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Politics Notebook: Gov. to visit Arizona on GOP business

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Gov. Susana Martinez will be heading west next week to take part in a national GOP governors’ event in Arizona.

The first-term governor will travel to Phoenix for the Republican Governors Association meeting on Tuesday, Martinez political adviser Jay McCleskey said Thursday.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who invited Martinez to campaign with him this month, is expected to be elected during the three-day meeting as the RGA’s chairman for 2014.

Meanwhile, Martinez will headline a fundraiser next week for the Arizona Republican Party, McCleskey said.

The governor has traveled out of state extensively in recent months, mostly to hold private fundraisers and speak to business groups.

Her Arizona trip will be paid for by the RGA, McCleskey said. Martinez is scheduled to return to New Mexico on Nov. 21, though she might end up staying longer to attend to family matters.

— By Dan Boyd

ANOTHER HAT IN THE CD1 RING: Albuquerque businessman and retired Army officer Richard Priem says he’s joining the race for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham for the 1st Congressional District seat in the U.S. House.

Priem joins a growing field of Republicans vying for the party’s nomination, including former Albuquerque City Councilor Mike McEntee and Corrales business owner Mike Frese.

Priem, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, said he would advocate for veterans issues and “represent their concerns as the government continues to break its promises.”

Protecting New Mexico’s national labs also would be a priority in Congress, Priem said. “We must ensure that as the federal government refocuses its spending programs, we don’t make foolish decisions to downsize these important programs.”

— By James Monteleone

LEGISLATIVE HOPEFUL: State Rep. Vickie Perea, R-Belen, was appointed to her legislative seat two weeks ago, but the seat already has drawn an announced candidate for 2014.

Democrat Matthew McQueen, a lawyer who lives in Galisteo, announced his candidacy this week for the House District 50 seat.

The late Stephen Easley was elected to a two-year term in the House of Representatives in 2012 and died in August. Perea was then appointed Nov. 1 by Gov. Susana Martinez to fill the vacancy.

Democratic candidates have received about 55 percent of votes cast in most statewide elections in House District 50, which encompasses parts of four counties.

— By Dan Boyd

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