The Republican Party of New Mexico on Wednesday announced three more hopefuls who are interested in seeking the GOP nomination for the 1st Congressional District if Rep. Deb Haaland is confirmed as U.S. Interior Department secretary.

That brings the Republicans’ total to six.

They are Peggy Muller-Aragón, a retired Albuquerque Public Schools teacher who is now a member of the school board; Jared Vander Dussen, an attorney who finished second in a three-way race for the seat in the June primary election; and Ronnie Lucero, a 49-year-old New Mexico native who works as a finance manager at a Duke City car dealership.

“What I’m really concerned about is oil and gas in the state of New Mexico with a potential fracking ban,” Lucero said in a telephone interview Wednesday night.

“I’m not seeing any Democrats fight for the state of New Mexico and the economy and the constituents here,” he added. “When it comes to something like this, it’s more about siding with a party, and that type of politics has to stop because at the end of the day, the people need to be represented.”

Muller-Aragón did not return a message seeking comment.

In an email, Vander Dussen, 27, wrote that New Mexico would benefit from a young representative who “has our state’s interests at heart.”

“I am not afraid to challenge my own views and listen to the other side, because when we take into account the views contrary to our own we come up with better solutions to New Mexico’s problems,” he wrote.

Vander Dussen and the other two new contenders join Albuquerque radio personality Eddy Aragon; bookkeeper Michaela Chavez; and Michelle Garcia Holmes, who ran unsuccessfully against Haaland in the November general election.

The Republican hopefuls join a list of Democrats who have announced their wish to represent the 1st District.

Democrats include state Rep. Georgene Louis; Albuquerque attorney Randi McGinn; state Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero; state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez; state Rep. Melanie Stansbury; and Victor Reyes, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s legislative director.

The field of would-be candidates could grow. “There is no deadline for submitting names until a vacancy is announced,” the Republican Party of New Mexico wrote in a news release.

The 134 members of the Republican State Central Committee will choose the nominee for a special election if Haaland is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @daniel


(1) comment

John McDivitt

Any word from the Libertarians?

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