NM GOP Senate primary gets off to rough start

The top two contenders for the GOP's Senate nomination in New Mexico both ran into trouble this week.

State Lt. Gov. John Sanchez (R), who made his candidacy official Tuesday, received what was interpreted as a veiled slap from his boss when announcing his run only months after winning his current position.

"I wish all of the candidates for the U.S. Senate well and do not intend to make an endorsement in the Republican primary at this time," New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) said in a statement released by her office Tuesday.

"It is Lt. Governor Sanchez's decision to pursue what he believes is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run for the Senate. However, it is my responsibility to keep my word to the people of New Mexico by pursuing the reform agenda I promised and delivering the results they deserve. To prevent this race from becoming a distraction, Lt. Governor Sanchez will not be given responsibilities in my administration beyond the select few provided for in the state Constitution."

Former Rep. Heather Wilson's (R-N.M.) campaign sent out a release Wednesday with a collection of headlines noting Sanchez's "bumpy start."

Asked on Tuesday if his official duties would hinder his ability to campaign, Sanchez was adamant. 

"Not at all," he said. "After today we look forward to getting on a statewide announcement tour. We look forward to spending quite a bit of windshield time across New Mexico."

Meanwhile, Wilson's Senate campaign had its own problems this week.

Last Friday, her campaign issued statement saying Wilson had been endorsed by Belen Mayor Rudy Jaramillo, a Democrat.

But according to the Albuquerque Journal, there was no endorsement. "I haven't endorsed anybody. I have made no endorsement of Heather Wilson," Jaramillo told the paper on Monday. "I don't even know where that came from at all."

Wilson subsequently issued a statement saying there was a "miscommunication" with Jaramillo.

"We are removing his name from our list of endorsers," Wilson said.

In addition to Sanchez and Wilson, businessman and former congressional candidate Greg Sowards and Bill English are also in the hunt for the GOP nod.