ProgressNow NM Names Big Election Day Winners!

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Tuesday night was another HUGE night for female candidates, public schools and progressive values up and down New Mexico ballots! Are you confused about ranked-choice races and races that resulted in a run-off? No worries! We’re here to give you the scoop on top races we watched. It’s time for an election rundown!

City Council Winners (For sure, no runoff!)

In Las Cruces, under the new Ranked Choice system, Johanna Bencomo and Tessa Abeyta Stuve both won election to seats being vacated by incumbents. Abeyta Stuve’s race was close in the first round, but after the instant runoff results, she easily cleared the 50 percent-plus one margin. 

Kassandra Gandara was also reelected to her position on the council, meaning the council now seats four women, all of whom are women of color. Also, with the addition of Bencomo and Abeyta Stuve, there are now three seats held by people 35 years old or younger. Pretty rad! 

Pat Davis was re-elected to his Albuquerque City Council seat that encompasses the International District, keeping Pat as one of two City Counselors from the LGBTQ community. 

Another incumbent, yet a face we’re happy to see back in office is Renee Villarreal who earned her seat back on the Santa Fe City Council.

Ranked Choice and the Las Cruces Mayoral Election

And a note on the success of Ranked Choice in general. Las Cruces boasted a WHOPPING ten candidates in their mayoral election this year, and it took ALL NINE rounds of instant runoff to produce a majority candidate. Ken Miyagishima won his fourth election and held a pretty solid lead from the early numbers but it was pretty cool to see all ten candidates have their moment of affecting the overall outcome. 

City Council Run-Offs (ABQ)

It looks like conservatives have caught on to the fact that the public trusts women in political office; they ran a female candidate in Albuquerque City Council District 4 against progressive champion Ane Romero. What boggles us is the fact that conservatives don’t even trust women to make decisions about their own bodies …so will they ever trust them to rise in the conservative ranks? This race goes to the run-off elections, to be held on December 10.

The other Albuquerque City Council Race heading to a run-off is the contested Albuquerque City Council District 2 race between incumbent Ike Benton and Zack Quintero. The race will be interesting now that voters will only have two choices, instead of a crowded, 6-way primary. This race will also be decided during the December 10 run-off election. 

School Boards (Statewide races we watched)

We have a deep respect for candidates who believe in our public schools and fight tirelessly against privatization. We wanted to highlight a few school board races we were watching and congratulate the following candidates who won their races yesterday! 

Barbara Petersen, ABQ School Board

Carmen Gonzales, Santa Fe School Board

Christine Bernstein, Los Alamos School Board

Hilda Sanchez, Roswell School Board

Teresa Tenorio, Las Cruces School Board

Yolanda Cordova, ABQ School Board

And now… drumroll please… THE BIG ELECTION NIGHT WINNERS?

  1. New Mexico’s public schools. So many school boards saw new, fresh faces or returning progressives who believe in the future of our schools. Additionally, the school bonds and mill levies passed, helping to ensure that many of our schools get the much-needed renovation that our students deserve, including the replacement of old water pipes, and work on old HVAC systems to ensure that our kids and educators aren’t cold in the winter and hot in the summer.

  2. The City of Las Cruces. Two new, young, women of color were elected to the City Council. One becomes the second immigrant to serve on the board, the other becomes the FIRST woman with school-age kids to ever serve. They also re-elected another woman of color, which means that four out of seven seats are now held by women of color. More, they re-elected a mayor who is of both Latino and Japanese descent and three of our council are 35 or younger.  Say whaat?! 

Other Shout-Outs!

In Doña Ana County, the Soil and Water Conservation District will be adding a new progressive-leaning member to its board, meaning three of the five sitting board members lean toward actual conservation, rather than extraction and industry. Every election matters! 

Let’s get real, all our families have ups and downs and it’s important that our community is there to provide support. We’re really moved that our Albuquerque community believes in a 24/7 homeless shelter, a progressive funding initiative that passed last night. 

Last, but certainly not least, we want to give a shout out to the Democracy Dollars initiative, led by OLÉ, Working Families, Common Cause and so many of our progressive partners. This Burque initiative was endorsed by Presidential candidates Warren, Castro, and Sanders and elevated our state to a national stage while shining a light on the need to eradicate big money from politics. While it lost by a narrow margin, the ground game on this campaign allowed progressive partners to talk to thousands of families about the importance of a more participatory democracy.

Let us know if we missed a race that YOU were watching and we’ll be sure to highlight it on social media! Tag us on Twitter! @ProgressNowNM