Five House Republicans face primary challenges, many from the right

On Tuesday, legislative candidates filed their paperwork to get on the June 7 primary ballot, including five Republicans challenging incumbents for their seats in the Republican primary. 

Many of these candidates are running to the right of the GOP incumbents, such as Piñon Post’s editor and founder John Block, an America-First Republican, who is challenging the incumbent in House District 51 in Alamogordo. The current representative, Rachel Black, was the lone vote against tax relief for small businesses during the pandemic lockdown, voted for the Democrats’ $8.5 billion 2022 budget, voted to raise taxes, along with a laundry list of bad votes.

State Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbert (R-Corrales) faces a primary challenge from Frida Susana Vasquez (Susan Vasquez) of Rio Rancho in House District 44. Powdrell-Culbert was also a Republican who voted for the Democrats’ $8.5 billion budget, which funds around $75 million in recurring spending for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s “free” (taxpayer-funded) college, among other waste, such as around $10 million for components of the “Green New Deal.”

State Rep. Larry Scott (R-Hobbs) faces off against Elaine Sena Cortez, also from Hobbs, who is running on a platform of getting “money and authority back to local communities,” while also focusing on public safety, small business, oil and gas, teachers, and the unborn, according to her website. Scott has been an active voice in the Legislature against enviro-Marxist bills and other bad measures that affect the Oil Patch-area in District 62. 

State Rep. Randall Pettigrew (R-Lovington), a first-term incumbent, is being challenged by Rebecca Jill Jones of Hobbs in House District 61. Pettigrew’s short tenure in the House gives better hope to Jones in her race, but it is unclear at the moment what issues will be key in her campaign.

Conservative Republican Tracy C. DeLaRosa of Roswell is challenging GOP state Rep. Greg Nibert, also of Roswell, for his District 59 seat. DeLaRosa has been a strong advocate against the policies of Joe Biden and Democrats and has been critical of Gov. Lujan Grisham, who was accused and later settled over $150,000 for sexual assault claims. Nibert, an attorney, works at a fairly large firm that has many contracts with the State of New Mexico. 

2022 is seen as a “shakeup” year for many in the Republican Party to clean house and elect conservative Republicans to replace moderate incumbents, especially in solid red areas of the state like Alamogordo, Hobbs, and Roswell. In total, 62 Republican candidates are running for the House, which is composed of 70 seats.

Eight Democrats face primary challenges from the left. According to the Albuquerque Journal, these Democrats are “Anthony Allison of Fruitland, Doreen Wonda Johnson of Church Rock, Eliseo Alcon of Milan, Roger Montoya of Velarde, Susan Herrera of Embudo, Kristina Ortez of Taos, Andrea Romero of Santa Fe and Ambrose Castellano of Las Vegas.” 

Find the full list of candidates who filed for state representative, among other offices, here.

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