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Ex-legislator becomes Republican for NM House bid

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Former state Rep. Andy Nunez of Hatch plans to run for his former legislative seat in southern New Mexico but this time as a Republican.

Nunez said Tuesday he’s changed his party affiliation to the GOP after being an independent since 2011. He switched from being a Democrat after losing the chairmanship of the House agriculture committee.

Nunez sponsored legislation backed by GOP Gov. Susana Martinez to stop the state from issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants living illegally in the country.

The 77-year-old Nunez served 12 years in the House but lost in 2012. Democrat Phillip Archuleta of Las Cruces won a three-way general election race.

Nunez said he became a Republican because he’s always been conservative. His wife is a Republican.

Democrats hold a 38-32 advantage in the House.