SANTA FE – After coming up short in his bid to win the Republican nomination for an open southern New Mexico-based congressional seat, Gavin Clarkson is shifting his gaze to the secretary of state race.
Clarkson, a former Trump administration official who is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation, said Monday that he plans to submit his name to the GOP state central committee for consideration when it meets to select a new secretary of state candidate.
The party’s official nominee for the office, JoHanna Cox, withdrew from the race last week, citing family obligations. Cox has been sued for legal malpractice three times in the past five years.
A former associate professor in New Mexico State University’s College of Business, Clarkson might seem an unlikely choice to be the state’s top elections official.
But in his letter to central committee members, he said his business background would come in handy in running the secretary of state’s Corporations Bureau.
“States have swamps too, and I think I’ve demonstrated the energy, experience, enthusiasm and commitment to really move the ball in the right direction at the state level in Santa Fe,” Clarkson told the Journal.
Clarkson came in third in a four-way GOP primary for the congressional seat currently held by Steve Pearce, receiving about 12.4 percent of the more than 32,000 votes cast in the race.
He took a leave of absence from his NMSU job to serve in the Trump administration in the Interior Department and later launched his campaign for Congress. But Clarkson recently filed a lawsuit against the university after NMSU canceled his leave of absence and fired him.
OFFICIAL RESULTS: New Mexico’s primary election results are expected to be made official next week.
The state’s Canvassing Board, which includes the governor, secretary of state and chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court, are scheduled to meet next Tuesday to certify the results.
Based on unofficial returns, a total of 262,533 voters cast ballots in the June 5 primary election. That represents about 27.6 percent of those who were eligible to vote.
Meanwhile, two contested primary races – a House District 27 race between two Democrats and a three-way Republican contest for a Public Regulation Commission seat – appear headed for automatic recounts under a state law that applies to races where the margin of victory is less than 1 percentage point.
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