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President Joe Biden has nominated New Mexico Congresswoman Deb Haaland to serve as secretary of the US Department of Interior. If confirmed by the US Senate, an outcome no longer in dispute, she will be the first Native American to hold a cabinet post and the highest-ranking Native woman ever to serve in the US government.

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But to take on that new role she must resign her seat in Congress, setting off a series of inter-party votes and, ultimately, a special election to fill her seat.

Whomever the parties pick as their final candidates in the special election, the Democrat is highly favored in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans 47%-28% (24% of voters do not affiliate with a party).

How the Special Election Would Work

Once Haaland is confirmed by the US Senate (on March 15th), she would have to resign her seat in Congress to be sworn in as secretary.

Under New Mexico law, the secretary of state must then declare the seat vacant and set a date for a special election between 75 to 90 days from the vacancy.

If Haaland resigns upon confirmation or soon after, the special election would be held in late May or June.

Before the election, political parties must pick their candidate. As of last week, just one Republican had declared. State Senator Mark Moores also announced that he intends to enter the race after the legislature adjourns next weekend. Aubrey Dunn, a perennial independent candidate for various offices, has also announced. But 9 Democrats have declared and that means the Democratic Party must decide who will be on the ballot.

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Under the Democratic and Republican Party rules, each party’s State Central Committee will decide. That group of a few hundred party insiders will hold a special convention (probably virtually) about 30 days after the vacancy is official to hear candidate speeches and cast their votes to determine the party’s nominee.

So who will get the nod? For now, it’s anyone’s guess and unless you are a member of the elite SCC, you won’t get to weigh in.

Here’s Who is Running, So Far

Use the “Campaign Detail” links to visit their webpages to learn more about them.

CandidatePartyCampaign Detail
STANSBURY, MELANIEDEMOCRATIC PARTYMELANIE FOR NEW MEXICO
MCGINN, RANDIDEMOCRATIC PARTYMCGINN FOR NEW MEXICO
REYES, VICTORDEMOCRATIC PARTYVICTOR REYES FOR CONGRESS
LUND, SHERIDAN JOSHUADEMOCRATIC PARTYPEOPLE’S PARTY FOR LUND 2022
ROYBAL CABALLERO, PATRICIADEMOCRATIC PARTYPATRICIA FOR NEW MEXICO
GUERRERO, SELINDADEMOCRATIC PARTYSELINDA – THE PEOPLE FOR CONGRESS
LOUIS, GEORGENEDEMOCRATIC PARTYGEORGENE LOUIS FOR CONGRESS
FERNANDEZ, FRANCISCODEMOCRATIC PARTYFRANCISCO FERNANDEZ FOR NEW MEXICO
SEDILLO LOPEZ, ANTOINETTEDEMOCRATIC PARTYANTOINETTE SEDILLO LOPEZ FOR NEW MEXICO
DUNN, AUBREYNO PARTY AFFILIATIONAUBREY DUNN FOR CONGRESS
ARAGON, EDDYREPUBLICAN PARTYEDDY ARAGON FOR NEW MEXICO
MOORES, MARKREPUBLICAN PARTYNo website yet.
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