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New Mexico: Michelle Lujan Grisham Wins 1st District Democratic Primary

Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham won New Mexico’s 1st district Democratic primary and is now favored to be the next Representative for the Albuquerque-based seat.

In a three-way primary that got nasty in the closing weeks, Lujan Grisham won with 40 percent of the vote, followed by state Sen. Eric Griego with 35 percent and former Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez with 25 percent.

Lujan Grisham, who three months ago trailed both Democratic opponents in internal polling, had an uphill climb against the better-known candidates. The centrist Chavez was endorsed by President Bill Clinton, and Griego was backed by major labor unions and liberal organizations.

She now will face former state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones (R) in the general election to replace Rep. Martin Heinrich, who won the Democratic Senate nomination on Tuesday.

This one-time battleground district is more challenging for the GOP this year. Republicans missed out on a couple of recruits, and Arnold-Jones had just $39,000 remaining in her campaign account as of May 16, despite the lack of a primary challenge. Lujan Grisham had $122,000 left, though she likely has less than that now following a media blitz in the final weeks.

House Democrats’ campaign arm has reserved more than $500,000 in TV time for ads this fall in the Albuquerque market, a sign they might be expecting a competitive race. However, that money can be transferred elsewhere if a battleground race doesn’t materialize.

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