U.S. Senate (Dem)

Our choice: Heinrich

In the Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate, the Sun-News endorses Martin Heinrich.

Heinrich, completing his second term in the U.S. House representing New Mexico’s First District (Albuquerque area), is being challenged in the Democratic primary by Hector Balderas, the state auditor. The winner will face either Heather Wilson or Greg Sowards in November to earn the U.S. Senate seat that has been held by Democrat Jeff Bingaman since 1982.

Balderas is running as a reformer, and points to his experience in the state auditor’s office as an example of what he has been able to accomplish. A native of Wagon Mound, Balderas has a compelling personal history in what has been a rapid rise from House member to statewide office. We are confident he will have more to offer in the future.

But for this race, Heinrich is the candidate best prepared to step into Bingaman’s seat and provide effective representation from the first day. New Mexico had among the most senior membership of the Senate when Bingaman and Pete Domenici were in office. Now, we will have among the least seniority.

Tom Udall made a successful transition from the House to the Senate two years ago, and we believe Heinrich would be able to do the same. Heinrich has served on the House Armed Services Committee and the Natural Resources Committee, working to protect New Mexico’s military installations and manage public lands. While his focus has been his district in the past, both of those areas are of critical importance here in southern New Mexico, and Heinrich’s experience will serve us well.

As is often the case in primary elections, Balderas and Heinrich share the same point of view on most issues. We think Heinrich’s experience in Congress would make him more able to propose and pass policies that would benefit the state.