A week after saying he wasn’t seeking re-election to the N.M. House because he needed to focus on his law practice, Rep. David Chavez announced this weekend that he’s going to challenge State Sen. Michael Sanchez this year.
“I didn’t seek out this seat,” Chavez, R-Los Lunas, said in a news release. “Many of my constituents, neighbors, friends and leaders from around Valencia County and the state encouraged me to run after I announced I would not seek re-election to the State House.”
Gov. Susana Martinez was instrumental in convincing Chavez to run, NMPolitics.net has learned. She’s been looking for a candidate to take on Sanchez, the Senate majority leader, a Democrat from Belen, and one of her most powerful foes in the Legislature.
In announcing a week ago that he wasn’t seeking re-election, Chavez said, “I have to dedicate myself to my practice and my clients. I am extraordinarily busy and have obligations to my clients.”
But in his news release announcing his Senate run, Chavez said, “we do not have four more years to waste to keep the status quo. It is time that legislators put good public policy before politics and work to make New Mexico a better state.”
Chavez said he and Sanchez have “very different views” and mentioned the governor’s push to repeal the law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. Chavez sides with the governor on that issue; Sanchez does not.
Chavez is among 10 state House members who have decided against seeking re-election next year. He’s among five who are instead seeking Senate seats.
Rep. Thomas Garcia, D-Ocate, could become the 11th to jump ship and the sixth to instead run for Senate. Redistricting put him and Nick Salazar, D-Ohkay Owingeh, in the same district, and Garcia says he’s leaning toward running against Sen. Pete Campos, D-Las Vegas, instead of Salazar for the House seat.
Tuesday is candidate filing day, so we’ll know more then.