Chávez is running for Congress; Denish isn’t
Chávez, a Democrat, declared his candidacy late Tuesday in an Albuquerque Journal article. The newspaper also referred to a video it said was posted on Chávez’s website, but as of the publication of this article, the video and any announcement of his congressional campaign had not been posted.
From the Journal:
“Chávez said Tuesday that as a House member, he would seek to balance the federal budget while supporting programs such as Medicare and Social Security to protect society’s ‘most vulnerable.’
“‘It really is about the economy and how perilous it is,’ he said. ‘And you can’t have a strong economy unless you balance the budget.’”
Chávez served three terms as Albuquerque’s mayor before losing a three-way race to Richard Berry in 2009. Since then, he’s worked as the director of a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. He was quoted as saying that work has shown him how the federal government operates.
“I have watched the way the federal government works, and, frankly, it doesn’t work,” the Journal quoted Chávez as saying. “This is one of the most dysfunctional places I’ve ever seen.”
Denish: Skills best suited for an executive position
Meanwhile, Denish told NMPolitics.net on Tuesday evening that she’s decided against running for the Albuquerque-area congressional seat.
“I’ve gotten lots of encouragement from people both inside and outside the district,” the Democrat said. “I’ve given it a lot of through and reflection.”
Ultimately, Denish said two things made her decision.
“I’ve always said that I wanted to stay home and work hard in New Mexico, and that’s still true,” she said. “I think my skills are best suited to another kind of position, more of an executive, either an executive in the private sector or in the public sector.”
Denish said she would continue to look for such opportunities in Albuquerque or around New Mexico.
Denish said Chávez called her last week to tell her he was running. His decision to enter the race didn’t influence her decision, she said.
“I feel very confident about my ability to have won a primary and to go on and have faced a very tough general, but ultimately, it’s just not the right time for me,” Denish said.
The status of the race
Chávez joins State Sen. Eric Griego, a former Albuquerque city councilor, in the Democratic primary. Terry Brunner, U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman’s former state director who now heads USDA Rural Development in New Mexico, has told NMPolitics.net that he is also considering running.
The Journal identified Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham, former Sandia Pueblo Gov. Stuart Paisano, and state Treasurer James Lewis as other Democrats who are considering running.
On the Republican side, Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis is the only declared candidate. Former State Rep. and gubernatorial candidate Janice Arnold-Jones has formed an exploratory committee, and Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2010, is considering joining the race.