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Politics Notebook: Heinrich touts economic vision for state in online ad

Facing his first re-election bid since being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012, Martin Heinrich is sounding an upbeat tone about New Mexico’s economic future.

In a video posted today on his campaign website, Heinrich touted his work on renewable energy issues and efforts to secure funding for the state’s national laboratories and military bases.

Heinrich said Tuesday that the video, which will be used by his re-election campaign in digital ads, shows his “vision” for the state’s future, one that includes fully embracing solar and wind energy projects.

New Mexico has lagged behind other states in recent years in terms of job creation, and the state had the nation’s second-highest unemployment rate – behind Alaska – as of December.

Heinrich, a Democrat who previously served two terms in the U.S. House, has come under criticism from his opponents in this year’s election cycle for being out of touch with New Mexico’s economic struggles.

Republican Mick Rich, an Albuquerque contractor, recently launched his own video highlighting the state’s economic struggles and ridiculing Heinrich’s role in passing 2016 legislation designating the bison as the U.S. national mammal.

And Libertarian Aubrey Dunn, the state land commissioner, said he decided to run for Heinrich’s seat because he thought it would be more feasible than running for governor.

Heinrich is not facing any opposition from fellow Democrats in the primary election.

ballot appeal: Former congressional candidate Angel Peña isn’t giving up his hopes of landing on the June 5 primary ballot.

Peña, a Las Cruces Democrat, filed a last-ditch appeal with the New Mexico Supreme Court earlier this week after his initial disqualification was upheld last week by a state district judge.

The case hinges on changes made to some of Peña’s petitions – on which campaign volunteers had trouble printing the letter “ñ” on forms used for signature-gathering.

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver’s office, which made the initial decision that Peña did not qualify for the ballot, flagged other problems as well – including one header that was partly obscured by unrelated text.

Invalidating those pages left Peña without the 623 signatures required to make the ballot, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

There are two other Democrats running for the southern New Mexico-based 2nd Congressional District seat, along with four Republicans. The seat is currently held by U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, who announced last summer that he would forgo a re-election bid and instead run for governor.

Dan Boyd: