ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Republicans are preparing to join Nebraska Republicans and endorse President Donald Trump for re-election, chairman Steve Pearce said.
He told The Associated Press on Monday that an endorsement in the nation’s most Hispanic state is coming soon and believed everyone in the party’s central committee is supporting the president.
“I think at this point, it just would be a mere formality. But we are all going out for the president,” Pearce said. “We’d be happy to endorse Trump.”
Pearce said he knew of nobody in state GOP circles who wasn’t supporting the president. Pearce also noted he didn’t know if any of Trump’s Republican challengers, like former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh or former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, would even get on the state primary ballot.
New Mexico Democratic Chair Marg Elliston took Pearce’s remarks as an attempt to influence a GOP presidential primary. “Once again, the New Mexico GOP is marching in lockstep with their national party instead of doing what’s best for New Mexican voters,” Elliston said.
State Republicans would join a growing group of state GOP parties rallying around Trump. The Nebraska GOP announced in August the party had unanimously endorsed Trump for re-election.
In addition, Nevada GOP spokesman Keith Schipper said the party “will vote to endorse and bind the delegates to the president at a later date.”
Republican leaders in Nevada, South Carolina, Arizona, Alaska, and Kansas recently voted to scrap their presidential nominating contests in 2020, erecting more hurdles for the long-shot candidates challenging Trump.
The strong support for Trump isn’t a surprise two months after the president visited Rio Rancho, New Mexico, for a rally.
Some state GOP organizations working to halt presidential nominating contests have drawn criticism for stifling debate.
Trump lost New Mexico by eight percentage points in 2016. But Libertarian presidential candidate and former Gov. Gary Johnson captured nine percentage points last election, giving some Republicans hope the state could be in play in 2020.
Last year, Republicans lost a House seat and the governor’s mansion in the state.
New Mexico hasn’t voted for a Republican for president since George W. Bush in 2004.
Follow Russell Contreras on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras