NM-Sen: Lt. Gov. John Sanchez to Become Second Republican to Enter Race (UPDATED)

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.

46 thoughts on “NM-Sen: Lt. Gov. John Sanchez to Become Second Republican to Enter Race (UPDATED)”

  1. First, it’s not entirely clear from the post, but the LG in New Mexico is a running mate and not a separately elected position as it is in many states.

    Second, Sanchez ran and won the GOP primary for Governor back in 2002 (and was beat by Richardson), so he already has success in GOP-land.  

  2. To making it impossible to win the seat. This, by the way, is probably partially caused by Steve Pearce, he hates Heather Wilson and I’ll bet that he prodded Sanchez to get in.

    I said it before, but Wilson was never going to get a cleared field to run for Senate.

  3. The GOP is getting about the best candidates that they could have in this situation. Still Heinrich or Balderas barring a shitty campaign and/or an Obama collapse will be favored to hold the seat.

    I know that the question will be coming so I am going to try and answer it right now. Latinos won’t vote for Sanchez because he is Latino if he is nominated vs. Heinrich. Heinrich overwhelmingly won Latinos in his tight 2010 race against John Barela. Susanna Martinez also overwhelmingly lost Latinos against Diane Denish. NM is a state that is quite used to electing Latino statewide office holders so the aura is not there.

    I am betting that by the end of the month Heinrich and/or Balderas will declare for the race. Balderas would make a great Governor’s candidate in 2014 if he passes. A Senate seat for decades can be very tempting though. Domenici and Bingaman both lasted several terms. Udall isn’t going anywhere so now is the time to jump at the race if you ever wanted to be a Senator, this has to be what young Heinrich and Balderas are thinking.  

  4. That is, unless Pearce or another Tea Partier enters. At that point, I think Wilson, who can at least manage mid-40s, prevails. Of course, by that point, she won’t have a dime to her name and the Democrat will still win by double-digits. FWIW, I actually think Sanchez is a far better candidate than Pearce was in ’08. I suspect whoever the GOP nominee is will lose, but by more like 15 points, not by 2 to 1.

  5. Sanchez would get more of the rural conservative vote-similar to Pierce/Wilson 2008.  Sanchez would benefit from the Martinez/teaparty connections. Wilson has the old establishment while Sanchez would get the new.  I still wonder why Wilson would jump in if Sanchez was committed.  Who knows?

    For a GE–Wilson would run better against Baldaras then Heinrich.  Sanchez would run better against Heinrich but a little less so against Baldaras.  My sense is that Sanchez-Heinrich would be a replay of the Gov 2010 race.  As a liberal hispanic Baldaras would be weaker against Wilson in the rural areas.  

    I think 2008 will not be prologue for 2012.  Wilson-Baldaras or Sanchez-Heinrich would look like a down to the wire races to me.  

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