ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico will be in the national spotlight over the next week as the presidential race finally comes to the state.
For a while, it seemed like New Mexico wasn’t a high priority for the presidential candidates.
“I think we get overlooked,” said Taos Resident Casey Noss.
University of New Mexico Political Science Professor Gabriel Sanchez says events like this are a good way to increase voter enthusiasm and turn-out.
“I think for New Mexicans, no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, the fact that the candidates are invested here should be exciting,” says Sanchez.
But why now?
Sanchez says on the Democratic side it’s simple, Sanders thinks he has a chance to win the primary on June 7th. As for Trump, he has the Republican nomination locked down, but he still has work to do following his string of controversial comments about Mexican immigrants.
Sanchez said, “New Mexico is one of the very few places in the country where he might see an opportunity to bridge a little bit of a gap with the Hispanic population nationally.”
Having New Mexico in play has voters from both parties energized.
“I’m excited, I’m so glad and we kinda knew it was gonna happen too, with how close this race has been,” said Albuquerque Resident Alexis Stern.
“I’m pretty excited to see Donald Trump come. I think overall in general it’s pretty good for the state,” said Belen Resident Francisco Barela.
For some, these appearances could even be a chance for them to finally make up their minds.
“I’d love to hear what each of the candidates has to say and to experience their presence,” said Santa Fe Resident Roberta Moore.
Governor Susana Martinez has criticized Trump for his comments but has sidestepped questions about whether she’ll endorse him. KRQE News 13 reached out to her office to see if she’ll be appearing with Trump next Tuesday, but could not get a yes or no.