Primary Voter Guide on State & Select Local Races

Aside from a brief reminder about tonight’s Zoominar, today’s post is dedicated to the 2020 New Mexico primary election, a week from today. If you’ve got time, we’ve got candidates who could use your support.

Tuesday, May 26, 6:30 – 8:00 pm. Conversation with NM Voices for Children About the NM State Budget Crisis with Amber Wallin, Deputy Director; Bill Jordan, Government Relations Officer; and Paige Knight, Research and Policy Analyst. Joining this panel will be Rep. Javier Martinez, chair of the House Tax & Revenue Committee.MLK Jr. said that “a budget is a moral document,” and New Mexico faces a budget crisis that will force difficult choices. We would like to see a strong economic justice lens focused squarely on each choice, but to advocate effectively for a budget requires an understanding of the choices.

We will discuss the dire state of the NM state budget due to plummeting gas and oil prices and the economic impact of Covid-19 with some of the most informed people in NM. Central to the discussion will be how tax policy over several administrations has created a very regressive tax system by passing a series of tax giveaways that have starved the state of needed tax revenue. We will explore how the state can use federal relief funds, its “rainy day” fund, the Permanent Fund, and changes in tax policy to shore up our budget and avoid significant cuts to our safety net, health care, social services, early childhood, and education systems. Most importantly we will offer suggestions for how you can effectively raise your voice. And that voice will most certainly be needed. Please share this Zoominar info with others. Click here to register.

New Mexico Primary
Voters Guide


Last election, we produced a Voter Guide with a list of candidates receiving Retake endorsements. This year, we’ve created two categories of support: 1) Endorsement, where we did a full vetting of the candidates, their policy positions, contributors, and voting records (available only for incumbents), producing a detailed endorsement statement. 2) Recommendation: For some races, voters may not have received much info, especially down-ballot races. We have tried to assemble a few recommendations on those races, but we did not do our own research. We consulted with allies to look for trends, and then made recommendations. Off to the races!!!

US Congress: CD- 3

We endorse Teresa Leger Fernandez. To read our endorsement statement, click here.

This race has obviously attracted a good deal of interest and it has demonstrated clearly how the influence of dark money can poison a race that otherwise had been entirely positive.

Money has poured into the state with tons of ads. There are a good many PACs who endorse Teresa Leger Fernandez, some of them outside of NM. I’ve seen ads funded by some of these PACs that are quite benign and positive. But there have also been some truly despicable ads. Teresa and her campaign staff have no connection to or control over these independent PACs. Bottom line, we should pass Citizens United to eliminate all money from elections, not just dark money. That may be why End Citizens United has endorsed Leger Fernandez.

In response to questions from the New Mexican Leger Fernandez said:

“I have issued statements that say I denounce dark money … and that indeed my work has been recognized, has always been about addressing campaign finance reform. That’s why End Citizens United endorsed me,”

Santa Fe New Mexican: Teresa Leger Fernandez

You may prefer one of the other candidates. We can understand that. There are many good candidates in this race. But, if you were leaning toward voting for Leger Fernandez, I really hope you do not allow these outside ads to change your mind. There isn’t a candidate in this race who would approve of much of what is going on. This is not a New Mexico problem or a Leger Fernandez problem, it is a USA problem and it needs to be fixed. And from Retake’s perspective, Teresa Leger Fernandez is the person most capable of helping fix what is wrong with election politics. That is why she is endorsed by so many election reform groups.

And in a candidate forum on Thursday, she said:

““OK, let me say one more time that a candidate cannot communicate, direct or control a third party — so if EMILY’s List or Women’s Vote wants to spend some money, they can do it. I can say, yes, I don’t like dark money. That’s the way the law is now. They’re asking me to do something that I actually don’t have the power to do.”

This infusion of money from out of state is not restricted to CD-3. In CD-2 Claire Chase is being bombarded with misleading ads in her GOP race against Yvette Herrell. Who is paying for the ads? The Patriot Majority PAC, a liberal out-of- state group who feels that Herrell is the easier candidate to beat in a challenge of Rep. Xochitl Torres Small.

It is bad enough that we have Russia trying to influence our votes and the mainstream media failing to produce issue-focused analysis of various policy alternatives. On top of that we have a flood of last-minute misinformation undermining campaigns that had otherwise been issue-focused and dignified.

How is a voter possibly supposed to make an informed decision when the information they receive comes from obscure sources that prey on emotions and biases? We need to end Citizens United. We need Teresa Leger Fernandez to add her voice in Congress to advance that goal. She certainly now has enough direct experience with the negative impact of dark money.

NM State Legislative Races

For many months, Retake has reiterated the critical need to Fix the NM State Senate. The Senate has a handful of Democrats In Name Only (DINOs) and a number of moderate Dems who can be counted on to side with Republicans on critical votes. Together they have served as a formidable impediment to passing progressive legislation. They have killed many great bills, with abortion decriminalization, marijuana legalization, and regulation of the gas and oil industry at the top of the list.

I have good news. Yesterday I spoke with someone very close to these races statewide. I was told that in Senate Districts 28, 30, and 5, the challengers are in good shape with solid campaigns running. No guarantees of wins, but in good shape. I was also told that both Neomi Martinez-Parra and Carrie Hamblen have solid shots at upsetting incumbents Sen. John Arthur Smith and Sen. Mary Kay Papen. And I was told that the remaining Senate challengers also could pull upsets. So the races in the State Senate are absolutely critical.

If you can spare $10 or $1,000, now is the time to give to one of the campaigns below. If you can summon up the effort, phone calls are immensely important in this Covid world. Primaries can be won by 10 or 20 votes and very often are just that close, especially in more rural districts.

Last election, Retake folks canvassed every weekend for Rep. Abbas Akhil, and he won by just 62 votes. It was a very good feeling being part of that. Imagine what it would feel like to learn that when the ballots are counted, we had taken four or five of the Senate races below. Ponder how much more could get done in the 2021 Session. Consider the message that would be sent to any remaining DINO legislators.

So, if you have either time or money to spare, click here to find contact info for all of these races.

NM State Senate Races

Sen. Dist. 4: Retake endorses Noreen Kelly, challenging Sen. George Muñoz. Click here to read our endorsement statement.

Sen. Dist. 5: Retake endorses Leo Jaramillo, challenging Sen. Richard Martinez. Click here to read our endorsement statement.

Sen. Dist. 28: Retake endorses Siah Correra Hemphill, challenging Sen. Gabe Ramos. Click here to read our endorsement statement.

Sen. Dist. 30: Retake endorses Pam Cordova, challenging Sen. Clemente Sanchez. Click here to read our endorsement statement.

Sen. Dist. 35: Retake endorses Neomi Martinez-Parra, challenging Sen. John Arthur Smith. Click here to read our endorsement statement.

Sen. Dist. 38: Retake endorses Carrie Hamblen, challenging Sen. Mary Kay Papen. Click here to read our endorsement statement.


Here are our recommendations gleaned from conversations with trusted allies. There are some candidates who we strongly support but who have no challenger in the primary or are in such safe districts there is no need for an endorsement. We would rather you put your energy where it matters. Sen. Peter Wirth does not need you to make calls on his behalf.

NM State Senate

  • Dist. 3: Shannon Pinto faces two Democratic challengers. We’d like to retain this young Indigenous woman in the Senate, the granddaughter of the late Sen. John Pinto. She achieved a 100% voting record on Retake bills in her first legislative session.
  • Dist. 8: Connie Trujillo vs. Sen. Pete Campos. We opted to recommend Trujillo based upon Sen. Campos’ very bad vote on HB 51, abortion decriminalization, and because she has strong support among Democrats in Las Vegas who we trust.
  • Dist. 17: Sen. Mimi Stewart. As Democratic Party Whip, Sen. Stewart plays an important role in marshaling bills through the Senate. With the Senate DINO stranglehold gone, she could do so much more. She is being challenged by Shannon Robinson, whose interview responses are compelling and progressive, but don’t be fooled by his responses. As a NM State Senator, he voted more in the interests of his donors (insurance, banks and payday lenders than in the interests of constituents. We need Stewart’s experience and leadership, not another DINO.
  • Dist. 20: Rebecca “Puck” Stair faces two other Democratic candidates in the primary. Stair hopes to take the seat of retiring Republican William Payne. This Senate seat represents a solid opportunity to help “Fix the Senate” by paring away the number of GOP Senators who caucus with Senate DINOs. Stair was on Retake’s tour of Chaco Area fracking last fall with Roxanne and I for a full day, she has been to our meetings in Santa Fe, and she has been an active participant in our Zoominars. She is progressive, articulate, and responsive.

NM House

  • Dist. 13: Patricia Roybal Caballero. Roybal Caballero is a fierce advocate on progressive initiatives and warrants our support.
  • Dist. 17: Debbie Armstrong. The list of bills she introduced in 2020 looks like a “Who’s Who” of progressive healthcare bills, plus, in 2019 and 2020, she voted with Retake 100% of the time on our priority bills.
  • Dist. 40: Roger Montoya is co-founder and artistic director of Moving Arts Española. Late last year Montoya received an award as one of 2019’s Top 10 CNN Heroes, along with $10,000 for the nonprofit. He is endorsed by a large number of progressive leaders and organizations.
  • Dist. 41: Kristina Ortez, Executive Director of the Taos Land Trust, is endorsed by virtually every progressive organization in the state. A great candidate. This was Bobbie Gonzales’ House seat before he was appointed to replace the late Sen. Cisneros.
  • Dist. 45: Linda Serrato. With five candidates running in this Dem. primary, we were torn between Carmichael Dominquez and Serrato, but in the end were swayed by endorsements from Working Families Party, Sierra Club, CVNM, and Olé, among others.
  • Dist. 50: Matthew McQueen. McQueen is solid as a legislator and very open. He worked with a group of students to develop HB 173 an innovative gas tax that would have paid to restore our roads while also generating funds for renewable infrastructure, a great idea. You can never have too many legislators like McQueen. The main qualification of his opponent, Becky King-Spindle, seems to be that she is the granddaughter of the late Gov. Bruce King. A review of her ABQ Journal interview revealed a significant lack of grasp of the issues.
  • Dist. 65: Derek Lente. Lente, the incumbent, is a solid legislator facing off with James Roger Madalena, who previously held the seat for over 30 years. During that time, Madalena voted to reduce corporate taxes, voted to prevent the state from regulating gas and oil, and voted to authorize carrying a firearm in a place that serves alcohol. Lente, on the other hand, voted in support of Retake bills in 2020 17 times (94%).
  • Dist. 70: Anita Gonzalez is running to replace retiring Rep. Tomas Salazar and faces two Democratic opponents in the primary. With no votes to examine, we relied on her endorsements from Conservation Voters NM and Planned Parenthood. I also listened to the YUCCA Dist. 70 candidate forum and was impressed.

County Races

There was simply no way to devote sufficient time to fully investigate these races, but we’ve added a bit more information than was included in last week’s announcements of these Recommendations.

  • Bernalillo County Treasurer: Nancy Bearce, endorsed by Working Families Party and Olé.
  • Bernalillo County Commission, Dist. 2: Frank Baca, endorsed by Working Families Party and Olé.
  • Bernalillo County Commission, Dist. 3: Adriann Barboa, a solid choice. She is a tireless advocate at the Roundhouse (Strong Families NM). She would be a dynamo as a Commissioner. Endorsed by Working Families Party and Olé.
  • Grant County Commission, Dist. 54: Harry Browne, strongly backed by Silver City activists.
  • Santa Fe County Clerk: Katharine Clark, active in the Dem Party for many years, puts in the hours, knows the system, supported Ranked Choice Voting, and will be an excellent clerk.
  • Santa Fe County Commission, Dist. 5: Hank Hughes, Co-founder of the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness.
  • Torrance County Commission, Dist 3: Augustine Montoya, endorsed by Working Families Party.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne…..LET’S GET THIS DONE!!!!!!

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5 replies

  1. Am sorry you didn’t endorse a candidate for SF County Treasurer: there is only one cogent, progressive and viable candidate: Lucinda Marker. Lucinda will make a difference in the future of our County for decades. She will be focusing on restructuring the investments that can be made for the county —and the citizens—with climate as. a core focus for these investments. Lucinda will focus on how to improve property tax systems for the taxpayers in the county. It should be about thinking forward—not standing still! Lucinda Marker,SF County Treasurer— Endorsed by the Sierra Club!

    • Thanks, Carol. We simply couldn’t get to that race. But maybe after our zoominar tonight we can do so. Now if we had a staff!!!!!

  2. I hope you will look into the dreadful record and reputation of Shannon Robinson before considering endorsing him. There were good reasons progressives worked to defeat him before.

  3. Who do you recommend for PRC?


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