For the first time in state history, the Libertarian Party of New Mexico held a pre-primary convention to vote nominees for state and federal offices. Because all six candidates were unopposed, there wasn’t the contention usually expected at major party nominating conventions. Instead, party members focused on celebrating the party’s move towards prominence and public visibility in the New Mexico political sphere. “This is, by far and away, the most visibility the party has successfully achieved in the state,” Libertarian Party of New Mexico Vice-Chair Helen Milenski said. Still, the group of about 100 attendees spent the day meeting the candidates and listening to their stump speeches.
After months of largely being ignored for other, more relevant states in the presidential election process, New Mexico will spend a few days being essentially ground zero for presidential politics. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders brings his campaign to New Mexico today in Santa Fe and Albuquerque and heads south down I-25 to Vado on Saturday. Sanders is down in the polls, but hopes large victories in the remaining states will lead to enough superdelegates changing their allegiances from Clinton to Sanders. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump will also appear in New Mexico—in fact at the same venue as Sanders—on Tuesday. The Republican candidate has drawn large rallies in cities throughout the country, sometimes with protests on a similar scale.