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UNM law school grad enters U.S. House race

University of New Mexico law school graduate Jared Vander Dussen is the latest Republican to enter the 1st Congressional District race hoping to challenge Democratic incumbent Deb Haaland in 2020.

Jared Vander Dussen

Vander Dussen, 26, announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination Tuesday. He joins former New Mexico Attorney General chief of staff Michelle Garcia Holmes and Brett Kokinadis in the GOP field. Haaland is being challenged by at least one Democrat — Cameron Chick — in her bid for reelection to a second term.

“I look around New Mexico and see hardworking families struggling to make ends meet,” Vander Dussen said. “From skyrocketing health care costs to limited opportunities for high paying, quality jobs, New Mexicans need life to be a little bit easier. In Congress, I will be a champion for our middle class and every New Mexican who seeks something better. We need to see a middle-income tax cut, slash health care costs for all while keeping quality care readily accessible and restore integrity to the American political discourse.”

A native of Clovis, Vander Dussen grew up on his family’s dairy farm. He was admitted to the New Mexico State Bar earlier this year. He promises to be a “bridge builder — someone New Mexicans can trust to bring everyone to the table to find commonsense solutions that work for all.”

“I have decided to run for Congress because our current representative, Deb Haaland, has failed to reach across party lines and focus on what matters — the people,” he said. “With so much at stake, we can’t afford radical politicians who can’t see the value of working together.”

Haaland held a large fundraising advantage over Kokinadis and Chick 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. Garcia Holmes announced her candidacy after the end of the quarter, which ended on Sept. 30.

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