Campos to enter House race

CNJ staff

State Democratic Rep. Joe Campos of Santa Rosa said Tuesday he will run for Congress from New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District.

Campos, who represents Curry, Roosevelt and De Baca counties, hopes to fill the seat being vacated by Steve Pearce, who is running for the U.S. Senate.

He plans a formal announcement of his candidacy Friday.

Campos said he has been “mulling over” a decision to run for the congressional seat “for a while.” When Pearce announced he would run for the seat being vacated by the retirement of Sen. Pete Domenici, Campos said he decided the time was right.

“With my experience and my record, I feel I can make a difference for the people of the 2nd District,” Campos said. “We need a congressman who understands city, county and state government and who understands the problems and needs of the rural areas of our state, which many times are overlooked.”

Campos is serving his third two-year term representing District 63 in the New Mexico House.

Campos said his work in the Legislature to promote the growth of business and jobs in his district will be key factors in his campaign, as will his work in support of New Mexico’s military installations and his initiative to create the Renewable Energy Transmission Authority.

Campos sponsored legislation that created the New Mexico Base Retention Commission.

“Fortunately, we had the Base Retention Commission already in place and ready to go when Cannon was put on the closure list,” Campos said.

Campos predicted “a boom” in the Clovis area as Cannon makes the transition from an F-16 fighter wing to a home for a Special Operations wing.

“I’m not sure Clovis realized how big the impact of the new mission will be,” Campos said. “I’m hoping area towns like Fort Sumner and Melrose can take advantage of part of that.”

Heather Wilson has also announced plans to run for Domenici’s seat on the Republican side and Tom Udall is considering a run on the Democratic ticket. Campos said New Mexicans will need congressmen with a strong understanding of the process and who can hit the ground running in Washington.

Campos will meet with De Baca County constituents at 6 p.m. Thursday at Fred’s Restaurant in Fort Sumner to discuss his candidacy, as well as to talk about issues affecting the area as the 2008 session of the New Mexico Legislature approaches.

The De Baca County News contributed to this report.