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Rematch candidates go head-to-head for the CD3 seat

cd3 candidates
Gino Gutierrez
Source NM
Left: U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez speaks at an event in Albuquerque for victims of the fire in northern New Mexico in late September just before Congress approved billions for compensation, aid and recovery. Right: Alexis Martinez Johnson, Republican candidate for Congressional District 3, at the All Pueblo Council of Governors forum in mid-October.

Early voting is underway and in Congressional District 3 there is a rematch of sorts. Incumbent Democratic Representative Teresa Leger Fernandez faces Republican challenger Alexis Martinez Johnson, an environmental engineer who ran against her for the same seat in 2020.

Since Congressional District 3 was created in 1983, only one Republican, Bill Redmond, held the seat for two years.

Source New Mexico’s Shaun Griswold reports the former representatives from the northern district are a who's who of New Mexico political dynasties such as former governor Bill Richardson, and U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Ben Ray Luján.

CD3’s newest redistricting extends the district south along the eastern part of New Mexico into conservative towns such as Roswell, Clovis and Hobbs. That means northern district candidates must also campaign in the south.

Leger Fernandez has fully supported President Joe Biden’s infrastructure agenda that formed large investments into rural health care, broadband and tribal criminal justice systems. She sponsored the Hermit’s Peak-Calf Canyon Fire Assistance Act, to secure $2.5 billion in federal funding to help northern New Mexico recover from the fires.

Supporting the Biden plan does create opposition with the new voters for Leger Fernandez. Her support for the Inflation Reduction Act means the federal government must reduce carbon emissions by at least 40% by 2030. This is viewed as a threat to her constituents in the oil and gas-rich towns.

In a recent campaign ad, Leger Fernandez highlights the importance of supporting our families.

"With families together again, I’m working to make saving a little easier. To give families a break and lower costs, by capping drug prices for seniors, reducing energy bills and bringing affordable water to farmers. So everyone can get ahead and back to what matters most."

Martinez Johnson says that Leger Fernandez isn’t doing enough for families and giving the Democratic Party a bad name.

"My abuelos were staunch democrats, they believed in hard work and self-determination. Today’s Democratic party has left those values behind. Inflation, gas prices, crime waves; Biden and Teresa Ledger Fernandez are setting us back."

Martinez Johnson wants to deregulate oil and gas with a tough-on-crime approach that includes no form of gun restriction.

While Leger Fernandez retains the block of hardline Democratic voters in Santa Fe, Taos and Pueblo communities, Martinez Johnson is gaining support from the national GOP.

Jeanette DeDios is from the Jicarilla Apache and Diné Nations and grew up in Albuquerque, NM. She recently graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2022 where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism, English and Film. She’s currently a part of the Local News Fund Fellowship where she will be working with KUNM-FM and NMPBS during her 9-month fellowship where she will gain hands-on newsroom experience. Jeanette can be contacted at jeanettededios@kunm.org or via Twitter @JeanetteDeDios.
Shaun Griswold is a journalist in Albuquerque. He is a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna, and his ancestry also includes Jemez and Zuni on the maternal side of his family. He grew up in Albuquerque and Gallup. He brings a decade of print and broadcast news experience. Most recently he covered Indigenous affairs with New Mexico In Depth. Shaun reports on issues important to Native Americans in urban and tribal communities throughout the state, including education and child welfare.
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