This is Wilson’s second Senate bid in four years. In 2008 she lost the GOP primary to Rep. Steve Pearce, who went on to take just 39 percent of the vote against now-Sen. Tom Udall (D).
The Wilson-Pearce contest continued a tradition of brutal primaries in the state, and Wilson also faced negative ads from the anti-tax group the Club for Growth. With more than a year to go in the primary, a club spokesman said the group has not decided whether to get involved again.
Two lower-tier Republicans are already running — former Congressional candidate Greg Sowards and businessman Bill English.
“We’re looking at every race,” club spokesman Michael Connolly told Roll Call. “We have a history there and that’s something to look at, but we haven’t made our assessments yet or seen all the candidates that are going to get in the race.”
Democrats considered likely to run include second-term Rep. Martin Heinrich, who won a tight re-election contest last year, and state Auditor Hector Balderas, who won re-election last year with 55 percent of the vote. Balderas was first elected statewide in 2006 at the age of 33.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said in a statement that the moderate Wilson could again have trouble in the primary.
“Heather Wilson’s connections to some of Washington’s darkest scandals and shadiest figures will be a problem for her in a primary and — if she makes it — in a general election,” DSCC spokesman Eric Schultz said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.