In April, former two-term Land Commissioner Ray Powell, who served from 1993-2000 and still has his 2006 cambpaign website active , told blogger Heath Haussaman that he was going to seek the Democratic Party nomination in 2010.
Powell lost a close primary election, in 2006, to former Land Commissioner Jim Baca.
Cornelius, a native of Tatum in Lea County and a graduate of Eastern New Mexico, has launched a campaign website, I'm Backing Bob, here.
Cornelius is a long-time GOP activist and Co-owner and Executive Vice President of Petro Verde. A company he said he started to both build and promote alternative and renewable fuel sources in New Mexico and beyond. He is also a fraud investigator employed by the NM Public Regulation Commission.
Corneilus said he has a unique perspective to add to the State Land Office because he grew up in Southern New Mexico:
Oil and gas are the backbone of our economy, but I believe that we must diversify in order to provide new jobs, sustain growth, and to insure that our future generations have every opportunity to succeed.
In his announcement, Corneilus states that he has an appreciation for the state's beauty and its people and pledges to be "an avid protector of our public lands, assuring they will be preserved for future generations.
Current GOP State Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons, the only Republican to hold a current state office, has several run ins with the state's attorney general's office because of lease agreements given to a political donor, will be term-limited out of office next year.
Commissioner Lyons has served New Mexico well. I wish him the best as he seeks to become a Public Regulation Commissioner. Pat oversaw record breaking oil and gas revenues that have benefitted all New Mexicans. I applaud these efforts, but believe that the State Land office can continue to improve in the areas of promoting alternative energy and job growth, as well as assisting our communities with special projects.
Cornelius tells us he's traveling the state to discuss his possible candidacy with concerned citizens, elected officials, and business leaders. He will make a formal decision about his candidacy this summer.