Inside the Capitol

Sunday, June 05, 2011

6-8 The Additional U.S. Senate Candidates

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- OK, we're back to talking about serious politics after detouring in the last column to talk about cowboys and aliens.
No, the subject wasn't the "Cowboys and Aliens" movie, partially filmed in New Mexico, with a cast including Harrison Ford. It premieres next month.
The cowboys were Billy the Kid and his mischievous pals during the shooting of Billy's tintype, in 1881. The aliens were sent by Josef Stalin to crash in Roswell in 1947, according to a recently released book by a previously respected journalist.
New Mexico's U.S. Senate race has given us plenty to talk about. Two high profile candidates have been slugging it out on the Republican side. In what will be a hard fought, evenly matched Democratic battle, the two major candidates are primarily trying to add fuel to the GOP fire.
In both races we see a present or former Albuquerque representative in Congress opposing a candidate who has run successfully for statewide office. We'll see which background makes for a stronger candidate.
With all this action, I have seldom managed to even list the other three candidates in the Republican and Democratic U.S. Senate races. But they are putting out an effort to run and deserve some notice.
First among the second tier of candidates is Greg Sowards, of Las Cruces. Sowards is an energetic, inventive and cheerful guy. Evidence of that can be found in his e-mail address
Sowards has done well in several businesses and is willing to lay out some of that money to kick start his campaign. He has flown to Washington to interview and hire consultants for national fundraising and grassroots organizing.
He is an engineering graduate of Brigham Young University and holds five U.S. patents. He has been married 37 years and has six married children and 17 grandchildren. He is an Army veteran who specialized in electronic calibration.
Sowards has run for Congress twice before. First, he challenged Rep. Joe Skeen in 1996. New Mexico Republicans frown on such foolishness. Republicans don't challenge their party's incumbents.
Such audacity prompted GOP state chairman John Dendahl to do something party chairs seldom do. He endorsed Rep. Skeen in the primary.
Sowards didn't do well. Twelve years later, when Rep. Skeen retired, Sowards ran again in a crowded primary and did better. This time Sowards is determined to be a factor.
He has positioned himself as the only true conservative in the race. The positions he has taken in his two previous U.S. House races indicate he is conservative all the way.
Heather Wilson is not a conservative. She couldn't have won six general elections in Albuquerque with a totally conservative voting record.
Lt. Gov. John Sanchez says he is a true conservative but has never held office long enough to prove it. He was on the Los Ranchos town council for three years and was a state representative for two years. Wilson says his conservative record is invented.
Sowards should be included in any GOP primary debates. He will have much to add.
Bill English, of Alamogordo, also is a candidate in the GOP primary. He supports limited government, states' rights and term limits. He wants to make New Mexico the center of the commercial space industry. And he wants to reestablish transportation routes closed by military intervention.
English is the son of a former Arizona state representative and was a columnist for the Alamogordo Daily News. Other than that, I can find little information about his background.
Andres Valdes, of Albuquerque, is a candidate in the state Democratic race for the U.S. Senate. He admits he likely will be called the longshot in the race. He has no campaign Web site and the only information about him included in any news reports is that he is an activist.
Apparently neither English nor Valdes has the resources to get mentioned often in their longshot races.
WED, 6-8-11

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)



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