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Two years ago in their choice of place for preprimary conventions, New Mexico’s Democrats and Republicans suggested widely contrasting visions of the future. For the vast majority not worried about such events, the conventions gather party and candidate faithful. Candidates receiving at least 20 percent of the delegate vote get on the ballot for the June primary election. Candidates with less than 20 percent must gather additional petition signatures to get on the ballot.
The organized state parties stage the event. How the parties approach the task suggests something (maybe not much) about how the parties view the world.
Crowd size is one site-selection variable. Democrats invite a couple of thousand people to their party. For Republicans, it is 600 or so.
In 2008, the Democrats embraced the future and chose the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, several miles from anywhere except Rio Rancho’s city hall. The Star Center is new, innovative at least in location, government owned, and losing some money on operations.
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