Politics

Latina runs in GOP for U.S. Senate

Elisa Martinez, member of Navajo Nation, to run against Democrat Rep. Ben Ray Lujan

By Michael Gerstein
mgerstein@sfnewmexican.com
Posted 11/21/19
A Latina New Mexico anti-abortion advocate and member of the Navajo Nation announced Wednesday that she is running for U.S. Senate as a Republican.

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Politics

Latina runs in GOP for U.S. Senate

Elisa Martinez, member of Navajo Nation, to run against Democrat Rep. Ben Ray Lujan

Posted

A Latina New Mexico anti-abortion advocate and member of the Navajo Nation announced Wednesday that she is running for U.S. Senate as a Republican.

Elisa Martinez, founder of New Mexico Alliance for Life, announced her bid for Senate in a news release.

She is seeking the seat held by Sen. Tom Udall, who will retire at the end of next year when his term concludes. U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat, is also seeking that seat.

Martinez grew up in Gallup. Her campaign did not respond to emails seeking an interview.

"The only time in the last decade NM Republicans were successful in a statewide election was with a Latina woman at the top of the ticket," her campaign said.

Martinez will advocate for "traditional New Mexican issues in a way that reaches across party lines," according to her campaign, which planned a public announcement Wednesday at Hotel Chaco in Albuquerque.

In a quote posted on Martinez's campaign website, the Senate candidate credits an "incredibly strong economy" to President Donald Trump's "tax cuts and deregulation of business," and says she supports further tax cuts.

"That's what will help all of America's families and that is one of the biggest reasons I am considering running for U.S. Senate in New Mexico," she said.

Martinez would have to beat two other Republican candidates in a U.S. Senate primary: Choctaw Nation member Gavin Clarkson and commercial contractor Mick Rich, who lost a previous Senate bid in 2018.

According to Clarkson's website, the conservative candidate and former Department of Interior official would like to advocate for legal immigrants "who followed the rules to become a citizen ... for the victims of illegal immigrant crime ... [and] those who are economically disempowered due to federal regulations and corporate welfare schemes that benefit establishment lobbyists at the expense of entrepreneurs and small businesses."

Rich also supports strengthening border security, allowing immigration "based only on merit," improving New Mexico's economy and fighting abortion, according to his website.

Prior to Udall, Pete Domenici, a Republican, served in the U.S. Senate for 36 years -- from 1973 to 2009.

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