New Mexico’s U.S. Senate candidates spar in final televised debate

Local Elections

In their final shot to win over voters, the three candidates vying for New Mexico’s U.S. Senate seat went all in. 

KRQE News 13 hosted the final televised debate tonight between incumbent Democrat Senator Martin Heinrich, Republican businessman Mick Rich and Libertarian former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.

VIEW: KRQE News 13 U.S. Senate Debate

The debate was punctuated with a lot of disagreement on critical issues facing New Mexicans. While the three candidates rarely saw eye to eye on a wide range of topics, there was some common ground on topics like immigration and border security, minimum wage and legalizing marijuana. 

On immigration and border security, Rich advocated for more security. 

“I’ve always believed we need to secure our southern border,” said Rich. 

Meanwhile, Heinrich and Johnson’s views aligned, in part on the topic of immigration. 

“I think we can do a lot better than (a border wall,) I think we can pass comprehensive immigration reform,” said Heinrich. 

“This is not an assault on America, and you know what, we do need comprehensive immigration reform,” said Johnson. 

On the federal minimum wage, Heinrich was alone in his idea. 

“I think we should raise it fifteen dollars an hour and step it in overtime,” said Heinrich.

Rich disagreed, pointing to southeast New Mexico’s oil and gas boom as a reason why minimum wage shouldn’t change. 

“They’re telling me in McDonald’s, they’re paying 20 something an hour to work at McDonald’s. Why? Because the economy is booming” said Rich. 

Johnson sarcastically chided Heinrich for a suggestion of a minimum wage hike. 

“I think we should raise it to 75 dollars an hour! Why stop at 15? When we could directly to 75?” said Johnson. 

All three candidates admitted to smoking marijuana in their lifetime and some support legalization on the federal level. 

“Yes,” said Heinrich when asked about federal marijuana legalization. 

“It should be left to the states,” said Johnson. 

Rich opposed legalizing weed, pointing to his belief about the effects it has caused in Colorado. 

“After it was legalized, the spike in driving under the influence,” said Rich. 

Each candidate addresses far more questions in the entirety of the debate. Click here to view KRQE News 13’s complete coverage of the final televised U.S. Senate debate.

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