Spencer Kellogg | New Mexico
Ahead of this weekend’s New Mexico Libertarian State Convention, Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has thrown his hat into the US Senate race. He will compete against Republican contractor Mick Rich and incumbent Democrat Martin Heinrich. A well liked Land Commissioner, Dunn is known for battling corruption throughout the state and speaking honestly about our rights as written in the Constitution. He recently changed his voting registration from Republican to Libertarian in anticipation of the campaign.
The Libertarian Party received major party status in the state after Gary Johnson achieved more than 5% of the vote in the 2018 election. With major party status in hand, The New Mexican Libertarian Party has an easier path to ballot access than ever before. A full slate of candidates have joined various races in New Mexico including Aubrey Dunn’s own son Blair who has filed to run for Attorney General.
Born in Alamogordo, in the south central part of New Mexico, Mr. Dunn grew up on an apple farm in Otero County. He earned a degree in Animal Science from Colorado State University and a graduate degree in Banking at the University of New Mexico before becoming CEO and President of First Federal Bank of New Mexico. His tenure as CEO saw the bank grow its commercial loan portfolio to $170 million and saw an increased stock share valuation of 10x. Dunn is also a cattle rancher and has owned over a dozen ranches in his life.
Mr. Dunn’s success as a businessman and commissioner have made him a well known figure in state politics and his candidacy should further legitimize the New Mexican Libertarian Party that is coming off the successes of the Johnson era. Dunn believes the race for Senate is a winnable one and has suggested the poor polling numbers of Democrat incumbent Heinrich show an eagerness for change in New Mexico.
Since Johnson’s bright years as governor that saw the state finish with a one billion dollar surplus, New Mexico politics have become best known for corruption of the law and a nose for spending more than they bring in. Mr. Dunn’s work as Land Commissioner has been seen as a bright spot for a state that has most recently found itself at the top of every bad list and at the bottom of ever good one. Touting the best year for earnings in the 100 year history of the commission, Dunn is an advocate for school funding as New Mexico lags behind most states in education statistics.
Dunn is a strong proponent of libertarian philosophies and has suggested that what people do on their own property is none of the government’s business. This week he demanded the Air Force pay $25 million to the state after new flight training plans threaten to downsize more than 100 wind turbines on New Mexico state lands. Dunn had struck a deal with Oregon-based Avangrid Renewables before the Air Force’s decision. Mr. Dunn called the move “military tyranny.”
Mr. Dunn plans on making his pitch to New Mexicans by driving around the state and meeting with citizens face to face. In his upset victory over Ray Powell for Land Commissioner in 2014 Dunn was quoted as saying he put 70,000 miles on his pickup truck while driving the state to speak with citizens at their front door. For US Senate, he’s promised 80,000.
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