Race for House seat heats up between Democrats as early primary voting nears

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Democratic voters in New Mexico’s most populated congressional district will soon be tasked with narrowing down a long list of candidates to just one.

For almost the past decade, a Democrat has represented New Mexico’s House District 1 in Washington. The experts predict that will remain the case, but which democrat is the question.

The ads are flooding the airwaves and the signs are out in full force. It’s the final push before early voting for the primary election begins on Saturday, May 19.

“With Lujan Grisham vacating her seat, anytime you have an open district you’re going to see a lot of candidates emerge and that’s what we’ve seen in this case,” Gabe Sanchez, UNM political science professor, said.

Between Damian Lara, Debra Haaland, Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, Pat Davis, Damon Martinez and Paul Moya, Sanchez says it’s hard to know which of the six democrats running for House District 1 will be victorious in the primary election on June 5.

“There hasn’t been a lot of independent polling. There’s little polls here and there but we don’t have a really good hand on who exactly is going to emerge at this point,” Sanchez said.

All of the candidates bring something to the table, with some standing out more than others.

There’s Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis, who resonates with the LGBTQ community.

Antoinette Sedillo Lopez is a Hispanic woman, appealing to a major demographic.

Debra Haaland says she would be the first female Native American in the U.S. House of Representatives.

But Sanchez says one person to watch is Damon Martinez, former U.S. Attorney for New Mexico.

“He’s had a lot of great TV ads. He’s raised enough money to be viable down the stretch, and people are thinking if Haaland and Sedillo Lopez split the female vote, and that’s really what everybody is looking at — the female vote, the woman vote in this district — can he or Pat Davis maybe emerge and squeak this thing out down the stretch?” Sanchez explained.

Sedillo Lopez, then Haaland, have the most campaign funds while Paul Moya has the least.

Campaign finance records from the Federal Election Commissioner show that the Democratic Party of New Mexico has not contributed to any of the the six candidates’ campaigns.

Meanwhile, the solo Republican running for this seat is Janice Arnold Jones. She’s raised about $67,000.

Arnold Jones ran for the same seat in 2012 and lost to now-gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grishman.

There’s also a Libertarian in the race: small business owner Lloyd Princeton.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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