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King, Lopez file for spots on Democratic primary ballot

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SANTA FE – Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls Gary King and Linda Lopez have filed the paperwork necessary to appear on the June 3 primary election ballot, setting the scene for a likely five-candidate showdown.

Both King, New Mexico’s two-term attorney general, and Lopez, a state senator from Albuquerque, had to submit new candidacy forms because they fell short of getting 20 percent of delegate votes at the Democratic Party’s March 8 pre-primary convention.

The party’s three other gubernatorial candidates – Howie Morales, Alan Webber and Lawrence Rael – each met that threshold. Morales led the field, with about 29 percent of the vote.

To secure a ballot spot, Democratic candidates for statewide office who did not get a convention nomination had to turn in roughly 4,300 signatures from registered party voters, which could include signatures gathered earlier. Secretary of State Dianna Duran’s office has until next Tuesday to certify the signatures.

Tuesday was the second of two days on which candidates who did not automatically land on the primary election ballot – via the pre-primary process – could file a new declaration of candidacy and more signatures, if needed.

Lopez turned in an additional 1,322 signatures Tuesday, bringing her total to more than 5,400, Duran’s chief of staff, Ken Ortiz, told the Journal .

King had already filed nearly 10,400 signatures last month and did not have to submit any more, Ortiz said.

Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, is seeking re-election this year and would face off with the winner of the Democratic primary battle.

Meanwhile, former Bernalillo County Treasurer Patrick Padilla also submitted additional signatures and a new candidacy form Tuesday, signalling his intention to stay in the state treasurer’s race.

Padilla filed 905 more signatures and has now submitted 4,520 total signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office, Ortiz said.

At the pre-primary convention, Padilla won just 7 percent of the delegate vote. Former state Sen. Tim Eichenberg of Albuquerque got the most delegate votes, with former party Chairman John Wertheim pulling in the second-highest number.

The only other candidate filing a new candidacy form Tuesday was Robert Blanch, a Democratic candidate for the 3rd Congressional District seat held by Rep. Ben Ray Luján, a fellow Democrat.

On the Republican side, there were no candidates who had to use the fallback method of getting on the primary ballot.

That’s because there are just two contested GOP primaries – a U.S. Senate race between Allen Weh and David Clements and a race between Mike Frese and Richard Priem in the 1st Congressional District.

All of those candidates surpassed the 20 percent threshold at the Republican Party’s pre-primary convention on March 1.

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