Manuel "Manny" Lardizabal announced his candidacy Tuesday for the Albuquerque state Senate seat held by Sen. Jacob Candelaria.

Lardizabal, a Republican, said he has owned a small business in Albuquerque since 2004 and has 11 years of experience working with the New Mexico Department of Corrections and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. 

"I want to bring back the value and purpose to the people of New Mexico where we are not just surviving, but thriving," Lardizabal said in a statement.

The announcement suggests this year will mark the first time Candelaria, a Democrat, will have a challenger in the general election, as he has run unopposed in the general twice since he was elected in 2012. 

Candelaria sponsored a number of bills that passed the Legislature this year, including a measure to impose an additional fee on pet food that would fund the dog and cat spay and neuter assistance program. Last year, he co-sponsored the landmark and controversial Energy Transition Act. 

Lardizabal said he would kick off his campaign Sunday.

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Jens Gould covers politics for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He was a correspondent for Bloomberg News in Mexico City, a regular contributor for TIME in California, and produced the video series Bravery Tapes.

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