Rand Paul Backs Sowards in N.M. Senate Race

Rand Paul Backs Sowards in N.M. Senate Race

By Erin McPike - May 2, 2012

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is throwing his support to Greg Sowards, the underdog in New Mexico's GOP Senate primary against former Rep. Heather Wilson, the establishment choice.

In a statement being released Wednesday afternoon, Paul said: "Greg supports dramatically shrinking government. Greg supports the 5-year balanced budget proposed by myself and Senators [Jim] DeMint and [Mike] Lee. He agrees that our future generations of Americans do not deserve to be enslaved by debt, and we need more champions like him in the U.S. Senate.”

Himself a darling of the Tea Party, which propelled him to victory in 2010, Paul asked for the movement’s activists, along with libertarians and fellow conservatives, to show their support for Sowards.

Wilson is a more centrist Republican who lost her first run for the Senate in 2008 when she came up short against the more conservative Rep. Steve Pearce. Pearce then lost the general election to Democrat Tom Udall and returned to his old House seat in the 2010 election. In this cycle, Wilson has the unofficial backing of the party establishment as the more likely choice to prevail in November.

The New Mexico primary will take place on June 5.

That race isn't the only one that could cause the GOP internal strife. Veteran Sens. Dick Lugar of Indiana and Orrin Hatch of Utah also face conservative challengers in primaries this month. 

Erin McPike is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPike.

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