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GOP names Clarkson as New Mexico SOS candidate

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SANTA FE (AP) — A former Trump administration appointee who recently came in third in a GOP congressional primary is now the Republican candidate for New Mexico secretary of state.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the New Mexico Republican Party's State Central Committee voted Saturday to place Gavin Clarkson on the ballot after previous GOP nominee JoHanna Cox dropped out.

The 49-year-old Clarkson served as deputy assistant secretary in President Donald Trump's U.S. Interior Department. He resigned in late 2017 after the department's inspector general released a report critical of a tribal loan program he ran.

Clarkson recently filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against New Mexico State University, saying officials unfairly fired him from his position as a business professor when he started his congressional campaign.