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Politics Notebook: Fifth Democrat joining race for governor

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RAEL: Campaign will focus on jobs, education

RAEL: Campaign will focus on jobs, education

The field of Democratic gubernatorial candidates will soon grow to five as Lawrence Rael confirmed Friday he is entering the race.

Rael, a Los Ranchos resident with extensive government experience in New Mexico, said he will make his candidacy official next week.

He said he will focus on job creation and education issues on the campaign trail. The state’s dismal ranking in some national studies persuaded him to enter the race, he added.

“We’re at the top of all the bad lists and at the bottom of the all the good lists,” Rael told the Journal.

Rael recently resigned from his job with the Obama administration as the state executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.

He previously worked as chief administrative officer for the city of Albuquerque and helped start up the New Mexico Rail Runner commuter train service as executive director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments.

The previously announced candidates for the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nomination are Attorney General Gary King, state Sen. Linda Lopez of Albuquerque, Santa Fe businessman Alan Webber and state Sen. Howie Morales of Silver City.

Whoever wins the party’s nomination is expected to face off against Gov. Susana Martinez in next year’s general election.

RICHARDSON JOINS BOARD: Former Gov. Bill Richardson has landed on yet another board, this time for a Las Vegas, Nev.-area clean energy company.

In its recent announcement, Blue Earth Inc. described Richardson as a “leading proponent of renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions.”

The Democrat, who served as governor from 2003 through 2010, has joined a number of nonprofit and for-profit boards since leaving office. They include Refugees International and AMP, a maker of electronic vehicles.

He also recently penned his third book, titled “How to Sweet-Talk a Shark,” that deals with his experience negotiating with foreign leaders.

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