The latest addition to the ranks of politicians considering a run for the state’s top office is state Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, of Belen.
Sanchez, arguably the most powerful Democrat in the Legislature, recently told the Valencia County News-Bulletin he’s getting input from his family before deciding whether to line up against confirmed candidates Attorney General Gary King and state Sen. Linda Lopez for the Democratic nomination for governor.
If Sanchez jumps into the race, he brings experience facing off with – and beating – the political muscle of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez. A political action committee affiliated with Martinez unsuccessfully spent big bucks in 2012 to oust Sanchez from his Senate seat, which he has held since 1993.
Sanchez went on to best his Republican challenger, former Rep. David Chavez, by 10 points and win re-election.
But political onlookers question whether Sanchez’s health might interfere with a more demanding gubernatorial race.
A heart condition has landed 62-year-old Sanchez in the hospital at least three times over the past year, including two trips to the hospital during the legislative session.
Sanchez did not return Journal calls for comment.
No Moe: Meanwhile, House Majority Whip Antonio “Moe” Maestas said he’s ruled out a bid for governor after giving the race some thought.
Maestas, who risked forfeiting re-election for his state House seat to run for governor, said he decided it’s not time to seek higher office.
“As of right now, I’m not running,” the Albuquerque representative said.
“You don’t realize how personal these decisions are to your life and your family,” he said. “I just got married, I have a new stepdaughter. I don’t think the campaign trail for the next 18 months would be in her best interest.”
Recently other prominent Democrats who had been urged to consider a run for governor have announced plans to stay out of the race.
Sen. Tim Keller in late May said he’s planning to run for state auditor instead of governor after testing the waters.
State Auditor Hector Balderas has said he will run for attorney general instead of governor.