UDPATE2: As of 7:50 a.m. EST, and with all but a handful of precincts now in, Martinez has held that 51-28 margin, beating Weh in all but two counties (Cibola, Roosevelt). For what it’s worth, six days ago a KOB-TV Channel 4 poll of 1400+ New Mexico likely voters showed Martinez leading Denish by six points in what was then a potential, but is now the set matchup for governor this November.
UPDATE: As for 11:21 EST, and with roughly 60 percent of precincts now in, Martinez lead (51 percent to 28 percent) holding, even increasing a bit…
With about 40 percent of precincts reported, late-surging gubernatorial aspirant Susana Martinez has won convincingly over Allen Weh and the rest of the field in the Republican primary for the right to face Lt. Gov. Diane Denish this November. (Denish, running unopposed in the primary, will be the Democratic nominee.) The AP just called the race for Martinez shortly before 11 p.m. EST.
Martinez presently leads 51 percent to Weh’s 29 percent, with the rest of the vote scattered among three others, including Pete Domenici, Jr. If that margin holds once all votes are counted, it will represent quite a dramatic turnaround in just two weeks. Indeed, an Albuquerque Journal poll on May 16 had Weh tied with Martinez; another poll showed her surging out to an 11-point lead just a week or so later. And now it looks like Martinez may have doubled that margin in the past week.
In ads like the one above, Martinez, the district attorney for Dona Ana County endorsed by Sarah Palin, was attacked by conservative Weh, the former state GOP chair for whom Karl Rove recorded a robo-call ad. Presuming Martinez–who was endorsed by Sarah Palin–can hold on, New Mexico will have an all-female general election matchup for governor–only the third time that’s happened in American history. NM has never had a female governor, but obviously that will soon change.
In the other other race of national note, former Republican Rep. Steve Pearce easily won the Republican primary in the 2nd Congressional District. After abandoning his seat in 2008 for an unsuccessful Senate bid, he now faces Harry Teague for the chance to recapture his old House seat.