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Rand Paul, Sharron Angle Wade Into N.M. GOP Senate Race

New Mexico Lt. Gov. John Sanchez announced Tuesday that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul endorsed him in the Republican Senate primary.

Sanchez is running against former Rep. Heather Wilson in a contest that has set up as an ideological race to the right.

“If the voters of New Mexico want more of Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi they have plenty of choices, but if they want a true conservative to look out for the taxpayer, I hope they’ll join me in supporting John Sanchez,” Paul said in a statement.

In 2010, Paul was one of a handful of tea-party-backed challengers to win a GOP Senate primary. He defeated then-Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson by 23 points in the primary and went on to win the general by double digits as well.

Sanchez entered the race for New Mexico’s open Senate seat as the underdog against Wilson, who represented the Albuquerque area for five terms and is considered a stronger general election candidate.

Democrats have a competitive primary as well, with state Auditor Hector Balderas running against Rep. Martin Heinrich.

This is the second endorsement Tuesday that has ties to the tea party in the New Mexico race. The Hotline reported that Sharron Angle, who lost to Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) last year, endorsed businessman Greg Sowards, a long-shot candidate.

Those are just the latest in a string of endorsements from candidates or Members affiliated with the tea party. Last week Angle endorsed Richard Mourdock over Sen. Dick Lugar in the Indiana Republican primary. And according to reports by CNN and Politico, FreedomWorks and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who ousted an incumbent Senator last year, endorsed Nebraska state Treasurer Don Stenberg over Attorney General Jon Bruning in the state’s GOP Senate primary.

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