New Mexico Federal Office Candidates File, No Contention for Democratic Primary Candidates


Moderate Republicanism verses Trumpian ideology. Which will prevail for the Republican primary in New Mexico.

New Mexico candidates completed state registration for the upcoming primary election on Tuesday. Specific to the federal offices, under Democratic Party control, all incumbents will go unchallenged in the upcoming New Mexico primaries.

There will be no contested Democratic primaries, as the incumbents in all three congressional districts as well as the U.S. Senate is seeking re-election.

The real focus on the Democratic primary therefore will be local races and races for the state house and the state senate. We will cover those matchups in a follow up article.

The real interest during the primaries will be the candidates under the Republican banner seeking to unseat and challenge the federal incumbents. 

The race that is already getting the most attention in the primary is the race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Nella Domenici, a former hedge fund executive and daughter of former U.S. Senator Pete Domenici will face Manny Gonzales, a former Democrat who served two terms as Bernalillo County Sheriff.

Many political analyst and pundits suggest that businesswoman Nella Domenici, daughter of longtime U.S. Senator Pete V. Domenici is highly favoured over Manny Gonzales for the nomination to take on Heinrich as he runs for a third term. Domenici comes from a family deeply respected in New Mexico politics. Her father was a moderate Republican and recognized nationally. The contest will be an interesting test for New Mexico's Republican Party as the "Retake Republicanism" wing of the party is represented by Domenici as she takes on Trumpian theologist Manny Gonzales. Gonzales served two terms as sheriff starting in 2014 in the state’s most populous county, coordinated policing initiatives with Donald Trump in 2020 as the then-president deployed federal agents to Albuquerque. 

Gonzales ran unsuccessfully for Albuquerque mayor in 2021 against incumbent Tim Keller.

Heinrich won re-election in 2018 with about 54% of the vote in a three-way race against Republican Mick Rich and Libertarian candidate and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.

Another competitive primary is the race for the Republican nomination for the 1st Congressional District, with former energy consultant Steve Jones of Ruidoso facing off against gun range owner Louie Sanchez. Jones previously ran for the 2nd Congressional District seat as a write-in candidate, while Sanchez previously sought the 1st Congressional District seat and lost in the Republican primary.

The race that has the attention of special interest in the oil industry, big PAC money and the leadership of Congress in Washington DC is the general election race will be in the state’s 2nd Congressional District. That district is home to Alamogordo and home to the states 2nd most populated city Las Cruces and covers much of the southern portion of New Mexico and butts up to the edges of Albuquerque. 

Former congresswoman Yvette Herrell is seeking to defeat incumbent Gabe Vasquez after Vasquez narrowly won the seat over her in 2022. Neither face a primary opponent. This race is a high stakes race as the district is one of about a dozen in the national spotlight as Republicans campaign to keep their slim U.S. House majority in 2024.

The Republican Party unsuccessfully challenged a Democratic-drawn congressional map that reshaped the 2nd District as it divvied up a conservative, oil-producing region among three congressional districts. In November, the state Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision that the map fell short of “egregious gerrymandering."

Former state legislator Sharon Clahchischilliage, of Gadii’ahi, a Navajo community on the outskirts of Farmington in northwestern New Mexico, filed a petition to seek the Republican nomination to the 3rd Congressional District, where Democratic Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernandez, of Santa Fe, is seeking a third term.

The sprawling district extends across northern and eastern New Mexico, including national security facilities at Los Alamos National Laboratory and rural communities recovering from the largest wildfire in the state’s recorded history.

Clahchischilliage said she wants to address government regulatory overreach and improve economic opportunity.

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