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ABQ lawyer enters GOP primary for congressional seat

SANTA FE – Immigration lawyer Michael Hendricks is launching a campaign this week for the Republican nomination in the 1st Congressional District, setting up a confrontation with former state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones.

Michael Hendricks

The race is wide open because U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, is running for governor next year rather than re-election to Congress.

Democrats have held the seat since 2009, and seven candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination. The primary election is in June.

Hendricks, who founded a firm that specializes in immigration law, said he has a strong legal and business background that would be an asset in Congress.

“In my candidacy,” he said in a written statement, “I see bringing back morality to the U.S. Congress and working to stem the tide of overspending in Washington.”

Arnold-Jones, a former state legislator and former city councilor, is also running in the Republican primary.

Hendricks said he grew up in a family dedicated to serving others: His family moved to Mexico when he was 7 to work as missionaries.

He speaks Spanish and serves as the consulting attorney for the Mexican Consulate in New Mexico, his campaign said.

Competing for the Democratic nomination are Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis; former state Democratic Party Chairwoman Debra Haaland; Damon Martinez, former U.S attorney for New Mexico; Albuquerque attorney Damian Lara; Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, former associate dean of the University of New Mexico Law School; Albuquerque physicist Dennis Dinge; and Edgewood Town Councilor John Abrams.

Hendricks plans to launch his campaign with an event in Albuquerque on Thursday.

He said he would be a strong advocate for people living in the district, which covers Albuquerque and part of central New Mexico.

Hendricks said the issues he will focus on “include empowering the education system, training qualified workers for current job openings and bringing in new companies for more jobs, improving public safety … building the proper infrastructure to improve mental health treatment and provide options for the less fortunate.”