Wednesday News Roundup: General Election Race For Governor Under Way

Jun 4, 2014

General Election Race For Governor Under WayThe Associated Press

Democratic Attorney General Gary King has cleared the first hurdle in his underdog bid to become governor, toppling four opponents in a lackluster primary race. His next challenge will be much more formidable.

King faces Republican Gov. Susana Martinez in the November general election and is at a decided disadvantage.

Martinez has aired television campaign ads for weeks and has more than $4 million in the bank that she built up as a national political star. She's the nation's first female Hispanic governor.

In other races Tuesday, retired Marine Col. Allen Weh easily defeated his GOP challenger to win the Republican primary and run against first-term Sen. Tom Udall.

The Democratic senator is heavily favored to win, but Weh said he believes the tide is turning against Washington politicians like Udall.

Voters To Decide 18 Contested Legislative RacesThe Associated Press

Voters in New Mexico's primary election set the stage for a political struggle later this year over whether Republicans can win control of the state House for the first time in decades.

There are 18 contested House races on Tuesday's primary ballot, including seven with incumbent lawmakers — five Democrats and two Republicans.

All 70 House seats are up for election this year, but 25 incumbents are unopposed.

Democrats hold a 37-33 advantage in the House, but Republicans are trying to pick up enough seats in the November general election to claim their first majority in 60 years.

Republicans hope their candidates will receive a boost this fall by having popular Republican Gov. Susana Martinez on the ballot to potentially increase turnout among GOP-leaning voters.

Eichenberg Beats Wertheim In Heated Treasurer RaceThe Associated Press

Former state Sen. Tim Eichenberg has won the heated Democratic race for New Mexico treasurer.

Unofficial results show Eichenberg defeated former state Democratic Party Chairman John Wertheim with 53 percent of the vote.

The race has been among the most contentious this primary, prompting a call from Democratic Party Chairman Sam Bregman to tone things down.

The winner faces Republican Rick Lopez in November.

During the campaign, Wertheim ran ads accusing Eichenberg of discriminating against Latinos, women and gays with votes in the Senate and as Bernalillo County treasurer.

Eichenberg called those attacks a "smear," and he said his opponent doesn't have the experience for the job.

Suit Filed Over Independents Barred From VotingThe Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

An Albuquerque lawyer has filed a suit on behalf of nearly 249,000 people barred by state law from voting in the primary election because they're registered as independent.

According to the suit filed in state District Court in Albuquerque by J. Edward Hollington, the law prohibiting independents violates the state constitution.

The suit argues that the constitution grants all citizens who are "qualified electors" the right to vote "at all elections for public officers."

It also notes that primary elections are paid for with tax dollars in New Mexico.

Hollington told The Santa Fe New Mexican Tuesday that he doesn't expect a hearing on the suit for several months.

He says his hope is to have the state Supreme Court decide the issue in time for the 2016 primary.

Candidate In Tire Slashing Sentenced To Year The Associated Press and KOB TV

A former New Mexico congressional candidate accused of stalking a political rival and slashing her tires has been sentenced to a year in prison.

KOB-TV reports a New Mexico district judge ordered Gary Smith on Tuesday to serve 12 more months in prison.

Smith has already served around 18 months at the Metropolitan Detention Center.

According to police, Smith, a Republican, slashed tires of two vehicles outside of former opponent Janice Arnold-Jones' home in December 2012. He pleaded no contest last month.

A lawsuit filed by Arnold-Jones' supporters resulted in Smith getting knocked off the GOP primary ballot in 2012. Arnold-Jones went on to be defeated in the general election.

Officials say after serving his New Mexico sentence, he will be extradited to Texas where he faces aggravated assault charges.

Albuquerque Police Protester To Face Judge – The Associated Press

An Albuquerque activist arrested for his role in a sit in at the mayor's office protesting police shootings is scheduled to face a judge.

David Correia is slated Wednesday to go before a judge on a battery on a peace officer charge. Authorities say Correia pushed an officer who was trying to prevent a crowd from entering Mayor Richard Berry's office on Monday.

Correia told The Associated Press he will plead not guilty.

More than two dozen demonstrators stormed the mayor's office Monday and held a sit in in the lobby before tactical police moved in to arrest protesters.

Demonstrators said they wanted Police Chief Gorden Eden fired and a complete overhaul of the police department.

Police: New Mexico Man Set On Fire By 2 MenThe Associated Press

A New Mexico man is recovering for burns after authorities say two men on bicycles doused him with a flammable liquid and set him ablaze while the man was watering his grass.

Carlsbad police say the 42-year-old man was attacked for unknown reasons Monday night and transported to Carlsbad Medical Center for treatment of burns to his upper body and face.

Authorities say he was later transported to an area hospital for a higher level of care.

No arrests have been made.