Looks like we – and by we, I mean they – will have a serious fight on our hands:
New Mexico Lt. Gov. John Sanchez is poised to join former Rep. Heather Wilson in the Republican primary for the Land of Enchantment’s open Senate seat, according to GOP sources. The move sets up the likelihood of heated GOP primary that could test the loyalties of newly elected Gov. Susana Martinez (R).
Sanchez, who is putting together a campaign team and plans a trip to Washington, D.C., later this month, ran on a ticket with Martinez in their successful 2010 campaign.
Sanchez obviously wants to present himself as the “true conservative” alternative to the apostate Wilson, but he’s not an especially impressive figure and thus he might not be the last person to enter the race. Teabaggers are rarely satisfied with establishment types, even archetypally wingnutty ones, so I could see a “true, TRUE conservative” also trying to make a go of it.
Sanchez does have one important attribute: money. In fact, he’s self-funded most of his campaigns. Of course, this is a two-edged sword – the sort of laziness that’s borne of self-funding can really hurt you in a low-turnout primary where grassroots excitement is a key factor. When people give money to your campaign, they are also buying in to it. You create a cadre of individuals who really care about the outcome and will often do more than just donate a single time. We’ll see whether Sanchez understands this.
UPDATE: Grr – looks like the fight right now is actually between Roll Call and The Hill. The latter publication is taking exception to the former’s initial report, saying:
New Mexico Republicans expect the Senate primary field to grow, but an associate close to Lt. Gov. John Sanchez (R) said an announcement about his intentions isn’t “imminent.” …
A report on Thursday indicated that Sanchez was “poised” to enter the race. But a close associate of the lt. governor called that “premature.”
“Expectations of an imminent announcement are premaure,” the associate of Sanchez told The Ballot Box, noting the Republican was focused on the current legislative session, which runs through noon on March 19.