State senators face stiff competition in New Mexico primary

New Mexico

FILE – In this March 15, 2019, file photo, state Sen. John Arthur Smith gestures while speaking to New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in Santa Fe, N.M. The chairman of a key legislative committee says New Mexico’s finances have been hit by a double-whammy of a pandemic and an oil-price crash. But state Sen. John Arthur Smith said Monday, April 6, 2020, the blow will be somewhat cushioned by decisions made during the last legislative session to build up reserves. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An embattled state senator convicted of drunken driving has lost his bid for the Democratic nomination in a northern New Mexico district.

Sen. Richard Martinez’s defeat came Tuesday as several longtime legislators who have resisted initiatives ranging from spending increases to the legalization of recreational marijuana faced stiff opposition from challengers.

Martinez of Ojo Caliente was seeking a sixth term but lost to Rio Arriba County Commissioner Leo Jaramillo.

Senate President Mary Kay Papen of Las Cruces, Senate finance committee leader John Arthur Smith of Deming and Clemente Sanchez of Grants all were locked in tight races as ballot counting stretched into Wednesday.

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