New Mexico Elections Show the Rest of the Country How It’s Done

Barry Blitt’s New Yorker cover, “Welcome To Congress”, has gone viral and it’s no surprise why- the cover shows Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-5), and Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk Nation) (KS-3) with a crowd of brown people behind them at a door, about to walk into a room full of white men. This is a bittersweet moment for people of color across the country- until the late 1960s, ALL American citizens were not able to vote. The legal and physical battles fought to vote were (and are) hard, bloody, and racist. In New Mexico, we have taken Blitt’s concept to the max- the Roundhouse will see a lot of newcomers, mostly women of color and including the first ever Muslim to serve in the legislature, taking their seat on the House Floor. New Mexico has a long history of racism and sexism, especially during the time New Mexico was vying for statehood.

Too Much At Stake To Not Vote

There’s plenty of reasons people use to excuse themselves from not voting. But in case you need a reminder of why every vote, and especially your vote is important, we simply need to look at our state’s national rankings on everything from education to healthcare. That’s right, we are last in everything! In fact, New Mexico was recently ranked 51st in the nation in terms of our level of political engagement.   

A highly engaged electorate that participates in the democratic process and holds our elected officials accountable is critical to having a well-functioning democracy.

Straight ticket voting helps voters: It’s constitutional

On August 29, New Mexico Secretary of State, Maggie Toulouse Oliver, announced that she will reinstate straight party voting.  Why would New Mexicans be against something that can make voting easier? The Republican Party of New Mexico says that this is a partisan move that will only help Democrats down the ballot- but are Republicans not also a major party in New Mexico?  Not to mention the Libertarians will have a spot just for them at the top of the ballot. The GOP joined a lawsuit along with the Libs and other smaller parties to stop the move from being instituted by the SOS.

Nationwide primary trends show Blue Wave is gathering. Oh, and Missouri voters REJECT RTW outright

Yesterday was Election Day in Washington, Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, and Missouri and while not every progressive candidate won major landslide victories, across the country gains were made.  More women and people of color were running than ever before and their continued successes means that, while our federal system was created to take time to change, change is coming! One of the races progressive poll watchers are most excited for is Sharice Davids, who is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and an out lesbian. After winning her primary yesterday, she will face off against Representative Kevin Yoder (R) in Kansas’s Third Congressional District in November.  In Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer won a three-way primary that included two men of color.

So that Russian spy that was just arrested? Turns out she lived with a guy that Steve Pearce may know

For now, we know that Pearce likely knows Erickson, the man who lived with and connected a young Russian woman accused of using her influence to further financial and political sway between pro-gun Russian and US organizations and activists. What role Erickson has ever played for Pearce directly is unknown, but given the congressman’s deep pockets and generous donations from the NRA over the last decade, it’s certainly worth considering.

NEW: Steve Pearce will run for governor in 2018

Pearce, one of the richest members of Congress, has also staked out some of the most extreme positions on issues voters outside of his conservative leaning Southern New Mexico Congressional district aren’t likely to agree with, like saying poor seniors should stay healthy until they are old enough for Medicaid, or that women should “voluntarily submit” to their husbands.

Ben Ray Lujan: Republicans helping Democrats pick up seats in 2018

Steve Pearce isn’t the only New Mexican in Congress in good spirits this week.  Ben Ray Lujan, Congressman representing New Mexico’s northern district, is the chair of the committee responsible for recruiting candidates for Congress and his predictions for Democratic wins in 2018 got a lot rosier this week. 

From The New Mexico Political Report:
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of Nambe is going to be a key figure for Democrats in the next election cycle. That’s because he’s the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. As such, he’s tasked with aiding Democrats in their pursuit of retaking the U.S. House of Representatives—and while he won’t say if he’s confident Democrats will do so in the 2018 midterms, he says they will pick up seats… “It’s too early to know what’s going to happen in November of 2018, but I can tell you Democrats in the House are on offensive, and there’s no question that we will pick up seats in 2018,” he said according to the paper.

Gov. Steve Pearce? Trump victory gives Pearce new inspiration

Gov. Martinez is a lame duck and her approval ratings are below 50% and stuck there. That’s not good news for her future political prospects but it does mean candidates who want to take over have a ready narrative: I can fix what she couldn’t. New Mexico’s lone Republican Congressman thinks that – coupled with Trump’s victory – might give him the statewide edge he didn’t have when he ran for US Senate against now-Senator Tom Udall. Here’s the math that Pearce is likely considering
Pearce easily won reelection this year with 142,773 votes (62%) of support from his Southern New Mexico Congressional District.  If he can consolidate that support and expand it to include the 94,874 Trump voters in heavily-populated Bernalillo County, Pearce could lock up 80% of Governor Martinez’s 293,000 statewide re-election votes in 2014.