Former Assistant District Attorney Matthew Chandler of Clovis announced his candidacy for District Attorney of Curry and Roosevelt counties Saturday at Eastern New Mexico University, one day after he was fired by District Attorney Brett Carter.
“I advised Carter on Jan. 27 of my intentions to run for (District Attorney),” Chandler said before his announcement to about 50 students and staff at Eastern New Mexico University’s Campus Union. “He told me to consider that and let him know on Feb. 6. I let him know on Feb. 6 and was terminated.”
Kevin Spears of Clovis, who serves as finance chairman for Chandler’s campaign, thinks, “it’s unfortunate (that he was dismissed). It’s a new era in Matt’s life. It’s not ideal, but it’s time for him to move forward.”
During his speech at the Campus Union, Chandler, a 28-year-old Republican and ENMU alumni, said since becoming assistant district attorney two years ago he has won hundreds of convictions for a variety of crimes ranging from rape to domestic violence to homicide and DWIs.
“The (DA’s) office is in charge of law enforcement,” Chandler said. “We have to have fair and just prosecution. Fourteen months ago, a Clovis police officer was shot in the line of duty, and we’re still waiting for prosecution on that case. I’m going to bring back to the office its dignity.
“I have prosecuted more trials than any other prosecutor in the office and have gotten the most convictions,” Chandler said.
Eric Mendoza, an instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia, endorsed Chandler. Before working as an instructor, Mendoza served as a patrolman for the State Police and worked nine years as an undercover narcotics investigator.
“We worked many, many felony cases from clandestine methamphetamine laboratories to very serious crimes,” Mendoza said. “Matt has high character and high values.”
Chandler said when he is elected Ninth Judicial district attorney, he will see to it that Roosevelt County has in its DA’s office an investigator, which it lacks now.
“Clovis has four investgators,” he said.
Chandler also said the police departments in Clovis and Portales need to be networked to enhance communication, and that he would accomplish the goal.
“We can help the residents of Curry and Roosevelt counties be safer,” he said. “I believe criminals must be held accountable for their crimes.”
Chandler is a graduate of Clovis High School and received his undergraduate education in political science from ENMU.
Immediately after graduating from ENMU, he entered law school at the University of Tulsa, graduating with a law degree three years later.
He then worked in private practice for Guebert, Bruckner and Bootes in Albuquerque before moving back to Clovis, where he was hired as assistant district attorney by Carter.