Governor’s race ‘historic and unique’

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Max Best of Clovis places his ballot into a voting machine Tuesday at Zia Elementary School. Best said it’s his “civic duty to vote. You can’t complain if you’re not taking part.”

By David Stevens: FNM editor

New Mexico Republicans and Democrats can agree on at least one thing:

“I think you’d have to say the governor’s race is going to be front and center on everybody’s radar screen in November,” said Curry County Republican Chairman Rube Render.

“As we sit here right now, I’ve got to believe that the Susana Martinez-Diane Denish shooting match for governor … will be a quote-unquote historic and unique election.”

Martinez, a prosecutor from Dona Ana County, won a five-way race for the GOP nomination with about 51 percent of the votes on Tuesday. Denish has long been the Democrats’ choice to succeed two-term governor Bill Richardson.

The Associated Press reports it will be the third time in U.S. history two women have squared off in a governor’s race in the general election.

Jennifer Burrill, Curry County’s acting Democratic party chairman, said Brian Colon emerging the winner of a five-way race for lieutenant governor gives the Dems a strong November ticket against Martinez-John Sanchez.

“I think the Democrats ran a positive campaign with similar messages and I think Brian Colon winning is a good step forward in terms of having a unified party,” Burrill said.

“I think he’s an excellent mix with Denish. I think the Democratic message is about jobs and creation of jobs … and with the renewable energy that New Mexico has, that new industry is what’s going to pull us up by our bootstraps.”

Render agreed jobs is one issue high on New Mexicans’ list of factors that may decide November winners.

“Just looking at the polling, jobs is huge, education is huge and corruption is right up there,” Render said. “So those three things, that’s a pretty good start to get yourself wrapped around.”

Locally, few races were decided on Tuesday, though incumbent Curry County Probate Judge Kevin Duncan edged challenger Ribble Holloman, 53-47 percent.

State Rep. Anna Crook easily won a return to Santa Fe in District 64, beating political newcomer Wade Lopez, 87-13 percent.

Other winners included Land Commissioner Pat Lyons over challenger Robert Corn in the race for District 2 Public Regulation Commission. Lyons, a Clovis native, will face Democrat Stephanie DuBois in November.

Matt Rush, a Roosevelt County farmer and rancher, easily defeated former Eastern New Mexico University student Bob Cornelius to grab the Republican nomination for land commissioner. He faces former Land Commissioner Ray Powell in November.

Santa Rosa businessman George Dodge defeated Clovis’ Jose Griego in the Democratic race for District 63 state representative. He will face off against Fort Sumner’s Melinda Russ in November.