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Chávez is running for Congress; Denish isn’t

Diane Denish (left, photo by Heath Haussamen) and Martin Chávez (right, courtesy photo)

Former Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez is running for the 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by Martin Heinrich; meanwhile, former Lt. Gov. Diane Denish has decided against running.

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.


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“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.

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7 comments so far. Scroll down to submit your own comment.

  1. It has been with much disappointment to see Marty Chavez “attempting” to collect support for a Congressional Run. Mr. Chavez is part of the “old NM guard” that continues, and was ripe, with corruption. The “NM guard” are not too different from the “Tea Party” as they are self-serving individuals, not unlike spoiled children who lack an ability to see value in negotiation to achieve positives for the people. It would be most interesting to see and hear about those who have drafted him to pursue this direction.

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment and make an inquiry.

  2. Being from Abq, I would never vote for Chavez. Like Garciam and others here, it’s time for new faces, ideas and ethics.

  3. JerryLee’s right in that Marty will do better than some might think as memory fades. Too bad about Dianne. She would have added a good/viable option and made the race more interesting. So, I guess we’ll have to see if our Republican options are as limited and disappointing. Alternatives are generally a good thing and we’re apparently not going to have that many. I hope this doesn’t turn out to be one of those races where you just want to vote no…

  4. A Griego/Chavez primary will offer choices, and time wounds all heals. This will give Heath and Monohand something to chat about … and only 11 months to the primary in June

  5. I wonder if “Mayor Marty” will use that photo of him wearing his short-shorts while jogging with Clinton from back in the day? All 5’3 of him! Marty needs to stick to working for programs that no one in NM knows about. He’s a bit old to be a freshman congressman who will have no power for several years, and he really wants to represent a district that voted him out as mayor to elect a nobody that we had never even heard of? That doesn’t say much for mayor marty’s electibility! Hopefully the big dogs will smack him down and tell him to drop out of the race, the way they did when he “ran” for Senate a few years ago, for what was it? Three weeks? Thankfully we got Udall out of that one instead of mayor marty and his short-shorts!

  6. I agree, time for some new faces.

  7. Chavez is delusional if he thinks that the citizens of Albuquerque will forget how “dysfunctional” he made the City of Albuquerque. He state that the federal gov’t “doesn’t work,” well Mr. Chavez, I say you don’t work. We need new fresh ideas in Congress, not the same insiders.

    Good luck (He’ll really need it)

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