ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — In the latest sign that Republicans are failing to gain traction in New Mexico, national party leaders are pulling three key staffers from their effort here to elect Mitt Romney.
Party officials confirmed Wednesday that the GOP Victory campaign's director, Hispanic outreach director and communications director will be transferred to more competitive states as part of a shift in the Republican National Committee's resources.
They emphasized, however, that all of the state campaign offices will remain open and staffed through the election.
"The GOP Victory organization will maintain a presence in New Mexico and continue talking to voters about how President Obama's economic policies have failed New Mexico and Governor Romney's plan to strengthen the middle class," said RNC spokesman Ted Kwong.
Ellie Wallace, an RNC spokeswoman in Colorado, said that some New Mexico staffers are being redeployed to the key battleground states of Colorado and Nevada.
While New Mexico early in the campaign was also considered a battleground, it never really became competitive. The National Republican Senatorial Committee recently pulled $3 million in television ad time it had reserved on behalf of U.S. Senate candidate Heather Wilson, in part because the presidential campaigns were not snapping up the air time as had been initially expected.
And a recent poll commissioned for the Albuquerque Journal showed Obama leading Romney 45 percent to 40 percent, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percent.
That same poll, conducted Sept. 3-6 by Research & Polling Inc., of Albuquerque, showed Democratic Rep. Martin Heinrich leading Wilson 49 percent to 42 percent.
Romney has made one campaign stop in the state, traveling to Hobbs, the heart of the state's oil and gas country last month, to promote an energy plan that calls for an aggressive expansion in offshore drilling.
Obama's only stop in New Mexico was also in New Mexico's Permian Basin. But thanks to his incumbent edge, his campaign has been on the ground since late last year with an aggressive grassroots and Hispanic outreach.
Republican New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez had been mentioned as a possible running mate for Romney, and she is a co-chair of his Hispanic outreach organization, Juntos con Romney. She spoke at the National Republican Convention last month but has done little with his campaign in New Mexico or elsewhere.
Earlier this week, she distanced herself from Romney and his secretly videotaped statement that 47 percent of voters won't vote for him because they "are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them."
Martinez said New Mexico has a lot of people at the poverty level, "but they count just as much as anybody else."
Associated Press writer Nicholas Riccardi in Denver contributed to this report.
Follow Jeri Clausing on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jericlausing
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Did you like this article? Vote it up or down! And don't forget to add your comments below!
New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.