Updated: Thursday, 23 Jun 2011, 9:12 AM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 22 Jun 2011, 10:17 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The rumors are swirling that some big names are about to jump into the race to replace Rep. Martin Heinrich in Congress.
Sources tell News 13 former Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez could enter the Democratic primary for the 1st District Congressional seat as early as July 1. Calls to Chavez's Washington, D.C. office were not returned.
If Chavez announces his candidacy, he will face long-time political rival, State Sen. Eric Griego, who joined the race in April.
"Chavez is 99 percent in, and that sets up a real hot summer duel," said political blogger Joe Monahan.
Former Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, who ran unsuccessfully against Gov. Susana Martinez, also is "strongly considering" a run, according to a source close to her. In an op-ed article in the Deming Headlight on Wednesday, Denish pledged to fight for New Mexico families, saying "perhaps in seeking another office."
On the Republican side, current Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela could give it another go.
"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again," said Monahan.
A spokeswoman for Barela said he is open to the idea of running again, after losing to Heinrich last year for the job.
Barela would face Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis.
Lewis and Griego both said they welcome a lively primary.
Monahan said the big names in Chavez, Denish and Barela will make the races more exciting but wouldn't give them the edge yet.
"All of these names are going to have to overcome a public that's really quite tired of the same old faces," said Monahan.
All candidates need to formally enter the race by this fall. But the longer they wait, according to Monahan, the less time they have to raise money before the primary next summer.