A New Mexico lawyer with long familial ties to state politics said he has received enough petitions signatures to officially run for State Senate.
A. Blair Dunn, son of current New Mexico Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, told NM Political Report that he has collected the 34 required signatures to get on the ballot this year.
Dunn said he has only raised $20 in the form of a donation from a close friend. He also said that he has no intention of creating a campaign website, but instead opted to use a Facebook page.
Dunn said the incumbent, Sen. Bill O’Neill, D-Albuquerque, has not been focused enough on his district which includes Albuquerque’s North Valley.
“My view is that O’Neill needs to pay attention to his district,” Dunn said, referring to accusations he has heard that O’Neill has been talking to constituents in other districts instead.
O’Neill said he wasn’t aware of Dunn’s candidacy until NM Political Report’s inquiry.
“This is the first that I’ve heard of it officially,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill said he has helped other politicians both inside and outside his district and dismissed Dunn’s comments and called himself a “team player.”
Dunn is running as a Republican, but said he has “very strong” libertarian leanings.
“I don’t generally think government has business getting involved in people’s personal business,” Dunn said.
Dunn said he plans on collecting additional signatures as a precautionary measure and may pursue additional funding after the legislative session is over. Those running for positions in the state legislature are barred from fundraising during the legislative session.
Every seat in the New Mexico Legislature is up for election this year, in both the House and Senate. Republicans took control of the House after the 2014 elections and are looking to hold onto the House and take control of the Senate for the last two years of Gov. Susana Martinez’s term.
Dunn’s father, Aubrey Dunn, is the State Land Commissioner. His grandfather, Aubrey Dunn Sr., was the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee—and a Democrat. Aubrey Dunn Sr.’s father was also a State Senator. A. Blair Dunn currently runs a private law firm.
As a lawyer, he recently received media attention when he represented a New Mexico slaughterhouse in federal court regarding slaughtering horses for meat.
Last year, two New Mexicans filed a complaint with the New Mexico Attorney General’s office alleging that Aubrey and Blair Dunn, together, violated state law in order to secure contracts that would financially benefit. Blair Dunn filed a lawsuit against the two complainants alleging that the complaint was based on false information and maintained that it is politically motivated.
Senate District 13 has long been a Democratic seat. Senator Dede Feldman held the spot from 1997 until O’Neill took office in 2013.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that a lawsuit was filed against the Dunns. Blair Dunn filed a lawsuit against two New Mexicans who filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s office.