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EXCLUSIVE: Santa Fe mayor to run for Ben Lujan’s House seat UPDATE: Coss says he’ll stay on as mayor if elected

By   /   March 8, 2012  /   No Comments

Capitol Report New Mexico has learned that Santa Fe mayor David Coss will run for the state House of Representatives seat that has been held by outgoing Speaker of the House Ben Luján since 1975.

Two extremely reliable sources within the Democratic Party in the Santa Fe area confirmed that Coss, who has served as Santa Fe’s mayor since 2006, is expected to make the announcement as early as Friday (March 8).

“Put that in the bank,” one source told us Thursday night. “He’s definitely in.”

David Coss, mayor of Santa Fe

Coss still has two years left in his term as mayor. It’s unclear whether Coss would step down as mayor should be win the election to the state House of Representatives or serve out his term doing both jobs. One of our sources says that by law Coss could do both jobs but the expectation is that if Coss wins in District 46, he would formally resign from his mayoral duties when that term expires in 2014.

In addition, one source says Coss has sought out endorsements from the three Native American Pueblos in District 46 — Tesuque, Nambé and Pojoaque.

A voice-mail was left with Mayor Coss Thursday evening. As soon as he returns our call, we’ll post what he has to say.

During his time as mayor of one of the country’s most liberal cities, Coss has emphasized environmental concerns, supported union organization and co-sponsored the city’s “Living Wage Ordinance” that was adjusted upwards earlier this month to $10.29 an hour, surpassing San Francisco as the highest in the country.

The 76-year-old Luján is stepping down from both his speakership position and his House seat after announcing back in January that he is suffering from Stage 4 lung cancer.

Earlier this year, Carl Trujillo announced he was running again in District 46. Trujillo came with in a handful of votes of pulling off a stunning upset of Luján in the 2010 Democratic primary.

Update 9:30 p.m: Mayor Coss confirmed to Steve Terrell of the Santa Fe New Mexican that he will announce his run for Speaker Luján’s seat Friday:

“I saw another opportunity to serve,” the two-term Santa Fe mayor said. “Ben Luján has been an incredible representative. I feel it’s important to continue having a strong Santa Fe delegation.”

Like Luján Coss is a Democrat.

Coss said he will continue serving as mayor if he wins. “Being mayor is too much fun,” he said.


Update 3/9: Capitol Report New Mexico spoke to Coss briefly Friday morning and the mayor confirmed that should he win the race in District 46, he’ll carry on his mayoral duties in Santa Fe through 2014 when his term comes to an end.

Would he consider running for a third term even if serving in the legislature? “I would consider staying on,” Coss said, adding that a number of city council members have asked him the same question. Coss said he and his wife Carol would make that decision “some time in 2013.”


Rob formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.