New Mexico Lt. Gov. John Sanchez is dropping out of the open-seat Senate race, leaving former Rep. Heather Wilson with just one opponent in the Republican primary.
Sanchez said Thursday that a nasty primary with Wilson and conservative challenger Greg Sowards would hurt the party’s chances of winning the seat in November.
“A bitter and divisive Republican Primary would only diminish our party’s genuine opportunity to bring real change in Washington,” Sanchez said in a statement. “The reality is that the path forward to success in the campaign could cause a negative primary struggle that would leave the eventual nominee bruised, bloody and broke.”
Sanchez had not gained traction and was trailing Wilson considerably in fundraising. Sanchez raised just $106,000 last quarter and paid back $100,000 of the $200,000 loan he previously issued to his campaign.
Wilson, already the favorite for the nomination, raised $375,000 last quarter and had more than $1 million in the bank at the end of 2011. Sowards, a businessman running to Wilson's right, has loaned his campaign more than $1 million and had $636,000 in cash on hand.
The winner of the June 5 primary will take on Rep. Martin Heinrich or state Auditor Hector Balderas. Heinrich had almost $1.4 million in cash on hand at the end of 2011, more than three times as much as Balderas. They’re hoping to keep the seat of retiring Sen. Jeff Bingaman in Democratic hands.
Roll Call rates the race a Tossup.