New Mexico Democrats vie for attorney general in primary

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic voters are determining on a nominee for New Mexico legal professional normal as condition prosecutors contend with a surge in urban gun violence, outside the house statements to scarce water provides and concerns about pollution, client protection and political extremism.

Albuquerque-based District Lawyer Raúl Torrez is running against Condition Auditor Brian Colón for the Democratic endorsement to succeed termed-out Democratic Legal professional Standard Hector Balderas. Absentee and early in-man or woman voting are underway in advance of Election Day on Tuesday.

The winner will contend in opposition to Republican legal professional and U.S. Marine veteran Jeremy Michael Homosexual of Gallup. Republicans have held the business office only 3 situations in New Mexico’s 110-year historical past.

Torrez, a 2nd-phrase district attorney for the county encompassing Albuquerque, has portrayed himself as a seasoned courtroom attorney and prosecutor of criminal offense and corruption.

He has pledged to broaden the state’s capability and skills to handle consumer-rights litigation and prevail in a prolonged legal battle with Texas about administration of Rio Grande waters amid a a long time-prolonged drought.

Colón is seeking to abide by in the footsteps of Balderas, who parlayed his do the job as point out auditor into a productive bid for attorney basic in 2014. The two beforehand labored at the very same legislation company.

Colón has emphasized his upbringing in an impoverished New Mexico family and his watchdog role as auditor reviewing nearby federal government funds and calling out misconduct by pubic officers — together with Las Vegas ex-Mayor Tonita Gurule-Giron right before her convictions of interfering in city contracts to benefit her boyfriend.

The marketing campaign has cast new gentle on the current observe of selecting outside lawyers to stand for New Mexico in advanced consumer defense and class-motion lawsuits.

Torrez has criticized Colón for accepting campaign contributions from legislation companies that could reward from referrals. Colón defended the program as efficient and has pledged a transparent procedure in deciding upon exterior attorneys.

Torrez’s current tenure as district legal professional coincides with a criminal offense disaster in Albuquerque, which includes a history-setting variety of homicides in 2021.

Colón describes his marketing campaign rival as a “failed prosecutor,” highlighting conviction premiums for violent felony cases under Torrez that are down below the nationwide benchmark.

Torrez has sought unsuccessfully to roll again bail reforms that permitted judges to deny pre-trial launch to dangerous defendants and release minimal-chance defendants who might keep on being in jail because they can not manage bail bonds. The reforms were being initiated by statewide referendum in 2016.

Both candidates have explained they will assistance obtain to abortion, enforce point out gun command provisions and confront political extremists who flout the legislation.

Torrez is prosecuting a suitable-wing militia that brought rifles and tactical gear to a 2020 protest in Albuquerque versus a statue of Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate.

Torrez formerly served as as a federal prosecutor and senior adviser at the U.S. Justice Division less than Legal professional Common Eric Holder all through Barack Obama’s presidency. Colón is a former chairman of the New Mexico Democratic Occasion.

Individually, 5 Republican candidates for governor are competing in Tuesday’s key to take on incumbent Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Democrats are also deciding on nominees in open races for point out auditor and treasurer.

The most important will lock in nominees to obstacle incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury of Albuquerque and Republican Congresswoman Yvette Herrell of Alamogordo.