A field of 2nd Congressional District candidates is quickly taking shape with another Las Cruces Democrat announcing his intention to run for Congress next year.
Tony Martinez, 58, will officially launch his congressional campaign at a public event at 10 a.m. today at a church hall in San Miguel.
Martinez said in a news release that the outcome of the 2016 elections compelled him to find a way to stand against President Donald Trump.
“I’ve never run for any office before, but I believe my experience as a soldier and as a manager taught me the realities of problem-solving,” Martinez said. “Also, southern New Mexico is home for me. Generations of my family farmed here and raised their families here and educated their children in schools here.”
Martinez’s announcement follows Las Cruces Democrat David Baake’s declaration Thursday that he will run for the congressional seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-Hobbs.
Martinez said he’s frustrated with Pearce’s positions on issues affecting his constituents. It remains unclear if Pearce will seek an eighth two-year term in Congress, run for governor or pursue some other endeavor.
Martinez grew up in the neighboring villages of San Miguel and Mesquite. He returned to southern New Mexico a few years ago after careers in the military and in private industry. The graduate of Gadsden High School and New Mexico State University served in Kuwait during Iraqi Freedom.
In January, Martinez co-founded an activist group of like-minded progressives affiliated with the national Indivisible movement. They combined with a second group to become WE’RE IN: Las Cruces Indivisible, which has some 200 members.
Martinez said in upcoming months he will crisscross the congressional district, listening to people’s concerns and looking for workable solutions to their problems.
So far, Baake and Martinez are the only two Democrats who have announced campaigns for the 2nd Congressional District.
Baake graduated from Harvard Law School in 2014, spent a year with the Natural Resources Defense Council, and also spent time as an attorney in the federal judiciary.
No Republican has yet announced an intent to run for the 2nd Congressional District, which spans the southern half of the state. Pearce is currently the only Republican among New Mexico’s five-member congressional delegation.
State Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, has told the Daily Record he is considering running for Congress. Pirtle said he would make a decision about a congressional bid by Aug. 1. The Republican and Democratic primaries are June 5.
“Currently, I am exploring what is best for New Mexico and for my family and soon-to-be three young children,” Pirtle said Friday.
Pirtle said he would not run for Congress if Pearce seeks re-election.
“We’ve got to see how everything else shakes out,” said Pirtle, who was elected to a second four-year term in the New Mexico Senate in 2016. “If he decides to stay, then I’m going to stay where I’m at for sure.”
The 2nd Congressional District includes all of Chaves, Catron, Cibola, De Baca, Doña Ana, Eddy, Grant, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Lea, Lincoln, Luna, Otero, Sierra and Socorro counties, and portions of Bernalillo, McKinley, Roosevelt and Valencia counties.
Interim editor Jeff Tucker can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 303, or at email@example.com.