District Attorney Matt Chandler mulls attorney general run

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico

District Attorney Matt Chandler says he plans to decide this week if he will be a candidate for New Mexico Attorney General.

Chandler, 34, a Republican in his second term as the 9th Judicial District Attorney, said he is going over the decision with his family.

“Over the past several months, people on a local, state, and national level have contacted me and encouraged me to seek the office of the New Mexico Attorney General,” Chandler said. “The support to enter the race has been overwhelming, and I appreciate the efforts of those that are pushing for change.”

Nominating petitions for the June 1, 2010 Primary Election must be filed by Feb. 9.

Friday, it was reported by The New Mexico Independent that Chandler has the support of the state GOP should he seek the office now held by Democrat Gary King, who was elected in 2006.

“For the past several weeks, we have been contacted by many people who want to see Matt Chandler run for attorney general,” state GOP spokeswoman Janel Causey told political reporter Heath Haussamen. “We’ve discussed the race with him and believe he would be a phenomenal candidate.”

King has not formally announced if he intends to seek reelection.

Chandler said he expects King will seek re-election.

The 9th Judicial District encompasses Curry and Roosevelt Counties.

Chandler, a Clovis native and Eastern New Mexico University graduate, was elected district attorney in 2004 at age 27.

He received his law degree from the University of Tulsa in 2001.

When he made the bid for office, his opponent and boss, then-district attorney Brett Carter, fired him as an assistant district attorney.

Gov. Bill Richardson appointed Chandler to the position ahead of schedule after Carter resigned in October, three months before he was slated to leave office.

Chandler ran unopposed in 2008.