Top-ranking New Mexico Republicans rolled out the red carpet for Andy Nuñez on Tuesday, after the former six-term Hatch lawmaker officially changed his party affiliation to the GOP.
“We welcome Andy Nuñez as a member of the Republican Party and appreciate that he has been a longtime conservative leader in New Mexico,” state Republican Party Chairman John Billingsley said in a statement.
After serving as a Democrat for his first 10 years in the Legislature, Nuñez previously changed his affiliation to independent in 2011 after breaking with House Democratic leadership. He was subsequently defeated in his re-election bid last year.
Nuñez told reporters Tuesday that he now believes his agriculture background and pro-business views make him better-suited to be a Republican. As a GOP candidate, he’s planning on a 2014 run for his old House seat.
Although a political committee run by Gov. Susana Martinez’s political adviser targeted Nuñez during last year’s election cycle, the Republican governor welcomed Nuñez’s return to the political arena Tuesday without a hint of bad blood.