Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Hello, My Name Is Sanchez.

Byline: Story by Leslie Linthicum Of the Journal

ELECTION 2000

Speaker, Rival Pound Pavement for North Valley Votes

John A. Sanchez dodged dogs and rang doorbells along Ortega Road in Albuquerque's North Valley on Monday.

His message to the residents who answered their doors? We need new blood in Santa Fe. Vote for me this November.

Raymond Sanchez burned some shoe leather along Elwood Drive in the North Valley a day later.

His message? Send me back to Santa Fe this November, and we will continue the progress we have made.

For 30 years, Raymond Sanchez has held a lock on House of Representatives District 15, a Democratic (55 percent) district that spans the North Valley from Griegos Road to Sandia Pueblo and climbs up into the western edges of the Northeast Heights. He has enjoyed two kinds of success the statewide political influence that comes from being speaker of the House of Representatives for 15 years and local respect that comes from dependably providing "pork" projects and constituent services for his district.

The Republican Party has helped a number of candidates mostly Anglo and often newcomers to the district try to defeat him in the past. But the closest anyone has ever come to knocking Raymond Sanchez out of his seat is 300 votes.

This fall, there is a little more political electricity in the air in the North Valley.

First, the Republican challenger this time is also Hispanic. And he has impeccable North Valley credentials Mission and Griegos elementary schools, confirmation at Our Lady of Guadalupe, summer jobs baling hay at Edith and El Pueblo. On top of that, his name is even Sanchez.

Republicans are calling this the most important House race in New Mexico this year, or even this decade something of a people's referendum on a Democrat-controlled Legislature and its effects on the future of New Mexico. They are pinning their hopes on John Sanchez, a relative political newcomer, to sweep one of the two most powerful Democrats out of the Legislature and upset longtime political alliances. …

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