Republican Businessman Launches New Mexico Senate Run
Dr. Gavin Clarkson, a former Trump administration official and business professor, has become the first Republican to announce a bid for New Mexico’s open Senate seat. Democratic Senator Tom Udall announced last month that he would not seek a third term next year. “I want to be a champion for those whose voices are not heard in the halls of Congress,” Clarkson said. “For the legal immigrants, like my wife, who followed the rules, for the victims of illegal immigrant crime, for the struggling farmers and ranchers in our rural areas, particularly those living along our unprotected border, and for those who are economically disempowered due to federal regulations and corporate welfare schemes that benefit establishment lobbyists at the expense of entrepreneurs and small businesses.” He also supports voter ID laws. Clarkson served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Economic Development for Indian Affairs until he resigned in November 2017, after a ProPublica report showed that in his previous role as a businessman, he had arranged financing and a $20 million guarantee for a loan that helped an Indian tribe buy a Wall Street brokerage. He is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and has held numerous professorships at universities and law schools, including Rice University, the University of Michigan, University of Houston Law Center, and most recently, New Mexico State University. In 2007, Clarkson was appointed a Managing Director of Native American Capital LLC, a Native American business advisory services firm that targets business opportunities throughout Indian Country. “After losing almost everything I had due to the meltdown in 2008,” Clarkson said, “I moved to New Mexico with one cent in my bank account, lived in a camper for three years, and started flipping houses while all the big banks were getting bailed out by the bipartisan establishment in Washington, D.C.” The 1991 Rice University grad earned his MBA from the school in 1992 before eventually completing law school at Harvard in 2002. There have previously been five Native Americans who served in the Senate -- all men. The last Native American to serve in the Senate was Colorado Republican Ben Nighthorse Campbell, who retired in 2005. On the Democratic side, Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) announced this month that he was running for the open Senate seat. More here.