New Mexico Auditor Hector Balderas (D) officially announced his Senate campaign on Tuesday in a brief video that underscores his rural, northern New Mexico roots and his work as auditor in cracking down on corruption.
"Accountability and fiscal responsibility are not Republican words," Balderas says in the video that begins with footage from Wagon Mound, the rural northern New Mexico town where he grew up. "And I'm tired of hearing them used as excuses to shortchange our children and break promises to our seniors. That's why as auditor, I've worked hard to crack down on corrupt officials who misuse public funds and abuse the public trust."
Balderas will be up against Rep. Martin Heinrich (D) in the Democratic primary. He makes no mention of Heinrich in the video, but takes him on in an indirect way.
"In this campaign, I won't have the most connections in Washington," he says in the video. "I won't be the candidate of the lobbyists or the insiders. But I'm not running to be their senator. I'm running to be yours."
Balderas was elected auditor at age 33 in 2006, and became the youngest Hispanic statewide elected official in the country at the time. He has the potential to do very well among Hispanic voters, especially in areas outside Albuquerque, which is in Heinrich's district. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D) said Monday that he will not enter the race, and while he won't be a candidate, his endorsement could be key -- especially for Heinrich. Lujan would be a valuable surrogate for Heinrich in reaching out to Hispanic voters. He hasn't specified his preference in the race.
Over on the Republican side, former Rep. Heather Wilson (R) is the early front-runner, but she may get some company in the primary. Lt. Gov. John Sanchez (R) is also considering entering the race. Sanchez would run to the right of Wilson.