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Updated: ABQ Sen. Dede Feldman Not Seeking Re-election

After completing her 16th year in the New Mexico Senate, Dede Feldman plans to switch gears.

The Albuquerque Democrat, who chairs the Senate Public Affairs Committee and has become a leading voice on health care and open government issues, announced today she will not run for re-election later this year.

Feldman was first elected to the Senate in 1996. After her term expires at the end of this year, she said she plans to focus on writing and journalism projects while restarting her own communications company.

Meanwhile, two candidates to succeed Feldman had emerged by late this afternoon. One is Rep. Bill O’Neill, D-Albuquerque, who called the opening a “tremendous opportunity and a tremendous challenge.”

The other is Laura Sanchez, an Albuquerque attorney and former executive director of the New Mexico Democratic Party. Sanchez told the Journal she plans to formally announce her campaign next week.

Feldman’s announcement brings the number of state senators not seeking re-election this year to four. Republican Sens. Vernon Asbill of Carlsbad and Clinton Harden of Clovis recently announced they plan to step down at the year’s end. In addition, Sen. Eric Griego, D-Albuquerque, is running for the 1st Congressional District and is also not seeking re-election.

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