AP NEWS

Santa Fe lawyer Leger Fernandez running for Congress

May 16, 2019

Santa Fe lawyer Teresa Leger Fernandez plans to formally announce that she’s running for Congress at an event in her native Las Vegas, N.M.

Leger Fernandez, 59, has made no secret of her intent to run for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, who is running for U.S. Senate. She filed her candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission last month around the same time she told members of the state Democratic Party’s central committee she’d be running.

“My life represents the diversity of the state,” she said Wednesday. “I’ve been doing community work for 29 years.”

As a lawyer, Leger Fernandez represented Native American tribes during the 2011 redistricting process. She also brought the lawsuit against the city of Santa Fe that resulted in the city using ranked-choice voting in its elections last year.

Leger Fernandez said she had considered running for Congress in 2008, the last time there was an open seat. “I decided not to then partly because my kids were still in school,” she said.

Leger Fernandez has three sons, one who is 20 and twins who are 18.

For a year during President Bill Clinton’s administration, Leger Fernandez was a White House fellow assigned to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. She also was a member of President Barack Obama’s advisory council on historic preservation.

Leger Fernandez is a graduate of Yale University and Stanford Law School.

The Democratic primary in the 3rd Congressional District is getting crowded. Other candidates include First Judicial District Attorney Marco Serna, former CIA agent and author Valerie Plame of Santa Fe, state Rep. Joseph Sanchez of Alcalde, former Navajo Nation presidential and vice presidential candidate Dineh Benally, Gavin Kaiser of Santa Cruz and Cameron Alton Chick of Rio Rancho. The only Republican running so far in the heavily Democratic district is New Mexico Democrats for Democracy founder Brett Kokinadis.