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Politics Notebook: Two more throw hats in ring for Pearce seat

The allure of an open southern New Mexico congressional district seat keeps attracting candidates.

Two more candidates – one Democrat and one Republican – have jumped into the 2nd Congressional District race in recent days, and the field still might not be set.

For now, five Democrats and four Republicans are running in the district, which encompasses all of southern New Mexico and stretches north into parts of Bernalillo County.

The most recent candidates to enter the race are Democrat Adolf Zubia, a former Las Cruces fire chief, and Republican Monty Newman, who was state GOP chairman from late 2010 through 2012.

Second Congressional District Candidate Adolf Zubia

Zubia launched his campaign over the weekend – he was introduced by Las Cruces-born boxer Austin Trout – and said his public service record and management experience would distinguish him from other candidates.

The son of Mexican immigrants, Zubia said he would focus on immigration, education and health care if elected to Congress.

“We need to have immigration reform, period,” Zubia told the Journal.

On the Republican side, Newman said in announcing his campaign earlier this week that Congress has a “courage problem.”

“The federal government has been broken and bloated far too long, and the people we send to Congress must have the guts to fix it,” he said.

Second congressional district candidate Monty Newman

Newman, who runs a real estate company, also called on Congress to stand up to the “liberal special interests” and “media elites” that, he claimed, oppose changing the federal health care law and securing the nation’s borders.

Those have both been priorities of President Donald Trump, who took office in January.

In addition to serving as state Republican Party chairman, Newman was mayor of Hobbs from 2004 to 2008. He also previously ran for Congress in 2008.

The Republican-leaning 2nd Congressional District seat is currently held by U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, who recently announced he will run for governor in 2018.

The other Republicans who are seeking their party’s nomination for the congressional seat are state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, Carlsbad pharmacist Jack Volpato and state Rep. Yvette Herrell of Alamogordo.

The other Democrats running are Tony Martinez of Las Cruces, David Baake of Las Cruces, Mad Hildebrandt of Socorro and Ronald Fitzherbert of Las Cruces.

Dan Boyd: