The Republican Party of New Mexico on Saturday selected Mark Moores to run in the special election for the 1st Congressional District seat vacated by U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

Moores, a state senator who has represented Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights since 2013, received 49 of 121 votes cast by the district’s central committee. Eddy Aragon, a talk radio host, finished second with 34 votes, and Elisa Martinez finished third with 20 votes.

Moores said he had already been looking ahead to the June 1 special election.

“We’re doing our TV commercials tomorrow. We don’t have time to wait. Absentee ballots go out in six weeks. I am a proven leader, and I’ve gotten our team organized,” Moores said before the vote. “We’re going to do this. We’re going to win. We’re going to beat [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi.”

Moores, who played football at the University of New Mexico, said his campaign has raised $250,000 from oil and gas companies and personal friends. He also touted endorsements from the National Rifle Association and anti-abortion groups. He started his political career as a staff member for U.S. Rep. Steve Schiff in the 1990s and as chief of staff for former Lt. Gov. Walter Bradley, who worked under Gov. Gary Johnson from 1995 to 2003.

Moores will be considered an underdog as he tries to reverse a blue trend in the district around Albuquerque, which has been dominated by Democrats since 2009, including current U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich; Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham; and Haaland, who won reelection in November with over 59 percent of the votes cast. Democrats hold a 219-211 majority in the House.

Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce and Moores said they plan to campaign as champions of the oil and gas industry as well as of police. In January, President Joe Biden suspended new drilling permits on federal land, including more than half of all oil and gas wells in New Mexico, and last month, Lujan Grisham wrote the White House a letter warning the policy would hurt state revenue.

“New Mexico has really suffered a lot because of the Biden administration ban on oil and gas drilling. We need those resources,” Moores said. “The radical agenda of the defund-the-police effort has really scared a lot of people, so we’re really going to be talking about that.”

During a news conference following the vote, Moores dodged questions about whether he supported the most recent federal stimulus package or if he would have voted to certify November’s presidential election results.

“I was focused here in Santa Fe fighting for my district,” Moores said. “I’m going to move forward as we battle for this election and we talk about the issues that matter here in New Mexico.”

(13) comments

zach miller

completely unsurprising the type of person they choose to run, yet does not represent the type of person living in New Mexico's first. Should have ran a Native, but I guess there isn't too many on the GOP side of NM politics. wonder why..

Patrick Brockwell

He has two strikes against him. The Republican Party is anti-Democracy, and he looks like Ted Cruz.

Joshua Rosen

Mark voted for HB 255 (which was orchestrated by MLG) which will affect past and present liquor license holders in negative and positive ways during COVID; who have basically been closed under the Governor's mandates. One might wonder who he really will support in New Mexico if elected.

Richard Reinders

It doesn't matter who proposed the bill , if it is good bill , we have to stop think anything the other side of the isle does is wrong and do what helps NM and the people.

Jerry Appel

The most useful part of this story besides announcing the name of the Republican candidate, is Mr. Moores lack of answers on the latest stimulus package and the certification of the presidential vote. It will be interesting to see if the press pushes these questions on the Republican and Libertarian candidates not to mention their positions on the insurrection. Considering Party Chairman Pearce's denials, it would be instructive to see if Moores concurs or conflicts.

Richard Reinders

He is taking his ques from Bidens press conference the other da,y but Moore can't pepper the press with the questions he wants asked of him like Biden did or have a list with pictures of who to call and who not to to match up with the pre written responses.

John McDivitt

The Libertarians selected their nominee yesterday as well... Chris Manning.

Lupe Molina

Who thinks he actually won? We all know how Republicans don't care for elections anymore and want to change results.

paul pacheco

New Mexico will remain LAST in all the good things and FIRST in all the bad things as long as liberal democrats continue to brainwash citizens that they are the party of what was once, the party of the good and sensible! As the saying goes, “I will eat my hat if this guy wins that seat!”

Bill Dunning

Okay, who is the Democratic Party candidate for District 1?

zach miller

Does it matter who they pick, since they will just say they won the election regardless of actual results?

Richard Reinders

[thumbdown]

Maria Bautista

It matters, should be Antoinette Sedillo Lopez.

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