. At this point, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-Nambe/Santa Fe) clearly has the inside track to the Democratic nomination and will be favored in the general election. Republicans have yet to see a major candidate come forward. Sen. Tom Udall (D) is retiring.
Now that Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-Nambe/Santa Fe) has announced that he will run for the Senate, candidates for the open 3rd District House seat are coming forward. So far, three individuals have announced, all Democrats. Freshman state Rep. Joe Sanchez (D-Alcalde) is the only elected official who has entered the race, but others are soon expected. Businessman and former state legislative candidate Mark McDonald is now in the race, as is 2018 state Representative candidate Cameron Chick, Sr.
The Democratic primary winner will hold the inside track to winning the seat in the general election. Republicans are not expected to make a major push in this northern New Mexico district considering its long history as a Democratic stronghold.
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