Pressure is on for Rep. Paul A. Pacheco as he runs for a second term in the New Mexico House of Representatives. Winning this seat would not only be a victory for him, but it could be crucial for the Republicans as they try to take control of the House from Democrats.
Pacheco, a Republican elected in 2012, is the incumbent in House District 23. Two years ago, he narrowly beat Democrat Marci Blaze, getting 50.3 percent of the votes. The race was decided by just 78 votes.
This year, Pacheco faces Democrat Catherine Begaye. Both ran unopposed in the June primaries.
“In this competitive race, the voters that are going to be targeted are the ones who are independent or those who are maybe affiliated with one party who might vote occasionally with another party,” said Timothy Krebs a political science professor at the University of New Mexico.
One thing that hasn’t changed for Pacheco is his strategy. He said he plans to deploy a campaign characterized by transparency and collaboration. “I work hard for my constituents,” Pacheco said. “I work with both sides of the aisles.”
Registered Democrat and member of the Village of Corrales City Council John Alsobrook said he supports Pacheco because “he’s able to sit, talk and discuss any issue regardless of what side you’re on.”
House District 23 includes parts of Albuquerque, Corrales and Rio Rancho. One of the biggest concerns for the residents is education.
“This will move education, in a positive manner,” Pacheco said, referring to his future goals in office. “More educated students and a more educated workforce. “
Begaye, too, is focused on the area’s schools. Her plan includes support for early childhood education. On her website, Begaye said “investing in education means investing in two parts: children and their teachers.”
District resident and registered Democrat Leo Pallares said he had initial doubts about Pacheco. “I voted for Blaze last time, I didn’t really know much about Pacheco (at the time of the 2012 elections),” Pallares said. “I looked into him and I saw he was a former cop. This enticed my attention because public safety should be our number one concern. I’ve seen improvements in this area, I can’t say how much of this can be credited to him, but as of now I am content with his interest (in the community).”
Pacheco is a former police officer; he graduated from the Albuquerque police academy in 1984. On his campaign website he touts his support of public safety, citing his 27 years of experience.
“I will continue to make public safety a top priority, making our state a safe place to live and raise our children,” Pacheco said.
One area that Pacheco will support if elected is the carrying of concealed firearms. According to his website this will “…strengthen law abiding citizens’ right to defend themselves, their families and their homes from criminals.”