Former Santa Fe County Commissioner and Pojoaque School Board member Harry Montoya is joining the race for New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District seat.
But it's not the crowded Democratic primary contest he's entering—it's the Republican one. Montoya's Dec. 12 announcement of candidacy in the June primary election affirmed he's crossed the aisle.
"Harry has been pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, and pro-religious freedom his entire life. He has not wavered on these issues. But the Democratic Party has radically changed, and that's why Harry is now a proud Republican," the announcement reads.
"I'm running for Congress because I believe we need a conservative champion fighting for our future generations," Montoya writes. "I grew up here, I was educated here, and I became a counselor here to help New Mexicans suffering from addiction. Our state is truly at a crossroads—do we let national Democrats push a radical agenda, or do we fight for a principled future for our state?"
Montoya, who grew up near Pojoaque, is the founder of the youth-centered nonprofit Hands Across Cultures and was a longtime member of the Pojoaque School Board as well as a representative for the northernmost district of the County Commission until he termed out in 2010.
It's not Montoya's first time seeking election in the 3rd Congressional District. He unsuccessfully challenged Ben Ray Lujan in 2008 and 2012.
This time around, Lujan is stepping down to run for the US Senate seat that Tom Udall is vacating. As of now, Montoya will face six other Republicans in the primary, including Audra Lee Brown of Portales.
The Democratic side of the ballot also remains heavy with eight candidates including Santa Feans Theresa Ledger Fernandez, Valerie Plame and Marco Serna.