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Ex-Secretary of State Vigil may seek to return to post

SANTA FE – Former Secretary of State Rebecca D. Vigil is weighing a run for her old job, saying this week that she still feels she has widespread voter support despite having faced a slew of criminal charges after leaving office.

Vigil, a Democrat who served three previous terms as secretary of state, said she has been busy collecting signatures from voters in a bid to qualify as a candidate.

Official filing day for candidates for state office is next week, and Vigil will have to collect at least 5,015 signatures from registered voters around New Mexico to ensure she gets her name on the ballot.

“I have a base that has always supported me,” Vigil told the Journal.

Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a fellow Democrat, announced her campaign for secretary of state earlier this month, but Vigil said she’s not daunted by the prospect of a potential primary election showdown.

“I’m not running against Maggie,” she said. “I’m running to secure the position again.”

On the Republican side, state Rep. Nora Espinoza of Roswell said this week that she is also weighing a bid for the $85,000-a-year post.

Vigil, who previously went by the name Rebecca Vigil-Giron, served one term as secretary of state in the late 1980s and then returned for two more terms, from 1999 through 2006.

She faced charges after leaving office that included fraud, money laundering and embezzlement, in connection with the awarding of $6 million in federal contracts for voter education efforts.

The case was dismissed by a district judge in 2012 because it hadn’t gone to trial after more than three years and the judge ruled her right to a speedy trial had been violated. The state Court of Appeals subsequently affirmed the judge’s decision.

Vigil also applied for the secretary of state job last fall after Dianna Duran resigned from office and pleaded guilty to felony charges of misusing campaign contributions to pay for a gambling habit, but Gov. Susana Martinez ultimately picked Brad Winter for the job.

Winter, a Republican, has said he intends to hold the position through this year’s election but will not run for the post.

Whoever is elected in November will serve out the two years left on the four-year term Duran was elected to in 2014. No other statewide offices are on the New Mexico ballot this year.


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