Job Description: The attorney general (AG) is the chief legal officer of the state of New Mexico. The AG represents the state in court, prosecuting and defending cases, and writing advisory opinions when necessary.
Term: Four years (maximum two terms)
Office Currently Held By: Patricia Madrid (D), who will be running on the Democratic ticket during the general election against incumbent Heather Wilson (R) for the District 1 Congressional seat. The winner of the Democratic Primary for AG will run against Republican Jim Bibb in the November general election.
There are much flashier candidates than Gary King, but you'd have a hard time finding a smarter one. Hailing from one of the most powerful political families in the state (his father is former governor Bruce King), he holds a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Colorado University in Boulder and a J.D. from UNM.
He's operated a private law practice in Moriarty since 1984, and also served as city attorney for Moriarty. From 1999-2002, he served as an assistant secretary of energy under Clinton and Bush. King was voted to six consecutive terms as a state representative for District 50. During his time in office, he drafted the tough DWI laws that are currently on the books.
If elected as AG, his top priorities would be cracking down on DWI offenders and meth labs as well as collaborating with the State Auditor's Office to track government agencies so as to avoid the types of scandals that recently occurred in the State Treasurer's Office. King also wants to be active in representing utility consumers before the Public Regulation Commission.
As a candidate, King has had a tough time running statewide races. (His bid for governor in 1998 went nowhere.) That said, he's a sharp candidate, with a lot of name recognition, who would serve New Mexico well.
Straight out of law school, Zamora served as assistant attorney general from 1994 to 1996, under former AG Tom Udall. More recently, from 2002 to 2005, he served as Gov. Richardson's chief counsel. He's occasionally accused of being too close to the governor, but he speaks passionately about the need for stiffer penalties for DWI and domestic violence, and he seems sincere in his desire to crack down on payday loan operations and public corruption. Zamora is smart. He's young. He's energetic. He's running an admirable, well-funded campaign. He'd be an excellent second choice for attorney general.
This district attorney knocked a few pins down, but he just couldn't pick up the spare. Martinez has been the DA for the 13th Judicial District (which is in and around Grants) since 2001. He spoke eloquently about how he was the one Democratic contender with a record of being tough on crime and that this would resonate during the General Election against a tough Republican competitor.
"A DA is like a mini AG," says Martinez. On one level, we certainly agree, and Martinez does have a proven track record of putting criminals behind bars, but he doesn't seem to have the political savvy or the campaign chest to win this race, let alone to win the general election.