December 23, 2015

Youngblood to head up Rubio’s NM campaign

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Marco Rubio at the 2015 Iowa Growth & Opportunity Party at the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore cc

New Mexico isn’t high on the list of priorities for presidential campaigns during the primary season.

Marco Rubio at the 2015 Iowa Growth & Opportunity Party at the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore cc

Marco Rubio at the 2015 Iowa Growth & Opportunity Party at the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore cc

The primary takes place in June, well after nominations are usually locked up. New Mexico is one of the smaller states and so has fewer delegates up for grabs.

Still, Republican candidate Marco Rubio named State Rep. Monica Youngblood as his campaign chairman in the state.

“After growing up paycheck to paycheck, like many New Mexicans, Marco Rubio understands the challenges facing low income and middle-class families in New Mexico,” Youngblood said according to the Associated Press.

More from the wire service:

It’s the first step in building a ground game for the Cuban-American Republican in the state with the highest percentage of Hispanics. Rubio, a U.S. senator from Florida, is one of the first 2016 presidential candidates to set up shop in New Mexico.

No other candidate — Democrat or Republican — has established a visible campaign in the state.

Since New Mexico isn’t likely to be important in the primary (on either the Democratic or Republican side), it may be a look toward the general election. While New Mexico was solidly for Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012 (to the point where neither Obama nor Mitt Romney put much effort into the state in 2012), it was a very close election in the state in both 2000 and 2004.

Republicans are hoping they can put the state back in play, especially after recent Republican successes. Susana Martinez easily won a second term in 2014 and Republicans took control of the state House for the first time in decades.

The U.S. Senator from Florida has been criticized for a campaign focused on television and fundraising from large donors rather than the more personal, retail campaigning that is seen as the traditional way to win early states like Iowa and New Hampshire.

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