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Eighth Democrat enters race for congressional seat

SANTA FE – The field for an open Albuquerque-area congressional seat continues to expand, as Annie Chavez announced Thursday that she’s entering the race.

Chavez, an Albuquerque native and Sandia National Laboratories government relations official, is the eighth Democrat running for the 1st Congressional District seat, which is held by U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Lujan Grisham announced in December that she would run for governor in 2018, triggering widespread interest in representing the Democratic-leaning district.

A former aide to now-retired U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman who also worked in the telecommunications industry, Chavez said her experience in the public and private sectors would distinguish her from other candidates in the race and allow her to be an effective member of Congress.

Annie Chavez

Annie Chavez

She cited reducing crime rates, addressing health care costs and increasing educational opportunities as top priorities, and suggested she would seek more federal funding for law enforcement activities.

Chavez also said she would work to try to make Albuquerque the center of a high-tech corridor.

“Without creating an economic engine for our kids … we are going to continue to be a place that people leave instead of a place where people want to stay and raise a family,” she told the Journal.

Chavez, who is making her first run for elected office, criticized President Donald Trump in her Thursday announcement, saying she would stand up to policies she described as “anti-immigrant, anti-science and anti-fact.”

The other Democrats seeking the party’s nomination are former state Democratic Party Chairwoman Debra Haaland; Edgewood Town Councilor John Abrams; former U.S. Attorney for New Mexico Damon Martinez; Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis; former University of New Mexico Law School Associate Dean Antoinette Sedillo Lopez; Albuquerque physicist Dennis Dinge; and Albuquerque attorney Damian Lara.

On the Republican side, two candidates have entered the race – former state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones and immigration lawyer Michael Hendricks.

New Mexico’s primary election will be held in June and the general election in November 2018.

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