New Mexico Lt. Gov. John Sanchez dismissed his potential rival for the GOP Senate nomination as a centrist has-been who would be unable to excite Republican voters.
Sanchez was in Washington Thursday for the National Lieutenant Governors Association's winter meeting as he explores a possible Senate bid.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) announced last month he wouldn't seek reelection in 2012, prompting several candidates to surge into the GOP primary for the open seat. The field now includes former Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.), businessman and former congressional candidate Greg Sowards and Bill English.
Sanchez, who has yet to declare his intentions, said Wilson's time has passed.
"I think Heather served honorably," he said in an interview. "But if we consider the choices that were made by former establishment candidates, I think it's clear the choices will be very easy for the people of New Mexico.
"Do they want a return back to the days of moderate-type leaders [whose] conservative compasses [weren’t] pointed in the right direction? Or are they looking for somebody who doesn't have to reinvent himself?" he said. "I think the choice for U.S. Senate is abundantly clear."