Rep. Roybal Caballero enters race for CD1 seat

A sixth Democrat has entered a crowded field to replace U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland.

Patricia Roybal Caballero

State Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero of Albuquerque on Wednesday announced she is a candidate for Congressional District 1, should there be a special election to fill Haaland’s seat if she receives Senate approval to lead the Department of the Interior in President Joe Biden’s administration.

Roybal Caballero announced her candidacy on Facebook, saying that she wants to bring her background as a “social justice warrior,” and community and labor organizer to Congress.

“We need a congresswoman who will not just support the Biden administration but stand with the people who are making good trouble and push them to be bold,” she said in her announcement.

She pledged to work on immigration reform, prioritize climate change, support a $15-per-hour minimum wage and health care for all if elected.

Like Haaland, Roybal Caballero is part Native American. Her website says the lineage of her father’s family can be traced to the Piro Manso Tiwa Indian Tribe, Pueblo of San Juan de Guadalupe. Her mother’s side of the family was of Mexican and Spanish ancestry.

“Let’s be clear, the fight for justice takes work, and no one knows that more than women of color,” she said.

Roybal Caballero adds to the field seeking to replace Haaland in the Democratic-leaning district that represents most of Albuquerque.

State Reps. Melanie Stansbury and Georgene Louis, state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, attorney Randi McGinn and Victor Reyes, legislative director for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, are all Democrats who have announced they are running for the seat.

On the Republican side, Eddy Aragon and Michelle Garcia Holmes, who lost to Haaland in the November election, have announced their candidacies. Former state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn is running as an independent candidate.

Haaland, a Democrat, is holding her seat and won’t have to resign until her nomination is approved by the Senate, which would make her the country’s first Native American Cabinet secretary.

If that nomination happens, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver would have to call a special election to fill Haaland’s seat no later than 91 days after it is vacated.

The state’s major political parties would hold central committee meetings behind closed doors to nominate their own candidates before the special election.

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