Pam Cordova Challenges Senator Clemente Sanchez In Senate District 30

Talk about an easy endorsement. Senator Clemente Sanchez has been a persistent impediment to such important ideas as public banking, tax reform, health security, gun violence prevention, and unions…in short anything his corporate contributors find troublesome.

And then we have Pam Cordova, a union member and teacher for 25 years, former chair of the NM Federation of Democratic Women, and an advocate for the health security act, education, unions, and a woman’s right to choose.

Below, we offer good reasons why you should not just vote for Pam, but also volunteer for or contribute to her campaign. But first, a look at the incumbent, Senator Clemente Sanchez.

Why NOT Vote for Senator Sanchez

In the 2019 Legislative Session, Senator Sanchez, District 30, voted NO on the Senate Floor on the following bills:

  • HB 51 Decriminalize Abortion
  • SB 76 Prohibit Coyote Killing Contests
  • HB 85 Union Security Agreements.
  • SB 8 Firearm Sale Background Check
  • He voted with Sen. Papen to table SM 5 Study State-Owned Bank in Senate Rules, killing the bill.

Also in 2019, four Retake Our Democracy priority bills died in the committee he chairs, Senate Corporations & Transportation, without being heard, including three key energy bills. Sen. Sanchez is another conservative Democrat who too often votes with the GOP to kill good legislation.

Like Senators Papen and Smith, his influence extends far beyond his votes. As we noted in our endorsement statement for Neomi Martinez-Parra, who is challenging Sen. John Arthur Smith, to get any energy bill to the Governor’s desk it must pass Senate Corporations and/or Senator Smith’s Senate Finance Committee first. So energy bills and any bills that impact the corporate sector must be tailored to get the approval of Senators Sanchez and Smith.

Sen. Sanchez’s ties to the finance and commerce industries are documented in a summary of his 2020 campaign contributions below. He was president, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of the Bank of New Mexico, which was recently purchased by TBK Bank, where he is now Senior VP. Financial industry support for Sanchez paid off handsomely when he joined Sen. Papen and Republicans by voting to table SM 5 in 2019, the public banking memorial that would have created a study of the viability of a state public bank — not a popular idea among bankers.

In the 2020 legislative session, Sanchez continued to carry water for industry rather than his constituents, voting no on SB 5 Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order. And he sponsored SB 208, which would have imposed penalties for “false” testimony from victims of domestic violence, seeking to create barriers to women raising their voices. He also voted no on SB 95, which would have created a Radioactive Waste Task Force to study the risks New Mexicans face from radioactive waste. Any regulation that may have come from this Task Force would not have been popular among industry.

Finally, Sen. Sanchez found time in a busy 2020 session to co-sponsor SB 274. This bill, according to the Financial Impact Report (FIR), would have postponed by 5 years the implementation of a new top-income tax bracket of 5.9% passed into law with 2019’s House Bill 6. Who would benefit from delaying the creation of this new top bracket? According to the FIR, the bracket includes single filers with taxable incomes over $210,000, and married filing jointly and head-of-household filers with taxable incomes over $315,000. And how much would this giveaway have cost the state? $200 million between now and 2026. Those funds would have benefited the wealthiest 3% of New Mexicans.

Why would any legislator in an election year want their name on a bill like SB 274? The answer can be found in who Sen. Sanchez considers his true constituents. Sanchez and his campaign backers have always been a who’s who of big business — the ones who can pay off lobbyists to push to keep the minimum wage down, shift tax burdens to the middle class, and minimize regulations. 

Sixty-five percent of Sanchez’s 2020 campaign donations have come from Energy, Finance, Insurance, Transportation, General Business, and Transportation sectors, with Oil & Gas the top contributor according to And now, there are at least two SuperPACs spending almost half a million dollars to keep Senator Sanchez in the State Senate so he can keep doing their bidding. Nearly half of his 2020 campaign donations came from out of state, and just 10% from individuals. As a result of his loyalty to industry, Sen. Sanchez enjoys a 100% rating from the Association of Industry and Commerce.

Why Vote for Pam Cordova

Fortunately, we have an alternative: Pam Cordova. Pam is a retired teacher who taught high school and at-risk students in Valencia County for over 25 years. Her roots in the Dist. 30 community run deep, as does her family’s commitment to public service. Pam’s mom was a state representative from Valencia County from 2000-2006 and her father was a small businessman. She was born and raised in Los Chavez, a rural farming community north of Belen. She is a union member and her husband is a veteran. 

As opposed to Sen. Sanchez, Pam is a strong proponent for public education, early childhood programs, and the Health Security Act. She is committed to rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and has a fully developed Native American policy platform.

Given the above, a brief review of who endorses her will not surprise you:

Elected Officials

  • U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich
  • U.S. Congresswoman Deb Haaland


  • American Federation of State, City, Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 18
  • Conservation Voters New Mexico
  • New Mexico Building Trades & Construction Council
  • National Educators Association (NEA-NM)
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 611
  • Planned Parenthood Votes New Mexico
  • Working Families Party
  • Sheet Metal Workers’ Local Union No. 49
  • Iron Workers Local 495
  • Operating Engineers Local 953
  • Emily’s List
  • Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club
  • UA Local 412 Plumbers & Pipefitters

Retake is confident that Pam Cordova will not get a 100% approval rating from the Commerce & Industry and will not draw hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate support for her re-election campaign in 2024. We proudly endorse Pam Cordova in Senate District 30.

To better understand why this race is so important, the video below describes the situation in the NM State Senate and how a handful of DINOs, Sen. Sanchez included, have dominated the legislature for years. It also highlights how the state of NY, which had precisely the same DINO problem in their Senate, addressed the problem by voting the corporate DINOs out of office. In the subsequent legislative session, unburdened by these DINOs, NY passed an avalanche of long stalled legislation.

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