The Campaign Spot

In New Mexico, Heather Wilson for Senate, Dan Lewis for House?

There is word of two potential Republican campaigns in today’s Albuquerque Journal (reading the article requires sitting through an ad):

Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis has announced that he is forming an exploratory committee — also known as a pre-campaign fundraising apparatus — that will look at the possibility of running for Congress in the Albuquerque-based 1st Congressional District.

Lewis, a Republican, said in statements on his exploratory committee website that he is unhappy with Democratic incumbent Rep. Martin Heinrich’s record. “The incumbent says he has finally discovered the enormous financial disaster looming over us from the national debt, but that didn’t stop him from voting for Obama’s trillion-dollar health tax and trillions of more dollars in government bailouts and so-called stimulus spending,” Lewis said. “It was incumbent Martin Heinrich who championed the government health care boondoggle, the colossal cost of which we are only now beginning to comprehend.” Lewis was elected to the Albuquerque City Council in 2009 and just finished the first year of his term.

Former Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., who used to hold Heinrich’s seat, says she is considering another run for U.S. Senate, but that it wasn’t a done deal. “I am considering running for Senate, as well as other opportunities,” Wilson said. Incumbent Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., has not yet said whether he will seek another six-year term in 2012. Wilson, a former Air Force captain, ran for New Mexico’s other Senate seat in 2008, losing in the Republican primary to Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M. Pearce lost to Sen. Tom Udall in 2008, but won his old congressional seat back in November.

New Mexico is likely to be a swing state in the 2012 presidential election, and is likely to get a lot of attention, resources, and visits from Obama and his Republican rival. Obama carried it by a surprisingly wide margin (15 percentage points) but George W. Bush narrowly carried it in 2004 and Al Gore won it by the thinnest of margins in 2000. The state has voted for the winning candidate in eight of the past ten presidential elections.

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