The state's Hispanic population grew by nearly a quarter
in the past decade, and Hispanics outnumber non-Hispanic whites in New Mexico for the first time.
And Sanchez said that being a Hispanic candidate is helpful in reaching out to Hispanic voters.
"I think it is one of the reasons," Sanchez said, when asked if being Hispanic is part of being the right messenger. "Only because I think a lot of times Hispanics are open to maybe considering somebody else. And not that it guarantees anything, but when you bring together the proper ingredients in that recipe of how you bring voters over, i think that's one of them. But you have to credible, you have to do things correctly, and I think you have to be believable."
In 2008, the nomination of the conservative Pearce over the moderate Wilson allowed now-Sen. Tom Udall
(D) to cruise to victory in a state President Obama
won by over 15 points. Democrats had an 18 point voter registration advantage in the state in 2008. Electability, then, may be one of Wilson's strongest arguments.
Still, given the unique success statewide Hispanic GOP candidates have had in the Land of Enchantment, Sanchez could be a candidate to watch.
But don't expect Wilson to sit on the sidelines while Sanchez, or any other Republican (Greg Sowards
, another conservative, is also in the race) goes after her from the right. When she announced her candidacy
a few weeks ago, Wilson was joined by a number of high profile Republicans, including those who underscored her electability in the general election.
When asked which current senators he likes, Sanchez mentioned Sens. Marco Rubio
(R-Fla.) and Jim DeMint
(R-S.C). He said it would take no less than a million dollars to win the primary, maybe over two million depending how many candidates are in the primary. He said the total campaign through the general election could cost upwards of ten million dollars.