Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sanchez "Poised" to Run For Senate, Roll Call Says

Lt. Gov. John Sanchez has made no secret that he's considering running for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Jeff Bingaman. But, as he told me this week,  he's said there won't be any decision until after the current session of the Legislature ends (which is March 19.)

However, Roll Call reports today that, according to "GOP sources" Sanchez "is putting together a campaign team and plans a trip to Washington, D.C., later this month ..." He's be running against former Congresswoman Heather Wilson, who announced her candidacy this week.

Republican sources say Sanchez would position himself to the right of Wilson, who exhibited a somewhat moderate voting record during three terms representing the Democratic-leaning 1st district that includes most of Albuquerque and its surroundings.

While Wilson could be the most viable general election candidate for Republicans in a presidential year, Sanchez — also based in Albuquerque — has previously won two statewide GOP primaries, a feat that has eluded the former Congresswoman.

Roll Call also notes that a Sanchez/Wilson primary "could test the loyalties" of Gov. Susana Martinez.

Wilson was Martinez's transition chief. Sanchez was her running mate, but he was chosen by Republican voters, not Martinez personally. She never endorsed in that race. Martinez hired one of Sanchez's primary opponents, Brian Moore as a deputy chief of staff.

Roll Call rates the race as a "toss-up", as does Larry Sabato, director of the Virginia Center for Politics.