In 2018, New Mexicans will have an important decision to make. Will dark money control the choices made for our children, our communities, and our natural resources? We would like to think not – we will continue to fight for the assurance of that not being the case. Let’s continue to #Resist. How does that sound?
As the third highest office in the state, the SOS is responsible for filling that role when the Governor and Lt. Governor are unavailable. And it happens more often than you might think.
Since GOP stalwart Dianna Duran’s spectacular fall from grace last year, the current interim Secretary of State, Brad Winter, has stepped up into the acting governor role at least three times.
And that should have your really worried considering one of the two candidates for that position this November is Nora Espinoza and even acting governors can control the national guard (and so so much more).
Espinoza was quoted in an interview this week saying that, “her work ‘has given me the kind of experience required for supervising the staff and operations of an administrative office, one geared to ensuring that procedures and policies are carried out in accordance with the law and established rules.’ ”
Take a look at a few of the proposals Espinoza has championed from her perch as State legislator (and imagine what she would do if she had full authority to direct the state police, national guard or guard the state’s checkbook without anyone requiring anyone else’s approval at all).
Nora Espinoza (R-Roswell) is running for Secretary of State. You read that right. The same woman who wants to legalize discrimination, ban Mexican-American history books in public schools, and let ALEC write New Mexico’s laws now wants to occupy one of the most important public offices in New Mexico. (She’s also the chair of the House Education Committee where she has a history of silencing dissent or discussion of opposing views in her committee.)
It’s impossible to think that someone who’s expressed so much close-minded extremism over the years could possibly represent the office well and execute it with the fairness and equality the office demands. And Espinoza’s campaign has already gotten off to an inauspicious start: an ethics complaint was filed against Espinoza on Monday in response to Espinoza’s publicly funded legislative website being used to campaign for that very office.
A new poll in the Secretary of State’s race shows Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver ahead of Republican Dianna Duran among decided and undecided voters in the mid-August survey. The Democrat, Toulouse Oliver, is challenging incumbent Republican Duran in a tight race to take back the office of Secretary of State. The poll showed Maggie Toulouse Oliver leading Duran 47-44 among all likely voters surveyed. If these numbers hold, this race could be the most hotly contested statewide this election cycle. Dianna Duran has come under fire for her efforts to investigate Hispanic voters for fraud and purge active voters from the registered voter rolls.
As a part of their series offering candidates for office equal space in the paper’s opinion pages, the Albuquerque Journal ran competing op-eds from current Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran and her Democratic opponent, current Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver. Here are their letters:
Dianna Duran: Office Now Runs With Integrity
It’s an honor to serve as your secretary of state. Four years ago, I traveled our state speaking passionately about the importance of having an electoral system that New Mexicans can believe in and the need to restore confidence and integrity in this office. Today, I’m just as passionate about fair elections and voting, as well as the record I’ve established. I’m humbly asking you to endorse what we’ve been able to accomplish and respectfully asking you to allow me to keep building on that so that we do not lose all that we’ve gained.
This past weekend we ended up in tiny Lincoln, New Mexico for their annual Billy the Kid Days festival (If you get a chance, go. It’s a lot of fun and the people there are some of New Mexico’s nicest). The former county seat of Lincoln County, Lincoln and the surrounding communities are home base for New Mexico’s Republican Party. Safely conservative ground, Democrats did not even field a candidate in recent primaries in the state house race in District 56, for county clerk, county treasurer or any of the three local magistrate judge races. So it struck us as odd that the campaign signs and giveaways for Dianna Duran’s re-election for secretary of state never mentioned that she is one of the Republican Party’s two highest-ranking statewide officials.
We snapped these shots of the Duran campaign’s all-terrain campaign buggy after we noticed that someone had painted over parts of the sign.
Santa Fe – An Albuquerque Journal inquiry led Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran to issue complaint letters to three Democrats seeking statewide office yesterday. But, ProgressNow New Mexico has learned that the Journal made her office aware of a similar violation by Governor Martinez but the Secretary took no action until we got involved. Update: The Secretary of State responded to our inquiry. See her response in the updates at the end of the post.
In a story appearing in today’s Albuquerque Journal, UpFront columnist Thom Cole writes:
In response to an inquiry from me, the Secretary of State’s Office said a posting from [Sen.] Lopez on her website violated the prohibition on soliciting political donations during the session…
Again in response to inquiries from me, the Secretary of State’s Office said live donation pages on ActBlue for Morales and Keller were also violations of the session fundraising prohibition. ActBlue is an independent non-partisan organization that permits individuals and campaigns to fundraise online through their third-party platform. It is most closely associated with progressive causes and Democratic candidates.
For more than a week, voters in Rio Rancho have railed against election officials in Sandoval County claiming long lines for voters in the heavily Republican area were evidence of voter suppression on Election Day. Republican Governor Susana Martinez herself raced to the scene and was among the first to cry foul while insulating fellow-Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran from blame.On election night Martinez told KRQE:”The Secretary of State was able to spend what was necessary to make sure that there were enough machines at every location.” (see clip below, at 0:01:39)But, that’s not true and newly uncovered emails show that Martinez knew it.During tonight’s Sandoval County Commission meeting, Chairman Darryl Madalena read from a portion of a September 18, 2012 email from the Director of the Secretary of State’s Elections Bureau showing that the Secretary of State asked Governor Martinez and the Board of Finance (she is its president) for $1.4 million in emergency funds to “meet the requests for an increased number [of ballot on demand systems] for the General… Our request was tabled. The Board did not allocate any additional funding to cover the costs of the Election.”Bobbi Shearer, the director, reminded clerks in the email that it is the responsibility of the Secretary of State to provide these ballot machines and acknowledges that more had been requested. Shearer also gives a clearer understanding of the process for ordering voting machines. The budget for the voting center machines was created in September 2011, two full months before county commissions passed resolutions authorizing vote centers, the trigger that permitted clerks to begin determining the number of machines needed. After the 2012 June primary election, it is clear that clerks requested more equipment, prompting a budget crisis for the Secretary of State who had already spent election money on non-election day items like voter purge cards and postage.The request for additional funding to expand the availability of election equipment in the General election, because of an expected increase in the number of voters in some areas, was denied by the governor’s own board of finance less than a month before early voting started. In addition to serving as the board’s president, she also appoints all four public members. The Lieutenant Governor and State Treasurer also sit on the board.In her email to clerks, Shearer blasts Martinez and the rest of the board saying “the Board does not have an adequate understanding of the election process.”This new email shows that not only was the Secretary of State not able to spend what was necessary to ensure that there were enough machines at every location, but Governor Martinez knew it and she and her hand-picked board denied the funds to run a smooth election. Tea Partiers and Republicans have continually gone after Sandoval County’s Democratic clerk for long lines on Election Day but this new email shows exactly who is to blame.Let’s hope the Rio Rancho voters who have so loudly demanded that someone be held accountable will now hold Martinez accountable. Sos Bof Email
Read the Republican Voter Challenge Guide
VIDEO: GOP Caught Training Poll Challengers in Illegal Voter Suppression Tactics
Republican trainees could compromise integrity of November election
Update (10/9/12): New Mexico Attorney General Gary King launched an investigation into these tactics after our video and report were shared with his office. Read his official statement online. UPDATE (10/5/2012): We spoke with representatives from Adelante Development Center today who informed us that 1) Adelante did not sponsor the trainings 2) Adelante does not endorse the actions taken by the Republican Party during the trainings and 3) Adelante was not aware the Republican Party and Tea Party were publicizing their poll challenger trainings as being held at Adelante (Adelante simply rents space at their properties to a variety of organizations). The Adelante representatives we spoke to told us they would be contacting the Republican Party and Tea Party representatives to make sure the Adelante name is not associated with any further trainings. Update (10:04am MT): New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce tells The Nation that he was aware of the training and supports it, even though he knows some tactics are illegal. Also says this is the way the GOP will take back New Mexico.