Choosing a U.S. senator in New Mexico is a momentous decision — after all, our state sends leaders to Washington, D.C., and tends to keep them there. An open seat is a rare occurrence, which is why the retirement of U.S. Sen. Tom Udall in 2020 is a singular opportunity.

That’s true both for the candidates seeking to fill Udall’s consequential shoes and for voters selecting a senator. Given our history, whoever wins likely will serve a spell — GOP Sen. Pete Domenici was in D.C. for more than three decades, just to name one of several long-serving senators from New Mexico.

Democrat Ben Ray Luján, who has represented the 3rd Congressional District capably for more than a decade, is seeking a promotion to the upper chamber, running against former television weatherman Mark Ronchetti on the GOP side and Libertarian Bob Walsh.

Voters have clear choices.

They can decide based on policy — Luján advocates improving health care access for all, focusing in a recent debate on how Americans face losing insurance if the Affordable Care Act is struck down. That’s what the Republican Party says it wants. But after four years, the party has no replacement plan.

Luján also supports women’s reproductive rights, the importance of protecting public lands, preserving traditional communities, and protecting New Mexico’s air and water.

As a senator, he would vote to confirm Supreme Court justices who value the individual and respect hard-won freedoms. He has been a strong supporter of New Mexico’s military bases and the national laboratories — not always popular with more liberal voters — but positions he considers right for New Mexico.

Always, he works to continue necessary federal investments in New Mexico, whether dollars for tribal nations, water projects, traditional communities or road projects. He is able to see the big picture while taking care of small details, important in writing legislation and delivering constituent services.

If some voters choose policy, others select a senator based on personality. Ronchetti is known widely in the state from his days as a popular television figure — he offers a formidable challenge with his attractive family and broad smile.

But don’t discount Luján on personality — he’s a hardworking, regular guy with a head for intricate policy details and enough political know-how to have helped Democrats retake the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018. He started at the bottom in the House and currently is fourth in seniority and the highest-ranking Hispanic. Able to dive into issues across New Mexico, he can speak to farmers, ranchers, city slickers and tribal members with knowledge and understanding of their points of view.

To the race for Senate, and more importantly, if elected, Luján brings a formidable combination of experience, character and policy chops.

For U.S. Senate, The New Mexican endorses Ben Ray Luján.

With Luján running for Senate, his seat in the 3rd Congressional District is open. Teresa Leger Fernandez won the Democratic primary easily despite fierce competition. Her victory was hardly surprising, despite the strong challengers. Leger Fernandez’s background is impressive.

A native daughter of Las Vegas, N.M., she attended Yale University and Stanford Law School and spent her career working for her community as an attorney — practicing the kind of law that gives vulnerable communities a voice.

She has represented tribal communities, helping develop economic opportunities, protect sacred sites and defend voting rights. Her positions on the issues stem from her work of a lifetime, with understanding that climate change must be addressed, that rural communities need opportunities and that education is the ladder to success and must be available to all.

A mother of three, she would be a rare member of Congress with experience both on a family ranch and farm and as an acequia commissioner. That background means she can take to Congress a deep understanding of her district. That’s along with various connections she has made as a lawyer and during time spent as a Clinton White House Fellow and as an Obama appointee to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

In Congress, Leger Fernandez can hit the ground running. That’s exactly what New Mexico needs in these challenging times.

For U.S. House of Representatives, The New Mexican endorses Teresa Leger Fernandez.

(27) comments

John Bass

Still clucking at Klukkert. If there has been anyone posting who oozes entitlement with a sense of superior intelligence more than him, I don’t know. Democrat’s denial of facts joined at the hip with blind hatred for Trump is incomprehensible. I’m certain you all are convinced of a blue tsunami on November 3rd. Have you dared to consider what will happen if you lose.

Of course you have! You’ll just tear up the country like spoiled children until you get

your way. Sounds great doesn’t’t it?

Then when the bill comes you’ll still blame Republicans.

Democrat to the core.

Jim Klukkert

John Bass- Nothing sticking yet, though does stink.

Keep trying John, bring it on home to Mother Klukkert.

Katherine Martinez

Very predictable from the New Mexican, sad, but predictable.

Nicoletta Munroe

Two candidates that could not be farther apart. One has an Ivy League education, is concerned with environment policy, and has a verifiable law degree.

The other is a person whom did not finish his bachelor degree yet claims one from Highlands University, felony fraud, and has voted constantly against the environment. The Democratic Party could have run a more qualified person against this individual ten years ago, yet was complacent. Now a weak candidate is ascending to the United States senate without a law degree, without a verifiable bachelor degree, and with a crummy record that caters to Los Alamos. I can not in good conscience vote for someone who lies.

Eva Woods

Under Governor Martinez both houses were controlled by the Democrats except for 2 years when the republicans took control. Republicans have not had the opportunity to get New Mexico thriving and moving up the ladder in rankings. It is time to give up on the Democrats and give our state new leadership - nothing to lose but lots can be gained. New Mexico should come before politics and the Democrats have proven for decades they can’t get er done.

Jim Klukkert

Eva Woods- Perhaps it is easy to forget the 'nobodies' who served NM as Republican governors for 20 of the last 23 years, but clearly most New Mexicans believe the time for more of the same GOP nonsense is over.

Just as clearly, most Americans feel the same way. A clean sweep this fall with November's Electoral Blue Wave.

No votes for Republican candidates/Biden-Harris 2020!

Mike Johnson

"...who served NM as Republican governors for 20 of the last 23 years,.." Hardly. Since 1997, Ds have served 10 of those 23 years. Better check your facts, you seem to be fact challenged in your biased, partisan opinions......

Jim Klukkert

Mike Johnson- It is you, Mike, that is fact challenged in your biased, morally deficient opinions. Republicans, 20 years as follows: Garrey Carruthers, 4 years; Gary Johnson, 8 years; and Susana Martinez; eight years. Democrats, 12+ years: Bruce King, 4 years; Bill Richardson, 8 years; and Michelle Lujan Grisham, not quite 1 year.

Perhaps it is your blind rage, Mike, that has so marred your math. Perhaps that same rage is driving so many of your comments that have been deleted by the SFNM web monitor fro being abusive.

Good luck with that.

Jim Klukkert

To self correct:

Perhaps it is easy to forget the 'nobodies' who served NM as Republican governors for 20 of the last "33' years.

Not 23 years as originally posted.

My bad...

Mike Johnson

Thank you for admitting you are math challenged.......

Jim Klukkert

Thank you MIKE for admitting you are morally deficient.

Lee DiFiore

I agree with these choices if you want your community and neighborhood to be Portland, or Seattle, or Chicago, or Minneapolis, or New York or CA. Fine examples all of democratic control and how the donkeys want the entire country to look. Open borders? Abortion up until birth? Defund the police? Free everything for everyone? Reparations? No school choice? Confiscate your guns? Absolutely vote for the democrats.

Richard Irell

I see that you haven’t read the Democratic platform. But I get it, making things up is so much easier.

Lee DiFiore

The democratic platform is a complete lie. If you want to see what life under democrat rule is and will be like, judge by what they do in the cities/states I mentioned not by some meaningless opus of words designed to fool voters.

Jim Klukkert

Lee DiFiore just throwing stuff at the wall, hoping that something will stick.

Still, the truth wins out, and his efforts are for naught.

We tire of your unsubstantiated distortions. Make it real, or just go away Lee.

Emily Koyama

If your blue wave happens, watch as they try every one of those...and your 'truth" will be proven the BS it is.

Jim Klukkert

‘Dr.’ Koyama- I am still LOL at your take on 8 October rationalizing Trump saying “Don’t be afraid of COVID” as merely saying ‘we can't let fear run our lives.”

Dr. Rick Bright, immunologist, vaccine researcher, and former former Director, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority from 2016 to 2020 reacted with dismay.

“The messaging that President Trump gave to America and the world when he left the hospital, about there is no need to be afraid of this virus, is probably the MOST RECKLESS AND DEADLY PIECE OF INFORMATION I HAVE EVER HEARD. [My capitalization for emphasis.] This virus is deadly. It is airborne. …White House to tell the world it is airborne. It spreads person to person very easily. Look at the hot spot from that Rose Garden ceremony for the Supreme Court nominee.”

So without any actual qualification, you continue to magically wish away every Republican Failure in Public Health; are opposed to responsible leadership offer by anyone outside of Trump's cabal, and will continue spewing snarky put downs at citizens like Lisa Davenport raising reasonable concerns in a civil fashion in public forums.

Sorry ‘Dr.’ Koyama, we know what you and Lee are throwing at the wall. Nothing is sticking yet, but it sure does stink.

Shawn Chafins

Great post Lee!

Greg Lennes

There is a humorous meteorologist, Brick Tamland in "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," a 2004 American comedy film. So who does the GOP nominate for the New Mexico Senate - a humorous weatherman - Mark Ronchetti. In addition, the oil and gas industry is pouring big money in Ronchetti' campaign. In an article titled "Sunny skies are ahead for returning weather guy", Joline Gutierrez Krueger, columnist for Albuquerque Journal, wrote in 2006 that Mark Ronchetti has developed a fanbase built around his good looks and his sense of humor. In fact he looks like Steve Carell, who played Brick Tamland in the movie. By the way Ronchetti took an online program to get his meteorology certificate from Mississippi State University.

To gain political contributions from conservatives in his party, Ronchetti, now an avid Trump supporter, simply reflect the views of the right wing. As a weatherman he seems to know nothing about climate change. Maybe his online meteorology course didn't cover the subject. He opposes all immigrant amnesty because he says it incentivizes illegal immigration. He is strongly against any abortion. This political opportunist even voices his support for xenophobic Trump's effort to build a wall along the border with Mexico. In addition, he wants to eliminate the Affordable Care Act so that 23 million Americans will lose their healthcare. This cold-blooded political novice would even lower Medicaid costs that would help the poor.

Peter Romero

No surprise, just say we endorse whoever is a Democrat and keeps New Mexico last. Like do nothing in 12 years Lujan. Just get us a post office in Pojoaque. Que lastima.

Shawn Chafins


Mike Johnson

Exactly, these kind of people, and a rag that has always endorsed them, are the reason NM is last in all categories. NM will never learn from their mistakes, so will remain last.

John Cook

As distinguished from a climate change denying, 'down the line' Trumpie who would do for New Mexico what our beloved leader has done for his businesses and our country.

Shawn Chafins

Just curious as to why you don't approach the Governor that you voted for to fix your climate and make your way of life better here in NM. Isn't that why you voted for her? I think she is smart enough to run this state and fix your problems. Or did you not vote for her to make your way of life better?

Shawn Chafins

Well said Mike!!

John Cook

So we had Governor Susana Martinez and a conservative Senate for 8 of the 12 years you mention. Those folks had a lot more to do with 'New Mexico last' than did the Congressman from the 3rd.

Richard Irell

It is pretty amazing how ignorant right wingers are about history. Willfully ignorant. Or perhaps they are just emulating the evil and/or stupid person in the WH and are lying through their teeth.

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