King looks at bid for governor’s office

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By Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico Attorney General Gary King said Tuesday that the decision to throw his hat into the ring for New Mexico’s top office was no spur-of-the-moment decision.

Pointing to the magnitude of the governor’s race, the Democrat said he wanted to start early — a result of lessons learned after previous attempts.

“These days, starting the governor’s race two and a half years out is not really a long lead time,” King said during a phone interview.

King is a former state lawmaker and son of New Mexico’s longest-serving governor, the late Bruce King. He was first elected attorney general in 2006 and is serving his second term.

While he filed paperwork with the secretary of state’s office in May to create his campaign committee, King said it will likely be after November before he opens his campaign office.

“I’m doing some organizational work, but I’m still spending the great, great majority of my time working on being attorney general,” he said, pointing to his office’s efforts to fight the sexual exploitation of children and human trafficking.

This isn’t the first time King has vied for the office.

In 1998, he lost the Democratic primary for governor to then-Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez. In 2002, he bowed out of the gubernatorial primary, acknowledging former Gov. Bill Richardson’s commanding lead.

No other Democrats have yet voiced their intentions to run for the nomination in 2014. If King were to be nominated, he would likely face Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

Both King and Martinez have recently become wrapped up in a debate over the use of private email for state business.

In June, Martinez directed state workers to only use the government’s email system for conducting public business, a move that ended her administration’s practice of sending email through private accounts in some instances. Previous governors had also used private accounts.

King said employees in his office have tried to avoid “cross-talk” between personal and governmental emails. However, he said he doesn’t believe there is anything in state law that directly prohibits the use of personal email accounts.

The issue, King said, is whether government officials use personal emails in an attempt to evade the Inspection of Public Records Act or the Governmental Conduct Act. King’s office trains state workers on their responsibilities when it comes to public records and open meetings.

“My test for government transparency is if you’re thinking about doing something as a government official and you would be embarrassed to tell your mother you did it, then you shouldn’t do it,” King said.

Aside from transparency, King said he expects job creation, economic development, rural issues and poverty to remain campaign issues in 2014.