|State Senator Howie Morales|
Morales said he is taking a leave from his job as a hospital administrator so that he can campaign fulltime. He acknowledged that he was entering the race a bit late, but said the seven months between now and the primary election would be ample. At 40, Morales is among the younger state legislators, but he said his campaign for governor was not intended simply to become better known.
Morales has a Ph.D. in education and spent the first part of his working life as a teacher. He also has been a baseball coach and a Grant County clerk. Morales has been a state senator since 2008, originally appointed to the seat by then-governor Bill Richardson.
Two other Democrats have been in the governor's race for months. They are state Sen. Linda Lopez of Albuquerque and state Attorney General Gary King. Throughout summer, Morales positioned himself as an alternative for a party unexcited by Lopez or King.
Morales said he received encouragement from people who could envision the Lopez or King providing tough competition for Martinez in next year's general election. More