GOP’s Gonzales running for Udall’s seat

By Deborah Baker
Santa Fe, New Mexico (AP)

Santa Fe lawyer Marco Gonzales, a Republican, formally announced during January he will run for the U.S. House seat from northern New Mexico.

Gonzales, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., cited his experience and his commitment to bipartisanship.

“We need a new generation of leadership that recognizes the system is broken and wants to fix it by working with each other,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales is the first Republican to jump in the race in the heavily Democratic 3rd District, which is represented by Democratic Rep. Tom Udall. The Democrats’ field already is crowded.

Udall is leaving the seat he has held since 1999 to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Domenici. New Mexico’s two other members of Congress – Republicans Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce – also are leaving the House to run for Domenici’s seat.

Gonzales, 40, has practiced law for 10 years and is a partner in the Modrall Sperling law firm.

He said he supports “the people’s agenda” and would work on behalf of uninsured children, people with disabilities and mental illness, and affordable energy policies that include clean and renewable fuels.

He also said he would fight to expand the mission of Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is a big economic force in northern New Mexico.

Except for a brief interlude a decade ago when a Republican won a special election, the seat has belonged to Democrats. Bill Richardson, now the governor, was elected to it in 1982 – just after the seat was created – and held it for 15 years.

But Gonzales was upbeat about the campaign ahead.

“I think this is going to be a competitive race,” he said in an interview.

Gonzales graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and got his law degree at Georgetown University.

On the Democratic side, lawyer Jon Adams, Public Regulation Commissioner Ben Ray Lujan, Santa Fe County Commissioner Harry Montoya, former state Indian Affairs Secretary Benny Shendo and developer Don Wiviott are seeking the nomination.