New Mexico Republicans welcomed state lawmaker Eric Griego (D) to the 1st district House race Monday be noting his role in the ongoing debate over allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.

"Eric Griego was a leader in the fight to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and it’s hard to imagine a politician who is more out of step with mainstream New Mexicans. We welcome him to the race," Bryan Watkins, executive director of the Republican Party of New Mexico, said in a statement Monday.

Griego announced his decision to run for the seat in a video posted on his website over the weekend. The Democrat earlier stumbled out of the gate, announcing his exploratory committee in April a day before Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) announced his run for the state's open Senate seat.

He joins Albuquerque Councilor Dan Lewis, who was the first Republican to officially enter the race last month.

Former state Rep. Janice Arnold Jones (R) has formed an exploratory committee, and state Rep. Anthony Maestas (D) is also mulling a bid, according to the New Mexico Independent.