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Townsend to seek re-election in 2020

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New Mexico House Minority Leader James Townsend, R-Artesia, sits at a table during the Roswell Chamber of Commerce Legislative Lunch and Learn April 11. Townsend said last Wednesday he plans to run for re-election for his House District 54 seat in 2020 and is optimistic about the chances for House Republicans to regain some of the seats they lost in 2018. (File Photo)

The top Republican in the New Mexico House of Representatives will run for re-election in 2020.

“Yes, I am running,” state Rep. James Townsend, R-Artesia, said in an interview last Wednesday, when asked about whether he plans to run for a fourth two-year term for his House District 54 seat.

The District is composed of southern Chaves County, Eddy County and part of Otero County.

A member of the Board of Directors of Holly Energy Partners, Townsend was first elected in 2014. He was elected House Minority leader last year ahead of the 2019 legislative session.

Townsend now has $19,740.70 in his campaign account, according to the latest campaign fundraising reports filed with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office April 8.

The decision to seek re-election comes after a legislative session where Democrats — bolstered by the election of Michelle Lujan Grisham as governor in 2018 and an eight seat gain in the House — enacted a slew of progressive legislation, over the opposition of Townsend.

“I don’t like quitting just because it might be tough and I think we have a great opportunity to win many seats back in the next election cycle,” he said.

Townsend said he believes House Democrats overreached in the last legislative session, citing increases in recurring spending and the passage of legislation that increases some taxes, despite the state’s record surplus.

“Many New Mexicans of both parties believe the the progressives hurt New Mexico (in) the past session,” he said.

Townsend added he thinks House Republicans will stress fiscal responsibility and jobs when they hit the campaign trail next year.

Last year, Townsend was unopposed in his bid for re-election. Democrat Jennifer Gose of Cloudcroft announced in March that she will run in 2020 for the House District 54 seat.

No other individuals have yet publicly expressed an interest in making a bid for the seat.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.