By James Monteleone
Journal staff writer
LAGUNA PUEBLO — State Sen. Howie Morales of Silver City was the top choice for governor among New Mexico Democratic Party delegates voting in Saturday’s pre-primary convention, while state Sen. Linda Lopez and Attorney General Gary King trailed the five-candidate field.
The pre-primary convention votes cast Saturday by party delegates at Route 66 Casino Hotel at Laguna Pueblo set the ballot order for candidates running in the party’s June 3 primary election. Candidates who fail to win 20 percent of the delegate vote are required to submit a larger number of voter petition signatures if they still want to qualify for the ballot.
Lopez and King both fell short of the 20 percent threshold Saturday.
Lopez declined to comment on whether she will seek additional signatures to qualify for the ballot.
King has said he submitted enough petitions to the Secretary of State in February to qualify for the ballot regardless of his convention showing.
Morales topped the field of Democrats aiming to take on re-election-seeking Republican Gov. Susana Martinez with about 29 percent of the delegate vote.
Santa Fe entrepreneur Alan Webber came in second with nearly 22 percent of the vote. Former Albuquerque administrator Lawrence Rael finished third with 20 percent. Lopez and King ranked fourth and fifth respectively in the convention balloting.
Get the full story on the Democratic pre-primary nominating convention, including voting on other candidates up and down the ballot, in the Sunday Journal.