Treasurer candidates hit the long road

New Mexico is a big place.

The state is made up of 121,589 square miles, an area that makes it the fifth largest state in the union. For candidates running statewide, New Mexico makes for a very long campaign trail.

New Mexico treasurer candidates Democrat Tim Eichenberg and Republican Rick Lopez have become all too familiar with the enormity of the state.

“My campaign started December 19th and I don’t think there’s a county I haven’t been to. I’ve been to most major towns and cities around New Mexico,” Lopez said.

“I bought the car I’m using now about four months into the campaign,” Eichenberg said of his Chevy Silverado. “It already has over 68,000 miles on it.”

Deborah Bransford, Eichenberg’s campaign director, said that estimate is probably low.

“(Eichenberg) and I figured that 70,000 miles is a conservative estimate for his campaign since we didn’t include his wife’s car or mine,” Bransford said.

Lopez has put 63,000 miles on the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid he is using for his campaign, and he estimates that 55,000 of those miles were used for political purposes.

“I’ve done three parades in one day before, and had meetings lasting until 10 p.m. in Roswell and had to be in Clovis by 7:30 the next morning. That means leaving Roswell by 4:30 a.m.,” Lopez said.

Travel has been an integral part of both of these candidates campaign efforts, and each has covered nearly every corner of the state.

“At one point in the campaign I started in Santa Fe and made stops in Farmington, Aztec, Bloomfield, Las Cruces, Soccoro, Los Lunas, Albuquerque and finally back Santa Fe all in three days,” Lopez said.

Lopez’s statewide trek allowed him to participate in events ranging from the Connie Mack World Series Parade in Farmington to the Dona Ana Republican Party venue in Las Cruces.

At the end of this road trip, which spanned from July 2 to July 4, Lopez traveled 916 miles and spent just under 14 hours on the road. This averages out to about 305 miles and just under 5 hours of travel per day for the Republican candidate.

Eichenberg can relate to that kind of mileage. According to information provided by Eichenberg’s campaign, he traveled 943 miles between Sept. 28 and Oct. 1. That comes out to about 235 miles per day on the road, which is roughly the distance from Albuquerque to Raton.

That week-long tour of New Mexico’s southeastern quadrant allowed Eichenberg to participate in Las Cruces’ Whole Enchilada Fiesta and parade through Roswell as part of the Eastern New Mexico State Fair.

Bransford said that Eichenberg’s stops in New Mexico’s small towns are filled with meet and greets with the locals.

“Shaking hands at local businesses and restaurants, putting up a sign or two,” Bransford said, “It’s a great experience but definitely a lot of work.”