Our picks to win on Tuesday (and a few last-minute surprises!)
It’s the end of this crazy election season and crazy is getting crazier.
Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn says oil and gas companies are too poor to pay rent on state land, so he’s giving them free rent. Meanwhile, those companies and their CEOs just helped to bankroll $500,000 in new attack ads against Democrats.
You can see why we’re working overtime to fact check their ads and turning progressive voters turn out to vote.
- Our staff is in rapid-response mode, fact checking new ads and creating responses to correct last minute attacks on our champions
- Our websites are up and our ads are out educating voters
Thanks to grassroots donors, we sent 16,400 Progressive Voter Guides to new voters and progressive households in 10 battle ground House and Senate districts statewide.
And in just the past 30 days, 133,881 New Mexicans visited one a website in the ProgressNow network for election news!
On Thursday, we hosted a conference call with our donors to give them the inside scoop on our work and our plans for the final 4 days. (become a donor now to be invited to exclusive events like this)
With the clock winding down, here’s our quick summary of races to watch (and where you can still help).
Likely Progressive Wins (keep working here!)
HOUSE DISTRICT 24 (ABQ, Northeast Heights) (Currently: Republican)Progressive Champion Liz Thomson‘s efforts to engage with voters all year are paying off. A mom of a child with disabilities and MADD legislator of the year, she has a record working mothers support and they are key to winning this district. (Watch for last minute negative attacks here helping Republican newcomer Christina Hall – conservatives used that tactic in 2014 to beat her on Election Day)
HOUSE DISTRICT 39 – (Las Cruces) (Currently: Republican)Gov. Martinez’s PACs brought a last-minute barrage of negative ads against long-time legislator Rudy Martinez in 2014. Republican John Zimmerman has voted for fracking in neighborhoods and has a record of disrespecting law enforcement in his community. Voters seem ready to send Democrat Rudy Martinez back if Doña Ana County voters stay informed.
HOUSE DISTRICT 43 – (Los Alamos) (Currently: Democrat)Dem. State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard is fighting off a tough challenge from the Tea Party county clerk, Sharon Stover, who has refused to denounce Donald Trump’s hateful, racist platform. Garcia Richard is well known here as a pragmatic legislator and hard-working campaigner. Almost 50% of Los Alamos voters have early voted, so late attacks here may not work.
Conservatives are in trouble here (full steam ahead!)
HOUSE DISTRICT 36 – (Las Cruces/Hatch) (Currently: Republican)Gov. Martinez spent big money here in 2014 to help once-Democrat, then-independent, now-Republican Andy Nuñez win this seat. It was one of the House seats that flipped, giving Republicans control. This time around, a Texas Super PAC connected to Steve Pearce is working double-time to defend Nuñez after a ProgressNow complaint prompted an Attorney General review of his campaign spending. Democrat Nathan Small is a popular city councilor and environmental champion. Taking back the House has to include a win here.
HOUSE DISTRICT 38 – (TorC/Silver City) (Currently: Republican)Retiring Republican Dianne Hamilton is leaving an open seat in this multi-county district. Progressive Champion Mary Hotvedt got a big boost from news (first reported in the NM Political Report) that Republican Rebecca Dow was sued after an employee of hers sexually assaulted two young boys when he was left alone with them on an overnight sleepover at her chlidrens center.
Now the victim’s family is coming forward saying she threatened the mother’s job if she sued. Because these counties are mostly rural, turnout is usually strongest on Election Day so anything could still happen.
50/50 (watch these for surprises!)
HOUSE DISTRICT 15 – (ABQ, N. Valley) (Currently: Republican)Republican Sarah Maestas Barnes is popular here because of her family’s deep Democratic ties. But her votes to allow fracking in neighborhoods and revelations that she failed to disclose over $400,00o in state contracts her family has with the state are giving Democrats a chance to take this seat back. The candidate, Ané Romero, is a former policy analyst for Sen. Heinrich and she’s gotten some high-profile help with an endorsement from President Obama. This race will be TIGHT but Democrats are pulling out all the stops to take this seat back.
HOUSE DISTRICT 23 – (Corrales) (Currently: Republican)Democrats need to pick up 4 seats to take back the House and they desperately want to oust Paul Pacheco when they do it. Pacheco carries a lot of Gov. Martinez’s bill and uses his status as a former police officer to push a tough-on-crime agenda. But new revelations that he directed hundreds-of-thousands in public dollars to his brother’s construction project (a complaint filed by ProgressNowNM with the Attorney General) made statewide news and continue to plague him with voters. Democrat Daymon Ely is a popular Sandoval County Commissioner who has a great field effort underway.
HOUSE DISTRICT 30 – (ABQ, Northeast Heights) (Currently: Republican)Since taking control of the House, Majority Leader Nate Gentry has taken the term “corporate legislator” to new heights. Once active with ALEC, Gentry said expanding birth control access for women and adding money to early childhood education were just a “silly stunt.” His connections to the private prision industry and frackers which fund a network of PACs run from his home and office make him a poster child for the problems with Citizens United. ProgressNow profiled him in 2014 for being the only legislator in recent memory to serve criminal probation while being a sitting legislator.
Steve Pearce’s Texas Super PAC recently announced that they were coming into this race after early voting numbers showed that Gentry “might need help.”
Progressive Champion Natalie Figeuroa is a great match for this district and, as an educator, is able to connect to voters on education issues.
HOUSE DISTRICT 37 – (Las Cruces) (Currently: Republican)Democrat Joanne Ferrary lost to Republican Terry McMillan, MD by just a handful of votes in 2012 and 2014. This year new news that McMillan was under investigation by the state’s Medicaid Fraud and Elder Abuse Division and his record of missing more than 100 votes have voters asking new questions. If anyone can beat McMillan, the popular Ferrary can and will this year.
Special Reports and Races To Watch
Senate District 29 (Valencia County) (Currently: Democrat)
Everyone in New Mexico has seen the Governor’s PAC’s ads attacking Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez. He drew her ire for the crime of opposing her anti-immigrant and pro-prison programs in favor of jobs and education programs to move New Mexico forward.
Republican Greg Baca moved into the district just in time to file for office but he has at least $500,000 in help from various Republican PACs sending TV, radio and mail programs into the district attacking Sanchez.
Sen. Sanchez fought off a similar challenge in 2012 but Valencia County isn’t as reliably Democratic as it used to be. This is THE race politicos will be watching this year.
Is it too late to help?
Nope. We are still fact-checking and building response ads all the way up to Election Day. And our voter guides are being read every day online.
What do YOU think? Share and include your comments to your friends on Facebook or Twitter…