Republican Barela Enters House Race in New Mexico

Posted June 18, 2009 at 5:50pm

Jon Barela, former vice chairman of New Mexico’s Republican Party, formally announced his candidacy Thursday for the state’s 1st District seat, becoming the first to challenge freshman Democratic Rep. Martin Heinrich.

Barela, a businessman who also served as president of the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, last month held a funraiser and filed notice with the Federal Election Commission of his potential candidacy. He has already reported $5,000 saved for his run.

The 1st District is considered competitive, even though Heinrich easily defeated Republican candidate Darren White in 2008, 55.6 percent to 44.3 percent. The seat opened up when Heather A. Wilson made a bid for the Senate, but lost in the primary. Heinrich’s win marked the first time a Democrat represented the 1st District since the seat was created in 1968.

— Leah Carliner