Today’s post covers what you can do to impact national elections in other states and NM’s federal elections, including recommendations on who to support and how. In our next post, we will examine 8-9 key State House races.A quick note: our democracy is seriously flawed, money has perverted campaigns and mainstream media misrepresents the candidates and the stakes. Many have given up on the election process. And while our country is in a steep decline nationally, there are very real and important opportunities to slow that decline. At a state level, we have an absolute opportunity to play offense for once.
The stakes are too high to sit at home and just voting is not enough. Hook up with a pal or two and pick a race or two, get out of your comfort zone and do something to help save our future and our planet. The video at the end of this post shows clearly how a small group of people can impact a close race. Let’s do this.
Retake Our Democracy 2018 General Election Strategy
Retake Our Democracy has developed a 2018 General Election Strategy that is designed to make it easier for New Mexicans to target their time and donations strategically. Our strategy is not to pick 3-4 races and then coordinate canvassing and calling, but rather to do the research on national, statewide and local races, identify key, high impact races where an infusion of canvassing, calling and contributions could make a significant difference in races that are highly competitive.
During the primary election, Retake used this strategy and focused on defeating Debbie Rodella and Carl Trujillo in House races and in defeating Lynda Lovejoy and Sandy Jones in Public Regulation Commission races. Mission accomplished, as all four candidates were defeated.
We are now reporting on our General Election strategy in two successive posts, with the first being today. Today’s post will focus on campaigns for national office with candidates in NM and outside NM, as it is increasingly easy for you to select a candidate anywhere in the US and provide meaningful support. Today’s blog will also report on the races for Governor, State Land Commission and the Public Regulation Commission race in District 5 (Steve Fischmann).
Our next post will then focus on 6-9 NM Roundhouse races, with a focus on races where there is a real opportunity for Democrats to elect not just Democrats to take previously GOP-held districts, but progressive Democrats. In most of these races, we have been told that these races are very winnable….with an active volunteer and/or donor base.
Campaigns for National Offices with New Mexico Candidates
In New Mexico, we are fortunate to have mostly safe Democratic seats at the Federal level, allowing voters/volunteers/donors to focus their time and resources on other more competitive races. There is one competitive race in NM House District 2 and that represents a potential ‘take-away’ from the GOP. That race and the other NM Federal candidates are summarized below along with a description of how NM voters can get involved with other federal elections in other states through SwingLeft. The post then addresses three key state races candidates and concludes with a video highlighting the dramatic impact that SwingLeft is having and how anyone can access it. The video is most worth watching as it shows how once reluctant, even fearful voters, overcame those fears and came to absolutely love canvassing, the precise experience I had. If you want to have a truly meaningful experience and directly impact a close race, there is nothing you can do more important than getting out of your comfort zone and canvassing.
US Senate. Martin Heinrich. We’ve had some disagreements about a few Heinrich votes and as with all our US representatives we would like to see more bold leadership in advancing Medicare for All, Democratic Party reform, peace in Palestine, tuition free college and a host of other issues. Nonetheless, Heinrich is head and shoulders above his GOP candidate and I am guessing Gary Johnson will also not mount much of a challenge. Click here to find out more on his positions and his campaign.
District 1. Deb Haaland. It is no secret that Haaland and I have butted heads when she was the DPNM chair, but I’ve been following her at a distance and I respect her strong position in relation to Medicare for All, transition to renewable energy, her strong stand for Palestine and her favoring a return to post WWII income tax rates. Together these clearly stated positions represent a strong statement for achieving peace in the Middle East and addressing economic, social and racial injustice. In short, there is a good deal to like and it is time to move on from the 2016 primary. Click here to find out more about Haaland’s campaign and her positions.
District 2. Xochitl Torres Small. In Northern NM, we have largely safe seats for Congress and Senate. In Southern NM, we have a decided opportunity to take a seat and so for those of you who want to participate in ensuring that NM has ONLY Democratic representatives in the House, I’d encourage you to reach out to Xochitl Torres Small and see what you can do. Click here to see her video and find out about how you can support her campaign. It is a bit of a drive for our Taos, ABQ and Santa Fe supporters, but phone calls and contributions are also needed. For our supporters in Silver City and Las Cruces, this is a real opportunity to get something important done.
District 3. Ben Ray Lujan. Lujan is beyond safe and while he will certainly campaign, our disagreements about the DCCC and his refusal to endorse Medicare for All aside, we still feel that you can find more impactful places to invest your time and resources. His seat is entirely safe. Click here to find out more on his campaign.
Important Campaigns for State and National Offices Outside New Mexico
Swing Left. If you are interested in being involved in key campaigns outside New Mexico, you can do no better than to work through Swing Left.org. Swing Left is a very sophisticated web-based system of support with a national scope. You plug in your zip code and it will tell you where the closest swing district is, provide you info on the candidate and the race, and help you get involved in that campaign. Swing Left claims that 75% of voters live within 50 miles of a swing district. This is a great site to share with friends in other states. At the bottom of this post is a short video describing the remarkable impact that Swing Left is having. Click here for more information on Swing Left.
Beto O’Rourke. Texas Senate. While the focus of SwingLeft is on the Congress, there are a few races outside NM that are really resonating nationally: Beto O’Rourke in his neck and neck battle with Ted Cruz comes first to mind. A win by O’Rourke would send shock waves through the GOP, but despite a huge infusion of dark money, O’Rourke remains within a point or two. Click here for more on that race and how you can contribute.
Andrew Gillum, Florida Governor. Running an unabashedly progressive campaign, Gillum stunned the pollsters winning the Democratic Party nomination for Governor. The GOP did him a favor and chose Ron DeSantis as their pick. An unapologetic, over the top Trump supporter, he may be too conservative even for Florida. But neo-Nazis have begun robo calls attacking Gillum and you can bet that Trump will step up his tweets, as well. This is another national race that could send a clear message AND make progressive change possible in Florida. Click here for information on Gillum and his campaign.
Stacy Abrams, Georgia Governor. It is almost inconceivable that in three solid red southern states, strong progressive Democrats could win huge races and initiate a transformation not only of Southern politics but of national politics. If you want to learn more about this race, click here. If you want information about how you can support her campaign, click here.
New Mexico State Races
Michelle Lujan Grisham. Governor. If you are as sick as I am of playing defense, of considering a successful Roundhouse session to be one where we have prevented passage of the death penalty and stalled efforts to ban a woman’s right to choose, then the next two months are critical times. We have a chance to strengthen Democratic hold on the State House and to elect a Democrat Governor. And if we achieve that, so much is possible that has been utterly impossible for eight long years.
A word about voting, I have stated repeatedly that voting for and even actively supporting a candidate does not mean you are entirely charmed with all of a candidate’s positions. It means that given the choices, you’d rather operate in a political environment with one candidate in office than his/her opponent.
Nowhere is there a more obvious instance of the need to very actively support a candidate where progressives may be disappointed, than in the race for Governor. We have suffered under a buffoon as Governor for 8 years, reactionary and insensitive to the core. But she was not terribly competent and so she caused far less damage than was possible. Steve Pearce is not a buffoon and, if elected, he could inflict real damage on our state. And yet inexplicably, the race is close.
Michelle Lujan Grisham is taking money from gas and oil, she has disparaged progressives unnecessarily, calling us “idiots” and she has been running an uninspiring campaign. Yet, there is absolutely no question that Lujan Grisham would be more inclined to support and sign the Health Security Act, significantly increase funding for education, increase our commitment to renewable energy, and finally develop a quality pre-K system. Steve Pearce would not. And yet the race is close and so I am asking Retake supporters to find time to actively support her campaign. It is simply too important to stand on the sidelines.
State Commissioner of Public Lands
The New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands is an elected constitutional officer in the state executive branch in charge of managing all state lands and mineral rights, as well as overseeing leases and royalties on state land, in New Mexico. In these times it is vitally important to have a true guardian of the planet, not someone seeking to get a good return on the destruction of public land by the extractive industry. The Choice for Commissioner of Public Lands is an easy one.
Dem. Stephanie Garcia Richard. Garcia Richard has served three terms in the NM House of Representatives, representing Los Alamos County, District 43 where she was a tireless advocate for public education.
GOP Patrick Lyons. Lyons served for seven years on the Public Regulation Commission where he was a tireless advocate and doormat for gas and oil generally and PNM specifically.
This is not a difficult choice at all and in a real democracy, Garcia Richards would win in a landslide. But expect Lyons to benefit from huge contributions from the gas and oil industries. We strongly recommend that you support Garcia Richards.
Public Regulation Commission District 5
Aside from the Governor’s race, we feel that this race is the single most important race in the state. In Roundhouse races, the choice between one candidate or the other represents one of seventy House Representatives. At the PRC this election is for one of five seats and, as constituted’ two PRC commissioners are strong environmentalists and three are consistent supporters of the extractive industries and nuclear energy.
Steve Fischmann. Dem. Fischmann is a strong environmentalist, served in the NM State Senate and understands the issues at stake at the PRC. He will not just be a solid vote for the planet, he will be an inspiring leader on the PRC.
Ben Hall GOP. From the Las Cruces Sun News Editorial Board: “Hall served on the PRC from 2010 to 2014… But he never seemed to have a vision for the PRC then or now.” – Las Cruces Sun News Editorial Board primary endorsements (5/30/2018). Hall still touts coal as a preferred source of electric power. This despite the fact that coal plants around the country are closing down because they cannot compete in open markets with renewables and gas. As recently as May 17, the Deming Headlight quotes Hall in an interview “…coal is the cheapest way to go.”
Electing Fischmann would create a 3-2 majority for environmentalists and that will be huge. Since 2016, New Energy Economy has tirelessly advocated on behalf of rate payers and the planet. Since 2016, NEE has won over the PRC hearing examiners every single time and every single time the PRC commissioners overturned NEE and the hearing examiners. If Fischmann is elected, the PRC will uphold the hearing examiners. There is a reason that PNM spent $400K to try to defeat Fischmann in the primary and you can bet they will find a way to pour more money into this race now, only perhaps with a bit more subtlety. The nearest community to Santa Fe and ABQ that is within Steve’s district is in Los Lunas but for our supporters in Las Cruces and Silver City you are part of Steve’s district. We need a win here folks, so please share this with friends in District 5.
By far the most impactful thing you can do to support Fischmann is to canvass on his behalf, but if this is too distant, please consider making calls and contributions. This is just too important a race to stand on the sidelines. Click here to get in touch with Fischmann’s campaign.
Swing Left: Ten Minutes of Inspiring Information on How You Can Help Retake the US House