In a state where the Hispanic population grew by nearly a quarter during the last decade, having a prominent Hispanic candidate on the ballot could prove to be a boost for Republican chances in the general election. But Sanchez is not without his weaknesses: during his 2002 campaign, Sanchez was attacked by opponents for employing illegal immigrants at his roofing company. The Democratic race is shaping up to be a two-candidate race as well, as Rep, Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and state auditor Hector Balderas are facing off is what is also looking like a competitive contest. Activist Andres Valdez, a minor candidate, is also running in the Democratic race. Hotline Executive Editor Josh Kraushaar wrote in April about the likelihood of heated primaries in both parties that would pit a white candidate favored by the establishment against up-and-coming Hispanic challenger, which is what we are now seeing in New Mexico.
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