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Ten candidates have thrown their hats in the ring for Bernalillo County district attorney, including longtime defense attorney Sam Bregman, former U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez and three current deputy prosecutors in the DA’s office.
All 10 submitted applications to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to replace outgoing 2nd Judicial District Attorney Raúl Torrez, who will take office Jan. 1 as New Mexico attorney general.
Lujan Grisham must appoint someone to fill out the remaining two years of Torrez’s term.
Nora Meyers Sackett, the governor’s spokeswoman, provided the list of applicants late Friday – the deadline for submitting applications.
The three current members of the DA’s staff who applied are: John Duran, deputy district attorney for the major crimes division; Diana Garcia, deputy district attorney in the juvenile division; and Joshua Boone, deputy district attorney for the metropolitan division.
Bregman, a prominent Albuquerque defense attorney, is a former Albuquerque city councilor and a former state Democratic Party chairman.
Martinez served as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico from 2014 to 2017 and now serves as the Albuquerque Police Department’s chief policy adviser.
Others who submitted applications for the DA post are:
⋄ Evan Cochnar is an attorney at the New Mexico General Services Department, risk management division. He previously served as a prosecutor in the 2nd and 11th Judicial Districts.
⋄ Joseph Gandert, an Albuquerque attorney.
⋄ Edmund Perea, a retired Albuquerque police officer who ran for Bernalillo County district attorney in 2016, losing to Torres in the Democratic primary.
⋄ Ashley Schweizer, an assistant attorney general.
⋄ Joseph Gribble, an Albuquerque attorney.
A group of 49 trial attorneys in the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office signed a letter in November asking Lujan Grisham to appoint one of the three deputy DA’s as Torrez’s successor, saying the community needs “a District Attorney that can hit the ground running.”
The letter of recommendation came under attack by former Albuquerque city councilor Pete Dinelli, who wrote in his blog that the trial attorneys who signed the letter were engaging in “prohibited political activities while on the job.”
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly listed Evan Cochnar’s current job.