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When a big name -- like Domenici or Hilliard -- isn't everything

The past few weeks have been relatively kind to 2010 hopefuls with famous political pedigrees, but two candidates in Tuesday's primaries may not be so lucky.

In New Mexico, attorney Pete Domenici Jr. (R), son of the longest-serving senator in the state’s history, has been trailing far behind Doña Ana Co. District Attorney Susana Martinez (R) and former state Republican Party chair Allen Weh.

Domenici’s entrance into the race in January was initially viewed as a game-changer given the lack of any other big-name candidates in the race. But his campaign never took off – he received only five percent of the delegate vote in March’s pre-primary convention, and has struggled in the five-candidate field.

Meanwhile, in Alabama’s seventh district, state Rep. Earl Hilliard (D) is running for the seat of Rep. Artur Davis (D), who is retiring to pursue a run for governor. Hilliard is the son of former Rep. Earl Hilliard (D), who lost to Davis in the 2002 runoff for the seat.

Despite his well-known name, the younger Hilliard remains locked in a tight-three way battle with attorney Terri Sewell (D) and Jefferson County Commissioner Sheila Smoot (D). Sewell has won the endorsements of the Birmingham News and the Selma Times-Journal and has far outraised her competitors. If no candidate in the race reaches 50 percent today, the top two vote-getters will compete in a July 13 runoff.

-- Felicia Sonmez

By Felicia Sonmez  |  June 1, 2010; 3:55 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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