Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes announced Friday that she’s running in 2020 for the 1st Congressional District seat held by Democrat Deb Haaland.
Garcia Holmes, who was the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in 2018, said New Mexico “is currently being kept down by ideological boundaries – the types of ideas which will ultimately cost us our God-given rights, our culture, our unique identity, and most importantly our freedom.”
“Our present leadership holding this office, Congresswoman Deb Haaland, supports a hard-line party agenda which serves only the needs of politicians,” she said in a release. “New Mexico families, veterans, seniors and business owners expect their congress-person to listen to their needs and provide answers. I will listen, bring people together and get us moving in the right direction.”
Garcia Holmes is the second announced Republican in the race for the seat that represents most of the Albuquerque metro. Brett Kokinadis switched from the 3rd Congressional District race with hopes of challenging Haaland in the general election. Haaland is being challenged by at least one Democrat – Cameron Chick – in her bid for reelection to a second term.
Garcia Holmes cites 30 years experience as a commissioned law enforcement officer and served as chief of staff for former Attorney General Gary King. She was also a candidate for mayor in Albuquerque in 2017.
“Most run for office because they want power, or to push a party agenda,” she said. “I believe it’s important to serve the people of New Mexico and I’ve proven that repeatedly over my thirty-year career of protecting our citizens.”
Garcia Holmes said she spent her career as a detective investigating violent crimes, specifically those committed against women and children.
As chief of staff for the Attorney General’s Office, Garcia Holmes said she oversaw projects providing outreach and education to rural and tribal communities. She said she worked across cultural backgrounds to educate New Mexicans on the dangers of methamphetamine and prescription drugs. Garcia Holmes said she also worked on collaborative efforts to fight government corruption, starting the state’s first Government Accountability Division.
“I am emboldened by what I see in our state every day because of what’s happening at a national level,” Garcia Holmes said. “A large portion of my district is Hispanic and our Hispanic community is flourishing right now, just like everyone else around the country. Hispanic median income has crossed over the $50,000 per year mark for the first time in history, and Hispanic unemployment is at an all-time record low of 4.2 (%).”
Haaland held a large fundraising advantage over the other two candidates at the end third quarter of 2019 Federal Election Commission filing. She had more than $201,000 cash on hand compared with Kokinadis’ $1,600. Chick did not report any fundraising amount.