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Senate race gets revved up

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By Jay Miller

SANTA FE — The Labor Day weekend usually is the kick off for the following year’s major political campaigns. This year may be a little different however.
The state legislature’s special session on redistricting undoubtedly will grab many of the headlines for a few weeks. That likely means no major announcements by the candidates but it won’t stop behind-the-scenes jockeying.
The wide open U.S. Senate race to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Bingaman picked up four major candidates very quickly last spring but has been rather quiet since then.
Here is where that contest stands at this point. The Democratic primary features a struggle between 1st Congressional District Rep. Martin Heinrich and state Auditor Hector Balderas. Andres Valdes, an Albuquerque activist, also has announced.
On the Republican side of the ballot are former 1st Congressional District Rep. Heather Wilson and Lt. Gov. John Sanchez. Two other candidates, Las Cruces businessman Greg Sowards and William English of Alamogordo, also are in the race.
These lineups promise exciting primary elections on both sides followed by a hard fought general election battle. This is as it should be for an important U.S. Senate seat that traditionally only comes open every few decades in New Mexico.


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