Updated: June 01, 2020 06:33 PM
Created: June 01, 2020 03:34 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Five people are vying to replace the retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Udall-- three Republicans and one Democrat.
The Republicans include Elisa Martinez- a pro-life advocate who grew up in Gallup, Gavin Clarkson-- a professor at New Mexico State University, and Mark Ronchetti, a former television meteorologist.
The winner there will face off against Democrat Ben Ray Lujan and Libertarian Bob Walsh in November's general election.
Martinez is trying appeal to Republican voters with her viewpoints about getting more New Mexicans off federal dependence.
"I've always said-- what do we have to lose-- we're last in everything good and first in everything bad, and it's time to try something different," she said. "I'm not a politician and I'm not here to drive an agenda, but I am here to put New Mexico first and start advocating for the people of New Mexico."
Gavin Clarkson worked in the Trump administration, and is trying to persuade Republicans that his wide range of experience makes him the better choice.
"We need somebody in the U.S. Senate who actually knows how to create jobs here in New Mexico, who actually met a payroll in New Mexico and who has a history of economic development and brining prosperity to some of our most poverty-stricken areas," Clarkson said.
Mark Ronchetti has enjoyed high name recognition since he jumped into the race, and has had to work to convince Republican voters to see him as a political leader and not a weatherman.
"My wife, kids and I face the same issues everyone else faces," he said. "Crime rates are sky-high in Albuquerque, we have an education system in our state that doesn't serve our kids well, we have personal property rights that are being trampled by the feds."
Congressman Ben Ray Lujan will be waiting to learn who he will face. Lujan rose through the ranks to become the Assistant Speaker of the House.
"It's been an honor to serve in the U.S. House fighting for New Mexicans, and it would be an honor to earn their support to be a U.S. senator, fighting on their behalf," Lujan said.
Libertarian Bob Walsh, a scientist specializing in nuclear safety, said he believes the federal government should do less for states.
"The federal government ought to spend less period and therefore spend less in New Mexico," he said. "By spending less, it will be taking less out of the private economy and therefore, we can expect a better, more diverse economy in New Mexico."
Copyright 2020 - KOB-TV LLC, A Hubbard Broadcasting Company