Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's legislative director announced he is running for the 1st Congressional District, a seat that will open if the U.S. Senate confirms incumbent Congresswoman Deb Haaland, who has been nominated for interior secretary by President-elect Joe Biden.
"I don't have to tell you that the events this week have made it clear that it really matters who represents us in Washington," Victor Reyes wrote on Twitter.
"It's critical that we continue to have a real progressive leader fighting for us. Today, I'm proud to announce my campaign for Congress," he wrote.
Reyes, 28, joins a growing list of Democrats who have announced their intention to seek the Democratic nomination in the 1st District. Other Democrats in the race include state Rep. Georgene Louis, Albuquerque attorney Randi McGinn, state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez and state Rep. Melanie Stansbury.
Reyes, who is originally from El Paso but has spent most of his adult life in Albuquerque, said working as the governor's legislative director doesn't put him at the front of the line.
"I consider the governor to be a mentor of mine and someone who I have the immense respect for, but that being said, I knew getting into this campaign that I was going to have to earn the support of every single voter, every single elected official, every single party activist, every single party leader, every single community leader in the district and in this state, and I'm really excited to have those conversations," he said in a telephone interview.
Reyes said over the next two weeks he will continue to help prepare the governor and her administration for the 60-day legislative session, which begins Jan. 19.
"I'll be devoting my full attention to the campaign at that point," he said.
Reyes released a 1½-minute campaign ad in which he said he would be a voice for people who feel "they don't have the words or the power themselves."
"That's what being a representative in Congress should be all about," he says in the ad. "Listening to people and being their voice. That's what I've done my whole life."
Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @danieljchacon.