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White, Heinrich to Vie for Wilson's Seat in Nov.

By Leslie Linthicum
Journal Staff Writer
    Republican Darren White and Democrat Martin Heinrich won the 1st Congressional District primary elections Tuesday— White by a blowout margin— and the two will clash in November to replace GOP Rep. Heather Wilson.
    In the hard-fought race for Rep. Tom Udall's northern New Mexico 3rd District seat, Public Regulations Commissioner Ben Ray Luján won big over millionaire developer Don Wiviott on the Democratic side. In the GOP race in the 3rd District, Rio Rancho utilities contractor Daniel East was holding a lead over Santa Fe lawyer Marco Gonzales.
    And in the seven-man field in the 2nd Congressional District battle to replace Rep. Steve Pearce down south, The Associated Press declared Ed Tinsley the Republican winner, while the Democratic side was tight, with only about 1,600 votes separating Hobbs oilman Harry Teague and Doña Ana County Commissioner Bill McCamley.
    In the 1st Congressional District, White, the Bernalillo County Sheriff, ran away with the Republican primary. According to unofficial returns, with 87 percent of the vote counted, he led Republican state Sen. Joe Carraro 82 percent to 18 percent.
    Heinrich, a former Albuquerque city councilor who threw his hat into the ring first and was considered the Democratic front-runner, was declared the winner with 44 percent of the vote, with 87 percent of precincts reporting.
    The unofficial returns showed former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron had 25 percent and former health Secretary Michelle Lujan Grisham took 23 percent of the vote. Albuquerque attorney Robert Pidcock, who loaned himself nearly $100,000 in the last week of the campaign and ran TV and radio ads attacking Heinrich's resume, was in a distant fourth with 8 percent.
On to the next round
    White and Heinrich wasted no time drawing their differences Tuesday night, giving a preview of the fight to come.
    "The contrasts between me and my Democrat opponent are clear," White said. "He's to the extreme left of his party and I think he doesn't fit in well in this district."
    Heinrich said White was in lockstep with the Bush administration, a distinction he would make in the campaign for the general election.
    "I think people are hungry for change and they don't want more of the George Bush administration," Heinrich said. "And Darren's very close to that administration."
    The 1st District centers on Albuquerque but also includes Torrance County and parts of Valencia and Sandoval counties.
    White's primary election opponent, Carraro, had threatened to go to court to delay Tuesday's election because of what he said was illegal interference by the Republican Party. Carraro never filed a lawsuit seeking to block the primary.
    And White, a popular sheriff who had previously served as public safety secretary in Gov. Gary Johnson's administration, had been expected to win big. He got a fundraising boost from President Bush in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque in the week before the election.
    In his victory speech, White brought up what will surely be a controversial issue in his campaign— his decision to leave Johnson's cabinet when Johnson came out in favor of legalizing marijuana and other street drugs.
    Carraro had needled White for his resignation, suggesting he quit after members of the State Police officer's union gave him a no-confidence vote.
Race called for Luján
    In northern New Mexico's 3rd District, it had appeared in the midst of the evening that Wiviott, a developer who poured some of his own millions into his campaign, was winning big in Santa Fe County and leading Luján overall. But The Associated Press, which was reporting the numbers, had put about 3,000 Santa Fe County results in the wrong column and, when the votes were awarded correctly to Luján, he surged ahead.
    Luján was declared the winner. With 96 percent of the votes counted, unofficial returns showed him leading with 41 percent, while Wiviott was second with 27 percent. Former state Indian Affairs Secretary Benny Shendo Jr. was in third with 16 percent and Santa Fe County Commissioner Harry Montoya was in fourth place with 11 percent. Santa Fe attorney Jon Adams took 3 percent and Dixon lawyer Rudy Martin had 2 percent.
    On the GOP side, East was leading Gonzales 53 percent to 47 percent.
    The field in the southern 2nd District race was crowded with seven candidates: five Republicans and two Democrats.
    Tinsley, the Lincoln County owner of the K-Bob steakhouse chain, received financial support from the National Restaurant Association. With more than 80 percent of the votes tallied, he led with 31 percent and was declared the winner.
    Former Hobbs Mayor Monte Newman, who was well-funded by a real estate industry political action committee, was in second place with 21 percent, according to unofficial returns.
    Roswell-area rancher Aubrey Dunn Jr. was third with 20 percent. Day-care owner Greg Sowards of Las Cruces and rancher and real estate businessman C. Earl Greer of Truth or Consequences were trailing with 18 percent and 10 percent.
    The Democratic side was tighter. Teague, who is an old friend of Lt. Gov. Diane Denish and was endorsed by Gov. Bill Richardson, was leading Doña Ana County Commissioner Bill McCamley 52 percent to 48 percent, with only about 1,000 votes separating the two.
    U.S. House, Dist. 1
    407 of 469 precincts
    Robert Pidcock 3,682
    Rebecca Vigil-Giron 11,129
    Martin Heinrich 19,623
    Michelle Lujan Grisham 10,538
    407 of 469 precincts
    Darren White 32,133
    Joseph Carraro 6,901
    U.S. House, Dist. 2
    481 of 550 precincts
    Bill McCamley 15,592
    Harry Teague 17,207
    481 of 550 precincts
    Monty Newman 6,930
    Greg Sowards 5,828
    C. Earl Greer 3,199
    Edward R. Tinsley 10,354
    Aubrey Dunn 6,784
    U.S. House, Dist. 3
    556 of 581 precincts
    Jon Adams 1,676
    Rudy Martin 1,237
    Ben R. Lujan 21,091
    Benny Shendo Jr. 8,027
    Donald Wiviott 13,889
    Harry Montoya 5,567
    556 of 581 precincts
    Daniel East 12,118
    Marco Gonzales 10,605