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First GOP candidate enters 2020 Senate race

Former Trump Administration official Gavin Clarkson announced Tuesday he is running in 2020 for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Tom Udall.

Gavin Clarkson

Gavin Clarkson

Clarkson – who lost bids for the 2nd Congressional District seat and New Mexico Secretary of State in 2018 – is the first Republican to enter the race.

“I want to be a champion for those whose voices are not heard in the halls of Congress – for the legal immigrants, like my wife, who followed the rules, for the victims of illegal immigrant crime, for the struggling farmers and ranchers in our rural areas, particularly those living along our unprotected border, and for those who are economically disempowered due to federal regulations and corporate welfare schemes that benefit establishment lobbyists at the expense of entrepreneurs and small businesses,” Clarkson said in a news release.

Clarkson was an associate professor in New Mexico State University’s College of Business. He took a leave of absence to serve in the Trump administration in the Interior Department and later launched his campaign for Congress. He filed a lawsuit against the university alleging wrongful termination and discrimination.

Clarkson had also been considering another run for the 2nd Congressional District seat. He lost to Yvette Herrell in the Republican primary during his previous bid. He was a replacement GOP nominee during his bid for Secretary of State. He lost the general election to Democrat Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján is the only announced Democrat in the race. Toulouse Oliver is expected to make a decision about running later this month.

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