King wins Dem nod in Gov race

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By Associated Press


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Attorney General Gary King has won New Mexico's Democratic gubernatorial nomination and will face incumbent Republican Susana Martinez in the general election.

King defeated four other candidates in a quiet primary in which Democrats avoided attacking each other and focused their criticisms on Martinez.

Martinez is a rising star in national GOP circles as the nation's first female Hispanic governor, and she's considered a strong favorite to win re-election.

Martinez holds a hefty financial advantage, accumulating more than $4 million in her re-election account while the Democrats largely exhausted their funding in the primary.

King is a two-term attorney general and the son of New Mexico's longest-serving governor, the late Bruce King.

Bunched behind King were Santa Fe businessman Alan Webber, state Sen. Howie Morales of Silver City and former government administrator Lawrence Rael of Albuquerque. State Sen. Linda Lopez of Albuquerque trailed.

Morales received a boost from a hefty margin in his home county, and Webber ran strongly in the Santa Fe area.

Martinez was unopposed in the GOP primary. The first-term governor is a rising star in GOP circles as the nation's first female Hispanic governor.

Without a primary opponent, Martinez has amassed a hefty campaign war chest of more than $4 million and aired television advertisements to polish her image and frame the general election on her terms. One recent ad said Democrats would return to the "same failed agenda" of former Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson.

Democrats refrained from criticizing each other during the primary and focused their attacks on Martinez, blaming her for New Mexico's weak economy and a lack of progress on a host of nagging social economic problems such as having the highest child-poverty rates in the nation.

King entered the gubernatorial race with the most name recognition of the Democratic candidates. He's a two-term attorney general and the son of New Mexico's longest-serving governor, the late Bruce King.

Webber is making his first bid for elective office. He co-founded the business magazine Fast Company in the 1990s and along with investors later sold it for more than $300 million. He was the leading Democratic fundraiser and jump-started his campaign with $450,000 in personal loans and contributions

Rael touted his more than 30 years of experience in local, state and federal government jobs. He helped launch the Rail Runner commuter rail system while serving as head of the Mid-Region Council of Governments, a regional planning agency that oversees train operations.

Morales has served in the state Senate since 2008, representing a southwestern New Mexico district. He is a former Grant County clerk and has worked as a hospital administrator and special education teacher.

Lopez, a consultant, has been a member of the Senate since 1997, She represents a district in Albuquerque, New Mexico's largest city.