Democrats could have slate of Generation X candidates
With state Sen. Howie Morales now in the race for governor, Democrats could nominate a series of youthful candidates for statewide office next year.
Here is the potential slate:
Governor -- Morales, 40, seeks to become the youngest governor since David Cargo won the office in 1966. Cargo was 37.
State Auditor -- State Sen. Timothy Keller, 35. He has sponsored a series of bills in the Legislature to improve efficiency in various agenies, including the State Investment Council and New Mexico Finance Authority.
Attorney General -- Hector Balderas, 40. Now the state auditor, Balderas has already won statewide races.
Secretary of State -- Maggie Toulouse Oliver, 37. She is now clerk of the state's most populous county, Bernalillo.
Oliver, right, is unlikely to face primary opposition, so she will be able to save her money for the general election against incumbent Republican Dianna Duran.
In addition, the youth movement could extend to two congressional races.
Rocky Lara, 38, of Carlsbad, is competing for the Democratic nomination in the district covering southern New Mexico.
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, 41, of Santa Fe, is the three-term incumbent in New Mexico's northern district. He will be seeking re-election.
The challenge for them all will be igniting a base that tends to slumber in mid-term elections and registering people who typically do not care enough to vote.
Of the Democrats' younger candidates, Morales probably will face the most crowded primary election.
He already is competing with state Attorney General Gary King and state Sen. Linda Lopez of Albuquerque for the gubernatorial nomination. Another candidate or two still could jump into the governor's race.