Alamogordo, New Mexico (CNN) – When CNN interviewed Susana Martinez, New Mexico's Republican candidate for Governor, we got a surprise. Our cameraman John Torigoe was trying to clip the microphone pack to the candidate's belt when she pulled away and said "Be careful, that's a gun back there." Martinez tells CNN she has a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
She was packing heat when she addressed a gathering in Alamogordo, New Mexico on Monday. She warned them not to get too confident because "as Republicans we're outnumbered."
(CNN) - Bill Clinton will continue his week of campaigning and fundraising Thursday in New Mexico when he stumps for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Diane Denish.
Clinton is lending his political prowess to Denish, who worked with the former president when she chaired the New Mexico Democratic Party and campaigned for his wife, Hillary Clinton, in the state's 2008 presidential caucus.
Editor's Note: In the final 100 days before Election Day, CNN has been profiling one race at random each day from among the nation's top 100 House races, which we've dubbed "The CNN 100." Read the full list here. Today's featured district is:
New Mexico 1st – Rep. Martin Heinrich (D) is seeking a 2nd term
Primary: June 1, 2010
Location: Central New Mexico
Days until Election Day: 87
Republicans see an opportunity to knock off a freshman Democrat in New Mexico's 1st district and reclaim a seat they had held for 40 years.
Rep. Martin Heinrich was elected to the House in 2008, one of 33 Democratic freshmen sent to Congress that year. He was a member of the Albuquerque City Council when he announced he would challenge incumbent GOP Rep. Heather Wilson, who had held the seat since 1998. Wilson narrowly won her 2006 re-election bid with 50 percent of the vote and eventually opted to run to replace retiring GOP Sen. Pete Domenici in the U.S. Senate rather than seek a sixth full term. Heinrich went on to win the House seat with 56 percent over Republican Darren White.
(CNN) – Despite all the calls for new blood in Washington and for Americans to dismiss "career politicians," thus far primary voters mostly have chosen established party insiders over farmers, businessmen and candidates from outside the political realm.
And far more incumbents have survived than have been toppled.
Listen: CNN Radio's Lisa Desjardins speaks to a young, political outsider
"The idea that there's this huge anti-incumbent wave in the election is considerably exaggerated," said Emory University political science professor Alan Abramowitz.
Abramowitz believes all four of the incumbents ousted so far are special cases, with two party switchers (Sen. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania, Rep. Parker Griffith in Alabama), one facing corruption charges (Rep. Alan Mollohan in West Virginia) and one losing at a closed-vote party convention (Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah).
And with just one exception - New Mexico congressional candidate Tom Mullins - the outright winners from Tuesday's House primaries in Alabama, Mississippi and New Mexico were known political figures, backed by members of the establishment.
(CNN) – Voters in New Mexico made history, while voters in Alabama did not. And a second party-switching Congressional lawmaker was ousted in a primary by his new party.
Susana Martinez on Tuesday easily captured the Republican gubernatorial primary in New Mexico. She'll face off in the general election against Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, who was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The winner in November will become New Mexico's first female governor, succeeding term-limited Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson.
With nearly all the results reported, Martinez was winning just over 50 percent of the vote in a five person primary field. The district attorney for Dona Ana County in the southern part of the state will join GOP Lt. Gov. nominee John Sanchez on an all Hispanic ticket.
Assistance from the Republican Governors Association apparently played a key role in the Martinez victory, and an endorsement and campaign visit last month from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin also aided Martinez.
(CNN) - The polls are now open in three states - Alabama, Mississippi, and New Mexico - holding primaries Tuesday, and in one of those states voters could make history.
Rep. Artur Davis faces off against Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks in Alabama's Democratic gubernatorial contest. If the four-term congressman wins Tuesday's primary, he would become the state's first African-American Democratic nominee for governor. If Davis is elected in November, he would make history again, becoming Alabama's first black governor.
Seven candidates are vying to be the GOP gubernatorial nominee. Among the leading contenders are former state community college system chancellor Bradley Byrne, former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, and real estate developer Tim James. The son of two-term Gov. Fob James has created a buzz with his tough ads and speeches against illegal immigrants.
Two-term Gov. Bob Riley, a Republican, is prevented from running for re-election.
New Mexico also holds gubernatorial primaries Tuesday. Five candidates are battling for the GOP nomination. The winner will face off in November against Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary. Two-term Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, is prevented from running for another term in office.
(CNN) - CNN projects that Democrat Rep. Tom Udall of New Mexico has defeated Republican Rep. Steve Pearce for the Senate seat held by retiring GOP Sen. Pete Domenici.
When Domenici announced his retirement, the state's entire congressional delegation lined up to replace him. But Pearce emerged battered from his primary battle with fellow GOP Rep. Heather Wilson, and Udall boasted a far bigger campaign war chest.
So Domenici's retirement didn't just cost his party a Senate seat - Wilson's primary season loss and Pearce's general election defeat mean the race also ended up claiming both the state's Republican congressman.
The win, long expected by Republicans, marks a pickup for the Democratic Party.
(CNN) - Officials in Dona Ana County, New Mexico say they are having problems with absentee ballots. But it's unclear just how many voters may not see their vote count.
Jess Williams, public information officer for the county, said of 11,985 absentee ballots requested, 8,141 have been processed. As of midday Tuesday, the number of outstanding absentee ballots is 3,844.
And the Bureau of Elections is still getting calls from residents who have not yet received their absentee ballots, Williams said. He said those voters may go to the polling place where they are registered to request a provisional ballot and they will be allowed to vote.
While that may be an option for some, many voters vote absentee because health problems keep them from going to the polls. Others are away at college, in the military, or out of town for other reasons, and showing up in person may not be possible.
(CNN) - John McCain will spend the final hours before the polls close Tuesday visiting Colorado and New Mexico, two states his campaign manager now says are key to a last-minute “new pathway to victory.”
Both states voted for President Bush in 2004, but have been leaning Obama this cycle.
Late Sunday, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis sketched out a fresh roadmap to the White House that runs through the West, telling reporters that new surveys that suggested Barack Obama’s lead was shrinking to single digits had given the Republican nominee reason for optimism. “If we can win Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico, all of the sudden we’ve got a whole new pathway to victory,” Davis told reporters. “Those weren’t even on the list three weeks ago.”
McCain's visit to New Mexico tomorrow will mark his second stop in the state in two days.
Obama leads by 6 in the most recent CNN Colorado poll of polls, and by 8 points in an Albuquerque Journal/Research & Polling survey of New Mexico voters, both released late last week.
Both states also feature Senate races for seats held by retiring Republicans; Democrats are heavily favored in both contests, as the party pushes for a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate.
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (CNN) - At a rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico Saturday, Senator John McCain told the crowd that he was a neighboring Western senator who understood the Southwest and Hispanic culture and his opponent didn’t.
“My friends I’m a fellow Westerner, I understand these issues, I understand land and water and Native American issues and border issues and I understand the challenges that a great, great western states face with our growth and our needs and our challenges,” said the Arizona Senator as he courted voters key to the state’s five electoral votes.
“My friends, Senator Obama has never been south of our border, you know that? And he doesn’t know these issues. I know them, I know what the Southwest is, I know strength and the culture and our Hispanic culture and the strength of our great states."
While McCain has been dealing with southwestern issues for over 20 years as an Arizona legislator, an Obama spokesman said that in fact the Illinois Senator did visit Mexico when he was in college.