Republican announces run for New Mexico AG

Chris Rizo Feb. 4, 2010, 9:27pm

Matt Chandler (R)

Gary King (D)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Legal Newsline)-A Republican county prosecutor has announced he will run for New Mexico attorney general, possibly challenging Democrat incumbent Gary King.

Republican Matt Chandler, 34, is in his second term as 9th Judicial District attorney, representing Curry and Roosevelt counties.

Chandler has been critical of King and his processor Patricia Madrid, also a Democrat, for not doing more to root out public corruption in the state.

Chandler's campaign announcement this week took place in front of the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Courthouse in Albuquerque, the center of a corruption scandal involving former state Senate President Manny Aragon, a longtime Democratic legislator.

Aragon was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's office for attempting to defraud the state of nearly $4.4 million in the construction of the courthouse. Last year, he was sentenced to 5 ½ years in prison.

"When the current attorney general took over, he promised to do better. He promised that the New Mexico Attorney General's office would do more to take on corruption. Yet, four years later, it seems that New York Attorney General Mario Cuomo is doing more to prosecute New Mexico corruption than our own attorney general. New Mexicans deserve better," Chandler said.

For his part, King has not announced whether he will seek reelection as the state's chief legal officer. Election officials said nominating petitions for the June 1 primary must be filed by Feb. 9.

Chandler earned his bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Eastern New Mexico University and his law degree from the University of Tulsa.

King, a former longtime state House member, was first elected New Mexico attorney general in 2006. His father, Bruce King, was a three-time governor of the state.

The attorney general attended New Mexico State University as an undergraduate. He received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from University of Colorado at Boulder. He earned his law degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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