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Five Democrats seek Trujillo’s vacant House District 48 seat

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – Five Democrats have filed notarized applications with Santa Fe County to fill the House District 48 seat being vacated by Linda Trujillo, who said earlier this month that she was stepping down due to the financial burden of serving in the unpaid position amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Santa Fe County Commission will hold a special meeting Thursday to select Trujillo’s successor.

The group includes a former county commissioner, a former state Court of Appeals judge, two former legislative aides and an engineer and political consultant.

The county provided only the names of the applicants Monday, saying information on the application materials still needed to be redacted.

The applicants are:

• Paul Campos, a former Santa Fe County commissioner who finished second to Trujillo in the 2016 Democratic primary for the House District 48 seat, getting 32% of the vote compared with Trujillo’s 39% in a three-way race.

An attorney by trade, he told the Journal in 2016 that he led efforts to create the Buckman Rio Grande Diversion project and to ban fracking in Santa Fe County.

He was endorsed by the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club and Conservation Voters of New Mexico.

A native of Santa Rosa, Campos has lived in Santa Fe for nearly 30 years.

• Timothy L. Garcia, an accomplished attorney who served as a district court judge in Santa Fe before being appointed to the state Court of Appeals in 2008. He won election for that position in 2010 and was retained by voters in 2016. He remained on the bench until his retirement in 2018.

A graduate of the University of New Mexico, Garcia was an All-American tennis player for the Lobos and toured professionally before entering law school.

• Tara Lujan is director of human resources at the state Treasurer’s Office.

She has some political experience as former campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján and as a candidate in 2012 when she finished third in a four-way race for Santa Fe County clerk.

She served as a member of the city of Santa Fe’s Ethics and Campaign Review Board and on Democratic Party committees, according to a 2012 Journal article.

Lujan told the Journal then that she had experience working as a surgical technician for a dermatology and skin cancer practice and in retail management. But she also has experience as a legislative analyst.

• Frances Salas, a onetime candidate for New Mexico governor, is now owner and CEO of Salas Farms, according to her LinkedIn page. A former teacher with Santa Fe Public Schools, her profile indicates she is now a teacher with Central Consolidated Schools on the Navajo Nation.

According to the Our Campaigns website, Salas was born and raised in Santa Fe and received a degree in business administration and accounting from the College of Santa Fe.

When she ran for governor in 1998, she finished last among seven candidates in the Democratic Party primary.

• Greg Sonnenfeld, an engineering and political consultant, according to his LinkedIn profile. He has headed Sonnenfeld Technical Consulting since 2009. Before that, he was a research scientist for the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

A New Mexico State University graduate, Sonnenfeld also served a fellowship at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and was a paid research assistant at New Mexico State University.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include additional information about some of the applicants.

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