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Balderas to run for AG in 2014

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State Auditor Hector Balderas formally announced Tuesday his entrance into the 2014 race to become New Mexico’s next attorney general.

Balderas, a Democrat, said he considered seeking the party’s nomination for governor but decided the Attorney General’s office would be a better fit.

“It just made more sense to continue to gain more experience at this point in my career,” Balderas said in a phone interview.

Attorney General Gary King is serving his second four-year term and is not eligible to seek re-election. King has said he will seek the Democratic nomination for governor nomination next year.

Balderas, an attorney, made his Tuesday announcement online and said he would bring a “watchdog mentality” to the Attorney General’s Office.

He told the Journal he plans to travel the state this summer to meet with constituents before releasing a more detailed policy agenda.

A former state lawmaker from Wagon Mound who was first elected state auditor in 2006, Balderas was unsuccessful last year in his bid to win the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Bingaman.

Former Public Regulation Commission member Jason Marks of Albuquerque also has set his eyes on the Democratic nomination for the 2014 attorney general’s race.

On the Republican side, Clovis district attorney Matt Chandler said he has been encouraged to run but has not yet made a final decision. Chandler lost to King in the 2010 attorney general’s race.

Governor on the move: Gov. Susana Martinez made a quick trip to southern California on Tuesday to headline a campaign fundraiser for a top-ranking GOP congressman.

Martinez gave the keynote address at a Bakersfield, Calif., fundraiser for U.S. House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy, said her political adviser, Jay McCleskey.

The Republican governor’s out-of-state travel has ramped up in recent weeks with Martinez also traveling to Denver, Las Vegas, Nev., and Palm Desert, Calif., for political events in April.

Martinez was scheduled to return to New Mexico this morning, McCleskey said. The McCarthy campaign paid for her travel costs, he said.

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