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Congresswoman Deb Haaland picks favorite for open House seat

May 14, 2020 GMT
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U.S. Rep. Debra Haaland of Albuquerque, N.M., seeks support from local party delegates at the Democratic Party preprimary convention in Pojoaque, N.M., Saturday, March 7, 2020. Candidates for open congressional and Senate seats underwent the first test of their political might as the Democratic and Republican parties of New Mexico held statewide conventions. The conventions decide the ballot order for candidates in the state's primary election on June 2. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
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U.S. Rep. Debra Haaland of Albuquerque, N.M., seeks support from local party delegates at the Democratic Party preprimary convention in Pojoaque, N.M., Saturday, March 7, 2020. Candidates for open congressional and Senate seats underwent the first test of their political might as the Democratic and Republican parties of New Mexico held statewide conventions. The conventions decide the ballot order for candidates in the state's primary election on June 2. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A progressive voice in New Mexico’s congressional delegation is endorsing attorney Teresa Leger Fernandez in a crowded Democratic primary for the state’s 3rd Congressional District seat.

Leger Fernandez, an attorney and professional consultant to tribal governments, was endorsed Wednesday by Albuquerque-based U.S. Rep. Debra Haaland.

Haaland, a tribal member of Laguna Pueblo, was chairwoman of the state Democratic Party before winning election to Congress in 2018.

“Teresa is a lifelong New Mexican,” Haaland said. “During this unprecedented time in our world, I believe that Teresa has the intellect, the work ethic and the compassion to ensure that no communities get left behind.”

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The endorsement holds implications for candidates in a seven-way primary, including former CIA operative Valerie Plame and Santa Fe-based District Attorney Marco Serna.

The Democratic primary is likely to be decisive in the open race to succeed Rep. Ben Ray Luján as he runs for U.S. Senate to replace retiring Sen. Tom Udall.

Haaland, a participant in the congressional progressive caucus, previously endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren in her bid for the Democratic nomination for president. Warren has ceded the race to presumptive nominee Joe Biden.