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Surprise Democratic 3rd District candidate knows he’s a long shot

SANTA FE, N.M. — The Democrat who has filed to be a primary challenger to incumbent U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján says he knows “it’s always a long shot” to run against an incumbent.

But Albuquerque Assistant District Attorney Robert Blanch, 51, said today that he’s talked to a lot of people who are ready to vote out all incumbents.

Blanch said he’s already been out knocking on doors and “a lot of constituents feel like most congressmen are just representing the leadership or the lobbyists.” He said he’d vote in Congress the way most of his constituents want.

“I want to represent the people,” said Blanch, whose filing for the 3rd Congressional District seat on Tuesday came as a surprise since he hadn’t made any prior announcement of his candidacy.

Blanch said he’s worked in the Albuquerque District DA’s office for about two years and was a prosecutor in Rio Rancho for about 18 months before that. He’s also worked in private practice in Albuquerque. Before moving to the Duke City, who worked as a lawyer in California’s Silicon Valley, primarily in intellectual property litigation.

Blanch said his experience in Silicon Valley has given him ideas on how to improve “a pretty stagnant economy.” He said the state of the economy is the main reason he’s making his first run for political office. Asked where he’d say he lands on the conservative-to-liberal spectrum, Blanch said he’s “pretty middle of the road.”

Blanch said he lives on Albuquerque’s West Side, in an area that became part of the 3rd District in redistricting after the 2010 census.

Luján, of Nambé, was first elected to represent the district, a Democratic stronghold, in 2008, succeeding now-U.S. Sen. Tom Udall in the House.

Republican rancher Jefferson Byrd of Tucumcari, who Luján beat easily in the 2012 general election, also filed to run for the congressional seat again this year.




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