Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of stories about contested New Mexico races
SANTA FE – Since first being elected to the Legislature in 2012, Republican Rep. Paul Pacheco, a retired police officer, has taken a leading role in pushing criminal penalty bills backed by Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration.
His Democratic opponent in the Nov. 8 general election, Daymon Ely, says he’d have a different focus – on jobs and state revenue levels – if he succeeds in knocking off the two-term incumbent in House District 23, a key battleground district that includes swaths of Albuquerque and Corrales.
“What I tell people is crime is important, but until you address jobs and revenue, you can throw as much money at crime as you want – at some point, you’re going to run out of money and we’re still going to have the crime,” Ely, a legal malpractice attorney and former Sandoval County commissioner, said in a recent interview.
Pacheco, who was also the face of the governor’s proposal to stop issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, narrowly won election to the seat in 2012. He won by just 78 votes over his Democratic challenger in a race that had more than 13,000 votes cast. But he was re-elected by a comfortable margin in 2014, a non-presidential election year.