DA Serna to announce bid for U.S. House seat in Northern New Mexico

Marco Serna

Marco Serna, district attorney for Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Los Alamos counties, will formally launch his campaign for Congress with a speech Thursday at his mother’s jewelry store in Española.

Serna, a Democrat in the third year of his first term as district attorney, is entering an already crowded field in the race to replace six-term U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by retiring Democrat Tom Udall.

In an interview Wednesday, Serna said he wanted to make his announcement at his mother’s store, Alicia Fine Jewelers, to “highlight our community,” as well as call attention to the importance of small businesses.

“My mom has had her store for 33 years,” he said, adding it’s no small feat to run a successful jewelry store in a poor community.

Serna said his announcement will touch on issues including addiction to opiates. “Española is ground zero for opioid epidemic,” he said. He’s advocating early intervention to “keep [addicts] out of jail,” and to “recruit more services to help people out of addiction.”

Another issue Serna said he’ll emphasize is the impeachment of President Donald Trump — which he said he “absolutely” supports. The report by special counsel Robert Mueller lays out a good case for impeachment, Serna said.

Though this will be Serna’s first bid for Congress, he won’t be the first in his family to run for a House seat.

His father, former state Corporation Commissioner Eric Serna, lost to Republican Bill Redmond, a preacher from Los Alamos, in a special election in 1997. Eric Serna ran again in 1998, but lost to Udall in the Democratic primary.

Besides Serna, those running in the Democratic primary for the seat in 2020 are former CIA agent and author Valerie Plame, lawyer Teresa Leger Fernandez, state Rep. Joseph Sanchez, former U.S. Department of Agriculture administrator Rob Apodaca, former Navajo Nation presidential and vice presidential candidate Dineh Benally, Gavin Kaiser of Santa Cruz and Cameron Alton Chick Sr. of Rio Rancho.

The only Republican running so far in the heavily Democratic district is Brett Kokinadis, a former Democrat who founded New Mexico Democrats for Democracy.

After his announcement at 11 a.m. Thursday, Serna plans to visit several towns and cities — including Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Clovis, Las Vegas, Mora, Springer, Raton, Taos, Los Alamos, Chama, Dulce, Shiprock, Farmington and Gallup — over the next four days.