The five Democrats seeking the party’s nomination for governor will have their first chance to go toe-to-toe with opponents today in a public forum in Albuquerque.
The forum comes as many Democratic Party delegates still are trying to differentiate the gubernatorial candidates before the state party hosts its pre-primary nominating convention Saturday, said Ana Canales, chairwoman of the Bernalillo County Democratic Party.
Candidates for the party’s gubernatorial nomination are Attorney General Gary King, state Sen. Linda Lopez, state Sen. Howie Morales, longtime government administrator Lawrence Rael and businessman Alan Webber.
Tonight’s forum, sponsored by the county party and hosted by the League of Women Voters, will give each candidate a turn answering the same questions, compiled in advance. All five candidates have said they plan to participate in the event, being held at Carpenters Union Hall, 3900 Pan American Freeway NE.
“There’s still a lot of (delegates) who don’t know who they’re going to vote for,” Canales said. “I thought this would be a perfect time just before the convention to get these questions out. That would help people maybe decide.”
The pre-primary convention includes a vote of delegates from around the state to determine candidates’ ballot position. The event typically is seen as an early measure of the race three months before the June primary election.
Canales said she hoped the question-and-answer forum would give the estimated 1,700 party delegates a better perspective on the candidates than the traditional meet-and-greet events candidates typically host for delegates before the convention.
“They’d like to hear the candidates all at once,” Canales said. “They want to see how the person performs and see it’s not something someone put on paper for them. I do believe this will be very helpful to the delegates.”
But the event isn’t just for Democratic Party delegates. It’s open to the general public, who will have the final say in the June 3 primary on whom the Democratic Party nominates to challenge Gov. Susana Martinez.
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