On Tuesday, GOP candidates in Santa Fe initiated their campaign journey for the upcoming June 4 primary, aiming to challenge the current Democrat U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich and to secure key congressional seats.
Nella Domenici, a businesswoman and the daughter of the late U.S. Senator Pete Domenici, formally submitted her candidacy petition to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office, eyeing the Republican nomination to confront Heinrich, who is vying for his third term in office.
In her early campaign declarations, Domenici has voiced her concerns over issues like inflation, crime, border control, and the welfare of children, though she opted not to provide further comments on Tuesday.
Her likely opponent in the GOP race is former Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, who has recently switched from the Democrat Party to pursue the Republican Senate nomination, also filing his candidacy on the same day.
Gonzales, who served as sheriff since 2014 in New Mexico’s largest county, collaborated with then-President Donald Trump in 2020 on law enforcement initiatives and ran for the Albuquerque mayor’s office in 2021, albeit unsuccessfully.
This election cycle, Democrats are on the defensive, striving to maintain their slim 51-49 Senate majority, with 23 seats up for grabs.
Heinrich previously secured his seat in 2018, winning approximately 54% of the vote in a contest against Republican Mick Rich and Libertarian Gary Johnson, a former Governor of New Mexico.
In the race for the congressional seat along the Mexico-U.S. border, Republicans are rallying behind a candidate to challenge U.S. Rep. Gabe Vasquez. Yvette Herrell, looking to win back the 2nd District seat she lost in 2022, had her campaign manager submit her candidacy paperwork on Tuesday, making the district a focal point in the national debate as Republicans aim to maintain their narrow House majority.
Despite a legal challenge from the Republican Party against a Democrat-drawn gerrymandered congressional map that redefined the 2nd District, the fully Democrat-controlled New Mexico Supreme Court upheld the map.
Currently, Democrats hold sway in New Mexico, controlling both Senate seats, all congressional districts, and dominating state-wide elected positions as well as the state legislature.
In the 3rd Congressional District, former state Rep. Sharon Clahchischilliage from Gadii’ahi has thrown her hat in the ring for the Republican nomination to face off against Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez, who is seeking her third term. Clahchischilliage aims to tackle regulatory overreach and boost economic prospects, citing concerns over policies affecting gun control and the energy sector.
For the 1st Congressional District, two Republicans are vying for the chance to challenge incumbent Democrat Melanie Stansbury. Louie Sanchez, an Albuquerque business owner, emphasizes public safety, gun rights, and economic issues, while Steve Jones, a CPA from Ruidoso, pledges to address federal spending and the national deficit.