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Bitter U.S. Senate Contest Dwells On Crime, Coronavirus

FILE - In this Oct. 5, 2006, photo, KRQE-TV meteorologist Mark Ronchetti prepares the weathercast at the KRQE studios in Albuquerque, N.M. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., is vastly outspending well-known Republican former television meteorologist Ronchetti, a first-time political candidate with a tough-on-crime message, in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Tom Udall. (Jaelyn deMaria/The Albuquerque Journal via AP, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 5, 2006, photo, KRQE-TV meteorologist Mark Ronchetti prepares the weathercast at the KRQE studios in Albuquerque, N.M. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., is vastly outspending well-known Republican former television meteorologist Ronchetti, a first-time political candidate with a tough-on-crime message, in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Tom Udall. (Jaelyn deMaria/The Albuquerque Journal via AP, File)

Candidates for an open U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico are parrying a barrage of political attack ads with the first televised debate of the campaign scheduled for Monday evening.

SANTA FE, N.M.: Candidates for an open U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico are parrying a barrage of political attack ads with the first televised debate of the campaign scheduled for Monday evening.

Retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Udall has endorsed as his successor allied six-term U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujn, while Republican former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti is promising to chart a more conservative political course on issues from health care to economic recovery.

Absentee balloting begins Tuesday across the state that currently has an all-Democratic delegation to Washington, D.C. New Mexico hasn’t backed a Republican for Senate since 2002, and Trump lost New Mexico in 2016 to Hillary Clinton by 8 percentage points.

Scientist and Libertarian Party candidate Bob Walsh also was expected to join the debate in his no-frills bid for Senate without a federally registered finance committee.

Lujn and Ronchetti accuse each other of lying and distortions in dueling political ads.

Ronchetti is defending his standing as a scientifically minded Republican and trained meteorologist, as Lujn draws attention to Republican President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.

At the same time, Lujn is defending his approach to public safety and crime in New Mexico, as Ronchetti warns of efforts by liberal politicians to defund police agencies.

The death of liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has cast new attention on the power of the GOP Senate majority to guide confirmation of new justices and finalize other lifetime federal judicial appointments.

New Mexicos current Democratic senators have placed the judicial confirmations for two U.S. District Court vacancies on hold until after the Nov. 3 election. They say the president has politicized the process, so theyll wait until the voters have spoken.

There are 35 Senate seats up for election this year, with 23 held by Republicans. Democrats would need to pick up three or four seats to take control.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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