Candidates for an open U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico are parrying a barrage of political attack ads as the first televised debate of the campaign takes placeBy MORGAN LEE Associated PressOctober 5, 2020, 6:00 AM• 2 min readSANTA FE, N.M. — Candidates for an open U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico are parrying a barrage of political attack ads with the first televised debate of the campaign scheduled for Monday evening.Retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Udall has endorsed as his successor allied six-term U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, while Republican former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti is promising to chart a more conservative political course on issues from health care to economic recovery.Absentee balloting begins Tuesday across the state that currently has an all-Democratic delegation to Washington, D.C. New Mexico hasn’t backed a Republican for Senate since 2002, and Trump lost New Mexico in 2016 to Hillary Clinton by 8 percentage points.Scientist and Libertarian Party candidate Bob Walsh also was expected to join the debate in his no-frills bid for Senate without a federally registered finance committee.Luján and Ronchetti accuse each other of lying and distortions in dueling political ads.Ronchetti is defending his standing as a scientifically minded Republican and trained


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