Linda Lopez, Tim Keller consider challenging Susana

By Rob Nikolewski on April 16, 2013
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Sen. Linda Lopez (D-Albuquerque)

Sen. Linda Lopez (D-Albuquerque)

From the Santa Fe New Mexican:

State Sen. Linda Lopez, an Albuquerque Democrat, said Monday that she’s ready to run for governor.       

Lopez, who first was elected to the Senate in 1996, told The New Mexican that she has appointed a campaign treasurer but still needs to set up a campaign account and complete the paperwork at the Secretary of State’s Office before formally announcing.

“I’m preparing,” she said, adding that she’ll probably make it official next week.

Another state senator, Tim Keller, is thinking about joining the 2014 race. He’s also been rumored to be considering a run for state treasurer. The New Mexican quoted Keller as saying he’ll probably make a decision in early summer.

So far, the only announced Democrat to challenge sitting Republican Gov. Susana Martinez is attorney general Gary King, who has high name recognition but a number of Democrats wonder if he mount a strong enough challenge against Martinez in the general election.

For well over a year, polls have indicated that Martinez enjoys roughly a 60-percent approval rating.

Sen. Lopez has been one of the governor’s staunchest critics and in this past legislative session, she came in for harsh criticism by Republicans for her handling of the confirmation hearings for Hanna Skandera, the secretary-designate for the Public Education Department. Lopez is the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and the Skandera hearings were riven by partisan bickering, with the 60-day legislative session ending without a confirmation vote.

In 2010, Lopez ran for lieutenant governor and finished fourth in a five-candidate field for the Democratic Party nomination.

One other potential Democratic candidate for governor is state Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces, whose name has been floated but Sen. Cervantes has not commented on whether he’ll throw his hat into the ring.

According to the most recent campaign data, Gov. Martinez has raised nearly $1.5 million while Attorney General King had less than $103,000.

Outgoing Democratic Party chairman Javier Gonzales told the Texas-New Mexico Newspapers Partnership last week that he thinks the Democratic challenger to Martinez as well as Democratic Party groups will need to raise at least $8 million for the 2014 run for governor.

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