Former land commissioner returning to office

Freedom New Mexico

Former Land Commissioner Ray Powell will be going back to the State Land Office.

The seasoned Democrat edged out Republican challenger Matt Rush to take back his old job. Unofficial returns Tuesday night showed Powell with 52 percent of the vote to Rush’s 48 percent with 95 percent of precincts reporting.

Rush conceded the race about midnight and congratulated Powell on his win.

“We’d just like to thank everybody in Roosevelt County for their support,” Rush said.

Since he’s been gone to campaign for the past year, Rush said he’d like to catch up.

“And then we’ll see what the future holds,” he continued. “God can open what doors he wants open.”

Powell said he ran this year because the Land Office had lost its way and he wanted to return honesty, accountability and transparency to the office.

Many contend the land commissioner is one of the most powerful people in state government, wielding control over more than 13 million acres of mineral estate and 9 million acres of surface estate with the potential to bring in millions of dollars to New Mexico’s coffers each year.