New Mexicans go to the polls Tuesday to weigh in on the Republican presidential primary and narrow the field of candidates for U.S. Senate and Congress. However, turnout is expected to be light as only registered Republican voters can cast ballots for presidential candidates Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, or Mitt Romney.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) will seek to build on the momentum generated by his big Louisiana win, growing his delegate count as more state parties convene to officially elect delegates to the Republican convention in August in Tampa, Fla.
Paul’s forces managed to capture another batch of delegates to the Republican National Convention in Louisiana where supporters of Paul and front-runner Mitt Romney split the vote, and Paul apparently won a majority of the delegates to the national gathering.
Paul strategists say the Texas congressman, who is the lone remaining challenger to presumptive nominee Romney, captured 27 of the 46 delegates to which Louisiana is entitled.
Paul supporters also elected one of their own, Henry Herford, to a senior party post. But emotions ran high, and Herford was hurt at one point when he was removed from the convention hall by security officers after he became embroiled in a dispute with other Republican activists.
Week after week, Paul forces have been using GOP rules to dominate or exert a large influence at state Republican conventions and send pro-Paul delegates to the national GOP convention in Tampa, Florida August 27-30. They hope to influence the national party platform and gain a prime-time speaking slot or perhaps the VP slot itself for Paul.
PolicyMic will be updating. Follow the updates HERE:
UPDATE: 9:38 PM: Mitt Romney has been projected as the winner of the New Mexico Republican presidential primary with 10.3% of the votes in. Romney has 78.1% (14,525 votes) so far against Paul's 8.7% (1,629).
9:12 PM: 7.5% of the vote reported and Romney holds 79.0% (10,226 votes) versus Paul's 8.7% (1,127 votes).
8:40 PM: Hispanic Candidates Struggle: Despite that, according to the 2010 Census, Hispanics now represent a plurality of the population in New Mexico, Republicans and Democrats are both set to nominate white candidates on Tuesday in the state's Senate primaries. Democratic Rep. Martin Heinrich and former GOP Rep. Heather Wilson -- both strong contenders supported by the establishment wings of their parties -- are set to cruise to victory in their respective primaries, according to recent polling. Both fields once included once-promising Hispanic contenders who either failed to gain momentum or fizzled out altogether.
6:54 PM: New Mexico’s Republican Races: The Rundown:
Senate District 7: This Eastern New Mexico race pits Governor Susana Martinez-backed Angie Spears against rancher Pat Woods. Martinez, whose name has been tossed among Mitt Romney’s potential running mates, has spent some serious political capital in the race and if Spears comes up short, it would be a major embarrassment.
Senate District 21: Three Republicans, in a district that leans of their favor, are vying to take on a Democratic opponent. Lisa Curtis was appointed by Martinez, and Mark Moores, Robert Doughty and Nancy Cooper are looking for the Republican nomination.
House District 16: …and the two Republicans who want to make this Albuquerque-area seat red are Kenneth King and Chris Saucedo.
House District 25: Nicholas Cates Riali and Elizabeth Keen are looking to take the Republican nomination.
House District 29: Incumbent Tom Anderson, who is one of the more friendly members of the legislature, was outraised by Peggy Muller-Aragon by a big amount. And though Muller-Aragon is running as a Republican, she received two donations totalling $1,550 from outgoing Democratic Sen. Bernandette Sanchez of Albuquerque.
House District 31: Incumbent Bill Rehm is the favorite, but self-funder William Arnold Wiley wants to make a run of it in the Albuquerque-area district. A Democrat, Joanne Allen, awaits the winner in the general election, but this is a district that the Republican primary winner will be favored in.
4:20 PM: What is a Proportional Primary? Seeing the winner-take-all primary as unfairly reducing the input of significant minority factions within the party, the McGovern-Fraser reforms of the 1970s promoted the so-called "proportional" type of primary as an alternative in which the district delegates are apportioned among the top vote-getters. That's how New Mexico will award its 23 delegates to the Republican National Convention tonight.
For live results of New Mexico's Senate primary between Heather Wilson and Greg Sowards, see here.