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Denish Backs Balderas In Senate Race

Former Lt. Gov. Diane Denish endorsed State Auditor Hector Balderas for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate this week, although she said there were two good candidates seeking the nomination.

Denish, who lost the gubernatorial race to Republican Susana Martinez in 2010, said both Balderas and Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., would make good replacements for retiring Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.

But Balderas’ fiscal experience in the Auditor’s Office makes him a better candidate than Heinrich in the Democratic primary, she said.

“I’ve known Hector for many years, and he has proven to me he is a different kind of leader,” Denish told news media in a conference call Wednesday, adding that he would reject hyperpartisanship if elected.

Heinrich and Denish both ran high-profile Democratic campaigns in 2010, but they rarely campaigned together. Denish said she would support Heinrich if he won the Democratic nomination in June 2012.

Albuquerque activist Andres Valdez is also seeking the Democratic nomination, but Denish made no mention of him.


NOT FADE AWAY: National poll data released Tuesday showed Gov. Susana Martinez is faring better than most of her newly elected Republican counterparts in the realm of public opinion.

Public Policy Polling, a national polling firm that uses automated phone calls to conduct its surveys and self-identifies as Democratic, found that Martinez had a 52 percent approval rating after nearly six months in office. She also had approval from nearly one-third of Democrats surveyed.

Public Policy Polling Director Tom Jensen said in an analysis accompanying the polling data that Martinez was one of only three newly elected Republican governors that would still win the election if it were held again. The other two were South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.

In fact, Martinez had gained ground on former Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, with survey results showing Martinez had a lead of 53 percent to 44 percent. Martinez won in November by a 7 percentage point margin.

Other poll results showed Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. had an approval of 48 percent, 10 percentage points lower than his colleague, retiring Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M. Udall’s disapproval rating was at 31 percent.

Former Gov. Bill Richardson hasn’t gotten any more popular since leaving office, with a 27 percent approval rating compared to 63 percent who disapprove of his performance.

The margin of error for the poll was plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal