A national Republican group highlighted four high priority state races in the upcoming elections.
The Republican State Leadership Committee put four New Mexico races in their “16 in ‘16: Races to Watch” list earlier this week, including the high-profile Secretary of State race. Outside of the presidential race, election to replace Dianna Duran as Secretary of State is the lone statewide non-judicial race this fall.
That race pits Republican State Representative Nora Espinoza against Democratic Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver.
The other three races on the list are legislative races.
One state senate race could be turning into the Republican white whale: Ousting Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez from his Belen-area Senate District 29 seat. Greg Baca is the Republican facing Sanchez this year.
The other state senate race was one of the closest races of 2012. In Senate District 9, John Sapien, D-Corrales, is running for reelection against Diego Espinoza after winning by fewer than 200 votes in 2012.
Espinoza hailed the recognition from the national group.
“The incumbent, an entrenched politician, only won this seat by 161 votes in the last election,” Espinoza said in a statement. “So far we’ve out-raised him, out worked-him and are reminding voters this seat belongs to the people, not a politician.”
In the House, the group highlighted the race in in House District 24, one of the state’s swing districts. Republican Christina Hall and former Democratic State Rep. Liz Thomson will face each other in that open seat race.
This race has bounced back and forth from Democratic to Republican in the last three elections, from Conrad James to Thomson then back to James.
Republican Party of New Mexico chair Debbie Maestas said in a statement she was “thrilled” that the four races are on the RSLC’s radar.
“This is a testament not only to RPNM’s candidate recruitment efforts, but also to the hard work that our candidates are putting into their races this year and their passion for putting New Mexico on the right track,” she said. We are extremely proud of the races Dr. Christina Hall, Diego Espinoza, Greg Baca and Nora Espinoza are running, and know voters in November will reward their positive, forward thinking messages and not the status-quo politicians they’re campaigning against.”