Santa Fe attorney Teresa Leger Fernandez emerged Saturday as the front-runner in the crowded 3rd Congressional District race, placing first in delegate votes by a wide margin at the Democratic pre-primary convention.

Leger Fernandez won 41.9 percent of the delegate vote, according to a preliminary count, while Sandoval County Treasurer Laura Montoya was second with 20.4 percent. That qualified both candidates to be guaranteed a place on the ballot in June’s Democratic primary, held ahead of November’s election to determine a replacement for U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, who is seeking a U.S. Senate seat.


Jens Gould covers politics for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He was a correspondent for Bloomberg News in Mexico City, a regular contributor for TIME in California, and produced the video series Bravery Tapes.