LAS CRUCES, NM- Former Trump administration official and New Mexico State University business professor Dr. Gavin Clarkson became the first Republican to announce for New Mexico’s open U.S. Senate seat today. Sen. Tom Udall announced last month that he will retire rather than seek a third six-year term next year.

“My story is quite different from most people who spend their lives climbing the political stepladder aspiring to be another career politician,” Clarkson said. “I'm a tribal member whose orphaned father went from living out of trash cans to being the first Native American to fly a jet. I have a law degree, an MBA, and a Doctorate in Business Administration. I’ve taught for two decades as a conservative in higher education and been illegally fired for it, and I've served as an economic development official in the Trump administration in the heart of the swamp.”

“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.”

Clarkson, who was famously forced to prove New Mexico’s statehood while applying for a marriage license, said he is running “to put New Mexico back on the map in Washington, D.C.”

“And the only way to effectively do that,” Clarkson continued, “is to hear from real people in the real world as often as possible. I’m running to share the stories and aspirations of the ordinary people who make New Mexico extraordinary and who just want to see some sympathy in the Senate, and that will mean being in-state as often as possible, so I’m promising to visit every one of our state’s 33 counties at least once a year.”

“Someone needs to fight for those American citizens in rural New Mexico who wake up every morning and battle against a system rigged in favor of the big corporations and aloof regulators in a faraway capital.”

Republicans have a shot at winning the rare open seat in the blue-leaning state Clarkson said, “Because ‘forgotten’ New Mexicans are looking for some sympathy in the Senate.”

“I want to be a champion for those whose voices are not heard in the halls of Congress- 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.

“I’ve seen far too many of my students leave our state after college. The brain drain is real, and it’s making us one of the poorest states. I’m running to make ‘the land of enchantment’ into a place of prosperity our future generations can afford to call home.”