Gavin Clarkson running for U.S. Senate
Gavin Clarkson has announced he is running for U.S. Senate. He visited Farmington on Monday prior to making his announcement. Farmington Daily Times
Race for Sen. Udall's seat draws first Republican challenger
LAS CRUCES - Gavin Clarkson, the 2018 Republican candidate for New Mexico Secretary of State, announced Tuesday morning he would seek New Mexico's open U.S. Senate seat in 2020.
Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., announced in March that he would not seek a third term.
Clarkson is a Las Cruces resident and a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma who worked in the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2017. He came in third in a four-way race for the Republican nomination for the Second Congressional District seat in 2018. Afterward he became the Republican nominee for Secretary of State.
Since his 2017 federal appointment, Clarkson has been on a leave of absence as a business law professor at New Mexico State University. In 2018, Clarkson sued the university for rescinding his leave and moving to terminate him.
At a Monday Tax Day rally in Farmington, Clarkson previewed his announcement, telling the gathering, "If you're going to run statewide for a federal office, you've got to run statewide,” while claiming immigration and asylum laws are being abused at the southern border and vowing to promote economic growth.
Clarkson is the first Republican to declare his candidacy for the Senate seat.
Among Democrats, the first candidate to announce a run for the seat is U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M, who will give up his position as the fourth-ranking Democratic leader in the House to run for the Senate.
'Put New Mexico back on the map'
In a statement, Clarkson recalled a 2018 incident in which he was obligated to explain that New Mexico is a state while seeking a marriage license in the nation's capital, and vowed to "put New Mexico back on the map in Washington, DC."
He also promised to visit each of New Mexico's 33 counties annually while serving in the Senate, "to hear from real people in the real world as often as possible."
While speaking in Farmington, he said he already has two pieces of legislation he wants to introduce: a tax plan he said would create a $2 billion stimulus for New Mexico without raising taxes, and one that eliminates telework requirements for federal workers.
During the rally, Clarkson spoke about undocumented immigrants crossing the border in the southern part of the state and expressed support for Trump's policies.
He said immigrants should be funneled toward the ports of entry so they can legally enter the country.
He said his platform will be economic expansion, empowerment and enforcement.
In terms of expansion, Clarkson said he wants to reduce regulations that make it hard for businesses in New Mexico.
When it comes to empowerment, he said he wants to empower young women so they do not seek abortions.
In terms of enforcement, Clarkson said he wants better enforcement of immigration policies at the border. He said he is not anti-immigrant, highlighting that his wife is an immigrant who came to the United States legally.
During the rally he spoke out against asylum fraud.
“I do not fault people for wanting to come here because they want to earn money to take care of their family,” he said during the rally. “Every parent wants to do that. But you don't have to commit asylum fraud to do that.”
Algernon D'Ammassa can be reached at 575-541-5451, email@example.com or @AlgernonActor on Twitter. Hannah Grover covers government for The (Farmington) Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.