- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 4, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Former state Sen. Tim Eichenberg Tuesday won the heated Democratic race for New Mexico treasurer, defeating former state Democratic Party Chairman John Wertheim with 53 percent of the vote.

The race was among the most contentious of this primary election, prompting a call from Democratic Party Chairman Sam Bregman to tone things down.

During the campaign, Wertheim, 46, ran ads accusing Eichenberg of discriminating against Latinos, women and gays with votes in the Senate and as Bernalillo County treasurer.

“Is Tim Eichenberg a real Democrat?” a television ad asked.

Eichenberg, 62, said his opponent was using “smears” because he didn’t want to talk about his lack of “experience, integrity and qualifications.”

The race was reduced to two-man contest after a district judge disqualified former Bernalillo County Treasurer Patrick Padilla from the ballot for failing to collect enough petition signatures.

Shortly after getting bumped from the ballot, Padilla announced his support for Eichenberg, with robo-calls to voters.

The treasurer serves as New Mexico’s banker, investing the state’s short-term funds and sitting on numerous boards and commissions that include the State Investment Council, the Board of Finance and the Public Employees Retirement Association.

The winner replaces James Lewis, who could not seek re-election because of term limits.

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