Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
She’s still in Congress and will first have to resign, but already a dozen Republicans and Democrats and an independent have announced their bids to replace U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland.
Haaland has been nominated by President Joe Biden to be the next secretary of the interior. She will have to resign her seat representing the 1st Congressional District in the House of Representatives if she is confirmed by the Senate. That would trigger a special election that has attracted a half-dozen Democrats. Meanwhile, an equal number of Republicans are trying to flip the seat that their party hasn’t held for more than 10 years.
The New Mexico Republican Party on Wednesday issued a news release identifying candidates for the seat. Some of them haven’t been previously identified as candidates, and party officials said any others interested in making a run should email the party’s executive director in New Mexico.
The Republicans who have so far announced their candidacies:
⋄ Eddy Aragon, CEO of the Rock of Talk radio station;
⋄ Peggy Muller-Aragon, an Albuquerque Public Schools board member;
⋄ Michaela Chavez, an Albuquerque bookkeeper who recently ran for state Senate and lost to Democrat Bill O’Neill;
⋄ Michelle Garcia Holmes, who lost the CD1 race to Haaland in November;
⋄ Ronnie Lucero, who is involved with the Lexit Strike Force, a group that rallies for conservative Latino voters; and
⋄ Jared Vander Dussen, a candidate who lost in the Republican primary last year to Garcia Holmes.
A Republican hasn’t held the seat, which represents most of Albuquerque and Torrance County, since Heather Wilson in 2009. Haaland won 58% of the vote on her way to getting reelected in November.
State Reps. Melanie Stansbury, Georgene Louis and Patricia Roybal Caballero, state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, attorney Randi McGinn and Victor Reyes, legislative director for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, are all Democrats who have announced their candidacies.
Former state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn is running as an independent candidate.
The state’s major political parties would hold central committee meetings behind closed doors to nominate their own candidates before the special election.