Morales holding 1-on-1 interviews as he pushes for leadership role
Democrats in the state Senate could meet as soon as Sunday to try to pick a president pro tem of the chamber.
Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez of Belen has asked the other 24 Democrats in the Senate if they would be available to caucus then.
Campaigning is intense. Much of it is being done by phone, though various senators are able to meet with colleagues at interim committee hearings.
Sen. Howie Morales, right, one of five senators seeking the presidency, is going further to advance his candidacy. He has taken to the road and is meeting personally with his colleagues, old and new.
Morales has traveled to Grants, Las Cruces and twice to Albuquerque for sit-downs with other senators. He will return to Albuquerque on Wednesday for meetings with freshmen senators Bill O'Neill, Michael Padilla and Benny Shendo.
The other Democrats in the Senate who want the job of president pro tem are Linda Lopez of Albuquerque, Carlos Cisneros of Questa, Mary Kay Papen of Las Cruces and Pete Campos of Las Vegas.
Morales said he has conducted his campaign through in-person meetings rather than phone calls for a specific reason.
"Whatever the results, human interaction is important," he said.
Morales, 39, is the youngest contender for Senate president pro tem. He said he wants Democrats to unify behind one candidate. If they do, the 17 Republican senators would have no voice in who becomes president pro tem.
This would be in contrast to 2008, when Democratic Sen. Tim Jennings won the job with support from a coalition of Republicans and members of his own party.
Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, said he wanted no such maneuvering this time. Wirth said his hope was that at least 22 Democrats line up behind a member of their own party. This would enable Democrats alone to elect the Senate president.
Unity is part of Morales' campaign pitch. He says he can connect with and work with all sides of the Democratic Caucus.