January 8, 2020

Senate race gets more crowded with two more Republicans

Two more Republicans entered New Mexico’s open U.S. Senate race this week, bringing the total number of candidates for the party’s nomination to five.

Tuesday, former TV meteorologist Mark Ronchetti announced he would seek the nomination. The longtime weatherman released a video, where he said he is a conservative Republican and that he supports gun rights and is anti-abortion.

“New Mexicans are fed up with the petty partisan politics that has gotten in the way of progress for New Mexicans,” Ronchetti said. “Hatred for your political opponents can never be stronger than your love of New Mexico – when it is, nobody wins. When partisanship is all that matters, it’s the people that get left behind – I will always put New Mexicans first.”

Ronchetti worked for KRQE-TV, the CBS affiliate in Albuquerque, for 13 years.

Ronchetti isn’t the only new candidate in the race. Shooting range owner Louis Sanchez filed his paperwork on New Year’s Eve to run for the seat.

“The politicians in Washington make the same empty promises when it’s election time in New Mexico and break them as soon as they get back to DC,” Sanchez told the Associated Press. “We need new leaders if we want new results.”

The two are seeking to replace U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat who announced last year he would not seek another term. Udall is in his second term as a U.S. Senator and previously served in the U.S. House and as New Mexico’s Attorney General.

Ronchetti and Sanchez join an already-crowded Republican primary.

Former Donald Trump administration official Gavin Clarkson, Albuquerque contractor and 2018 Republican U.S. Senate nominee Mick Rich and anti-abortion activist Elisa Martinez are already in the race. Albuquerque radio personality and station owner Eddy Aragon has hinted at a run, but has not made an official announcement.

The winner of the Republican primary will likely face U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján. Luján faces former city of Española finance director Andrew Perkins in the Democratic primary, though the six-term U.S. Representative is considered a heavy favorite to win the party’s nomination.

Primaries take place this June, with the winners of those contests moving onto the November general election.