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News/Opinion
‹‹ V.17 No.24 | June 12 - 18, 2008

Voting Bloc

Drumroll, Please

Primary yields political extremes

By Marisa Demarco

This wasn't the kind of primary season where you could tell in advance who was going to come out lead pony. The voters spoke. Here's what they had to say about the races we covered in our primary election issue:

Rep. Steve Pearce fueled his win against Rep. Heather Wilson with the notion that Wilson wasn't conservative enough. He won the Republican primary June 3, making him the party's candidate for Sen. Pete Domenici's soon-to-be-vacated seat. That means the contest will be between Pearce and Rep. Tom Udall, who's known to be a fairly liberal Democrat. One question remains: Where will the moderates go?

Sheriff Darren White soundly beat state Sen. Joe Carraro in the Republican primary for CD 1, which is no big surprise given White's larger purse. Even President Bush came to town to help with White's fundraising. Former City Councilor Martin Heinrich nailed down his position as the Democratic candidate for the congressional district, with opponents Rebecca Vigil-Giron and Michelle Lujan Grisham splitting most of the remaining votes. Political unknown Robert Pidcock received slightly more than 8 percent of the vote.

Both White and Heinrich espouse stances in line with what their parties push. Since the CD 1 seat has been in Republican control for 40 years, it's expected that plenty of money will flood both candidates' campaigns in the coming weeks.

Eric Griego, former city councilor and 2005 mayoral candidate, managed to unseat state Sen. James Taylor, who represented District 14 for four years. Griego charged Taylor with supporting corporate developer SunCal, the company that bought the 57,000-acre Atrisco Land Grant.

Similarly, Democrat Tim Keller put the hurt on Sen. Shannon Robinson, who's been representing the Southeast Heights area for 20 years. That could have had something to do with the accusation that Robinson used his legislative position to fund UNM's rugby program, which he oversees. Keller billed himself as the more progressive candidate.

State Sen. Linda Lopez won despite challenger Michael Padilla's criticism of her sponsorship of a bill that benefitted developer SunCal with a $629 million tax incentive. In spite of her deeper pockets, the senator won by a surprisingly small margin. She gathered 53.3 percent of the vote; he took 46.7 percent.

State Sen. Dede Feldman swept her North Valley district with 79 percent of the vote. Challenger Carlos Cordova’s promise to lower property taxes couldn't lure voters.

Republican incumbent Sen. John Ryan maintained his spot in the Legislature with 66.1 percent of the vote. Challenger Robert Sikes couldn't knock him off his seat, even by pointing out that Sen. Ryan voted in favor of stem cell research.

About 30 percent of registered Democrats and Republicans—about 85,000 people—turned out to vote in Bernalillo County.