There’s still more than a year until New Mexicans vote in the primary election and general election for the U.S. Senate, but one local commercial building contractor said he’s already prepared to take on incumbent Democrat Martin Heinrich.
Mick Rich, owner of Mick Rich Contractors, said his plans for the Senate don’t go past two terms, or 12 years.
“I am not moving to D.C.,” Rich told NM Political Report. “I want to make it clear, two terms and I’m done.”
A registered Republican, Rich speaks highly of former Republican U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici and said the six-term senator’s career is a “great road map” for serving New Mexico.
“He made sure that our labs and bases had a mission,” Rich said. “He made sure that mission was funded.”
In 2011, Sandia National Laboratories named one of their buildings the Pete V. Domenici National Security Innovation Center. Domenici, who chaired the Senate Budget committee multiple times, was well-known for finding federal funding for the New Mexico labs.
While Domenici is who Rich aspires to be, Heinrich is at the other end of the spectrum.Heinrich’s time in office, Rich said, was the reason he wanted to run for Senate. Rich, naturally, likens being in office to running a business.
When times are tough, Rich said, citizens should take a close look at how government is run and ask questions like, “Are we going in the right direction?” or “Do we have the right people on the bus?”
Rich thinks he has the answers to those questions.
“Martin Heinrich isn’t the right guy on the bus,” Rich said.
Specifically, Rich doesn’t think the federal government should take over state land and designate it as wilderness, something he said Heinrich supports too often.
Rich also takes issue with Heinrich’s record of opposing almost all of President Donald Trump’s appointments, specifically mentioning Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.
“He’s going to be the Secretary of Energy, we need him for our state labs,” Rich said. “Vote for the guy and tell your party, ‘I’m sucking it up for my state.’”
Rich said he also has a problem with Heinrich’s decision to take part in a survival reality show in 2014.
“I’m not expecting for my vacations from D.C. to be, ‘Oh God, let me see if I can be on a deserted island with somebody on the other side to run around an island playing “Lord of the Flies,”’” Rich said.
Heinrich took part in the show with Republican Jeff Flake from Arizona.
Rich said he was “all in” with Gov. Susana Martinez when she was elected both times.
“Right now I’m looking at Martinez and she doesn’t have a solid partner with our people in Washington D.C.,” Rich said.
Rich has never run for public office before but said he’s determined to win against Heinrich, who has plenty of name recognition. It’s still unclear who may run against Rich in a Republican primary.
“I intend to win this race, period,” Rich said. “Anybody that wants to get in this race is more than welcome.”
Rich has lived in New Mexico for 37 years and has owned his own construction company for almost as long. His company’s website boasts many finished projects for governmental and public agencies. He told NM Political Report his son is taking on a bigger role in his business and would most likely take over if Rich were to be elected in 2018.