Happening Now: Conservatives and Progressive face off for control in ABQ, Las Cruces elections

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We are entering into a pivotal time in New Mexico. In Albuquerque, citizens are approaching a runoff in the mayoral race as well as in city council district 5. And in Las Cruces, municipal elections for three city councilors and a municipal judge are happening now.

We’ve all seen what happens when progressive voters assume elections are already won and decide to stay home.  In New Mexico’s two most populous cities, progressive voters could be the largest voting blocs, but traditionally under-perform in city elections.  Now, more than ever, your local candidates are counting on your vote.

Albuquerque: Citywide runoff, now through Nov. 14.

In Albuquerque, voters showed up in large and encouraging numbers for the October 3rd mayoral and city council elections. But, with 9 candidates running for mayor no candidate received the required 50% so the top vote getters, progressive Tim Keller and conservative Dan Lewis, head to a runoff on November 14. In city council district 5 on Albuquerque’s far northwest side, Democrat Cynthia Borrego and Susana Martinez-Republican Robert Aragon also head to a runoff to decide if Democrats will expand their current 5-4 majority to a 6-3 super majority.

Early voting has already begun with voting convenience centers open citywide Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm.  Find one near you, and see the candidates in this handy voter guide from ProgressNowNM’s Progressive Champions PAC.

Progressive Champions (ABQ Runoff Edition) Voter Guide

Las Cruces: citywide judicial and council elections, now through Nov. 7

ProgressNow New Mexico isn’t just about Albuquerque.

In Las Cruces, voters are already headed to the polls in citywide judicial elections and several city council races.

Early voting turnout has been very low so far, just 1.5% of voters according to the city clerk speaking to NMpolitics.net.

And a Susana Martinez-linked SuperPAC has spent more than $7,500 on ads against progressive candidates and actions targeted to turning out their conservative base.

Tea Party candidates have their eye on expanding their seats on the council which has recently been a champion for clean energy, immigrant protection and minimum wage.  That means progressives who’ve led those fights are particularly vulnerable.

From Heath Haussamen at NMpolitics.net:

People backed by progressives have held the majority of elected seats in city government in Las Cruces for a decade. Ceil Levatino, who Flores is attempting to unseat this year, is the only Republican on the city council. Progressives have built such power by consistently organizing and getting out their voters — and their influence has been felt beyond city government in school board, soil and water district, and state-level elections.

Left-leaning activism has also spiked in Las Cruces this year. It has been visible in events including the women’s march in January that drew 1,500 people. Thus far in the Las Cruces election, progressive-backed candidates lead in fundraising in all three council races.

All of that has progressives sounding confident about the city election.

“Voters have turned out more and more to support good progressive candidates by wide margins at all levels in recent elections in Doña Ana County,” said ProgressNow’s Lucas Herndon. “We’ve seen the progressive base grow and empower leaders, which in turn builds wider support and solid infrastructure.”…

On the conservative side, the political action committee Advance Las Cruces is backing Levatino and Steve Montanez, one of two candidates trying to unseat Sorg in District 5. In a recent fundraising email, the group referred to progressive control of Las Cruces as a “dire” situation.

Whether you live in a district where you get to cast a vote in these pivotal progressive-conservative races, or just get to vote for judge citywide, check out ProgressNowNM’s Progressive Champions PAC’s Las Cruces Voter Guide to see the candidates who want to serve Las Cruces on the council, find the progressive champions our PAC has endorsed, then go vote (or share with someone in those districts who can).

Early voting is underway at the city clerk’s office, and Election Day is Tuesday November 7th.

Find a full voter guide at the link below.

Progressive Champions PAC Las Cruces 2017 Municipal Voter Guide

Why vote?!

Need some encouragement or a reminder why voting is important and why your vote counts? We’ve asked New Mexicans if they’re voting in their respective elections – the videos below are just a few examples of folks who have voted or are planning to. Press play, pick your favorite one and share it on social media, then go vote!

Want to share your own? Just film your own, tell us why you are voting in these elections and post them online.  Use the hashtag #nmpol and tag @progressnownm (or email carlos@progressnownm.org and we’ll help!)