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Sen. Heinrich backs primary rivals of two NM Senate Dems

SANTA FE — U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich is throwing his support behind progressive challengers to incumbent New Mexico Senate Democrats in at least two races.

In recent days, Heinrich announced his endorsement of Siah Correa Hemphill of Silver City and Pam Cordova of Rio Communities in fundraising appeals sent out by the two candidates’ campaigns.

Correa Hemphill is challenging incumbent Sen. Gabriel Ramos in Senate District 28, while Cordova is running against two-term Sen. Clemente Sanchez of Grants in Senate District 30.

Ramos and Sanchez are two of about a half-dozen moderate Senate Democrats who are facing challengers in the June 2 primary election.

It’s unusual for U.S. senators to get involved in legislative races, especially when it comes to candidates seeking to oust incumbent members of their own party.

But Heinrich, who won re-election in 2018 to his second term in the U.S. Senate, has displayed a past willingness to get involved in state-level races.

He also endorsed fellow Democrat Garrett VeneKlasen in the 2018 state land commissioner race. VeneKlasen ended up losing a three-way primary to Stephanie Garcia Richard, who went on to win the general election.

Heinrich campaign spokesman Juan Sanchez said the two-term senator has also endorsed other candidates in this year’s election cycle — including Joe Biden for president and two Grant County Commission candidates.

When it comes to the state Senate races, Heinrich believes Correa Hemphill and Cordova have both the “professional and life experiences that best serve their communities” as state senators, Sanchez said.

Heinrich also plans to endorse more candidates — in county level to statewide races — in the coming weeks and months, he added.

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