Democrats set candidate lineup for primary election - Albuquerque Journal

Democrats set candidate lineup for primary election

State Auditor Brian Colón, left, and 2nd Judicial District Attorney Raúl Torrez are the Democratic candidates for attorney general.

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SANTA FE – Attorney general candidate Brian Colón won support from 61% of the delegates at the Democratic Party’s nominating convention, ensuring his name will appear first on the June 7 ballot, according to results released Sunday.

His rival for the Democratic attorney general nomination, Raúl Torrez, also made the ballot, picking up support from 39% of convention delegates.

Candidates must secure at least 20% of the convention vote to guarantee a spot on the June 7 ballot. Anyone who finishes under that threshold, however, can collect more petition signatures to make the ballot.

The only Democratic candidate who appears in danger of failing to make the ballot is 2nd Congressional District hopeful Darshan Patel, who just missed at 19.6%.

A Democratic Party spokeswoman said it would be up to state election officials to determine whether Patel’s vote total would be rounded up to 20% or whether he must submit more signatures. Patel’s campaign contends the number must be rounded up and that he qualified.

The party released the results from its convention Sunday after conducting the vote online and by phone. More than 1,140 delegates – a group that includes party activists and leaders – cast ballots during the voting period, which ended last week.

The winner in each contested race has his or her name listed first on the June 7 ballot, when voters will choose the nominees who advance to the general election.

Near the top of the ticket is the Democratic race for attorney general, which attracted two strong candidates, including Colón, the state auditor, and a former Democratic Party chairman.

Colón and other winners thanked supporters Sunday when the party reopened the convention during a video call to report the voting results.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” he said. “The election is right around the corner.”

Torrez is the 2nd Judicial District attorney and a former federal prosecutor.

The winner of the attorney general nomination will face Republican Jeremy Gay, a Gallup lawyer and former judge advocate in the Marine Corps, in the Nov. 8 general election.

Attorney General Hector Balderas, the Democratic incumbent, has served two terms and cannot run for reelection this year.

Many of the Democratic races aren’t contested. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, for example, is unopposed for the Democratic nomination in her race.

But in contested races at the Democratic convention:

• Las Cruces City Councilor Gabe Vasquez won 80.4% of the vote in the 2nd Congressional District race, easily outdistancing Patel, a physician.

The Democratic nominee will face Republican Yvette Herrell this fall in one of the most closely watched congressional races in the country. The district was recently redrawn with new census data and is much more friendly to Democrats.

• Former Sandoval County Treasurer Laura Montoya received 58% of the vote in the state treasurer’s race. Finishing second and also making the ballot was Heather Benavidez, a former municipal and magistrate judge.

The winner would face Republican Harry Montoya in the general election.

• Zack Quintero, a former state ombudsman for nursing home residents, took 62% of the vote in the state auditor’s race over Joseph Maestas, a member of the Public Regulation Commission.

There’s no Republican candidate for auditor.

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