NM Senate Candidates Lining Up For Bingaman Seat

New Mexico – ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) New Mexico's primary is 10 months off. However, debate on President Barack Obama's economic policies has already started on television and radio ads financed by the national Republican and Democratic parties.

The economy appears to be topping voters' concerns in the 2012 general election. New Mexico's campaigns for the Senate primaries already promise to be long and bruising in a Western state considered a key to next year's presidential election.

Strong candidates from both parties are raising money and setting up campaigns for the June primaries and the chance to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

The high-profile race will help drive the ballot. That means the outcome determines not only the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, but also which presidential candidate takes New Mexico's five electoral votes.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. KRWG