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. The three volunteers handing out campaign lit nearby came up to talk.
After they told us the “painted on” sign came from the campaign office like that, we became interested.
When they started explaining why her campaign didn’t want to be identified with the Republican Party, we hit record.
“It’s not a good thing for them to know”
In case you missed it, that’s one of Duran’s campaign team saying that being associated with Republicans is “Bad print, bad in print.”
And the female volunteer reminds us that “probably in Northern New Mexico, it would not be a good thing for them to know. Do you think?” Northern New Mexico is home to some of the country’s oldest Native American and Spanish-American families. It includes Santa Fe, Las Vegas and Gallup, among others. It’s the state’s most Democratic region, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan (D) beat a Republican opponent in 2012 by almost 70,000 votes (63/36%) in that district.
“They get a little fussy sometimes”
Later we asked again about the sign which the volunteers said had been painted over to remove the word “Republican”:
Democrats “get a little fussy sometimes” says the male volunteer. “She needs all the help she can get.”
Why would Duran be ashamed to be identified as a Republican?
Maybe it’s because women in her party co-sponsored a bill in 2013 to classify womens’ uteruses as evidence and to send rape victims to jail if they sought an abortion to end a pregnancy resulting from that rape. Or maybe it’s because Republicans were caught training poll watchers to turn away handicapped and Spanish-speaking citizens from New Mexico’s polling places in 2012. Or because fewer voters are identifying and registering with the Republican party than at any point in the past 25 years. Less than 1/3 of New Mexicans are currently registered as Republicans.