With primary elections for many races a little less than a year away, candidates are already jockeying for positions.
The top tier race in the state will be the race to replace Susana Martinez as governor. The Republican is barred from running for a third consecutive term by state law.
U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce is the lone Republican candidate so far. Pearce said in a press call after announcing his candidacy that he believed Lt. Gov. John Sanchez and Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry would not seek the position.
Sanchez made it official that he would not run for governor in a Facebook post earlier this week.
On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, former Univision executive Jeff Apodaca, state Senator Joseph Cervantes and alcohol tax activist Peter DeBenedittis have announced they will run.
The other key statewide race is for U.S. Senator. Incumbent Martin Heinrich, a Democrat, is running for a second term after defeating Republican Heather Wilson in 2012.
Businessman Mick Rich has already announced he will run, the lone Republican to do so, though Sanchez is reportedly considering running. Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry is another possibility.
Pearce’s entrance into the governor’s race will cause a ripple effect up and down the ballot.
State Rep. Yvette Herrell announced she will seek Pearce’s seat in Congress, and she likely won’t be the only Republican. State Sen. Cliff Pirtle and State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn are also considering entering the race. Dunn also may run for a seat on the Public Regulation Commission.
Four Democrats have already announced they are looking at a run for the seat. They are Las Cruces Indivisible co-founder Tony Martinez, Las Cruces attorney David Baake, activist Ronald Ritzherbert and Socorro National Guard veteran Madeleine Hildebrandt.
Lujan Grisham’s decision to run for governor set off a similar scramble in the 1st Congressional District.*
Correction: This story originally omitted Mick Rich as a candidate for U.S. Senate. We regret the error.
* Note: NM Political Report is not covering the 1st Congressional District race in 2018. We outlined why earlier this year.