New Mexico Working Families Party celebrated a major upset in the State Land Commissioner’s race and Democratic wins in several flipped Republican state house seats. NMWFP’s endorsed candidates had big wins in mid-term elections, including Maggie Toulouse Oliver for Secretary of State, Deb Haaland for Congress in District 1, state legislative candidates Abbas Akhil (HD 20), Karen Bash (HD 68), Liz Thomson (HD 24), Melanie Stansbury (HD 28), Christine Chandler (HD 43), Daye Hochman-Vigil (HD 15), Natalie Figueroa (HD 30), Joy Garratt (HD29), and Karen Bash (HD68) and Public Regulation Commission candidate Steve Fischmann.
These election results and the wins of several progressive candidates in the primary means a working families agenda will likely be more successful in the New Mexico Legislature. Progressives will have more support for increasing the minimum wage, committing to early childhood funding, passing automatic voter registration, and other working families’ priorities.
“Advocates have been stymied in moving a substantial working families agenda in the state legislature because of conservative Democrats in the state House and Senate and a hostile governor,” said Eric Griego, state director of New Mexico Working Families Party. “Our work in recruiting, training, and electing working families Democrats changes the landscape for moving legislation that will make real and tangible differences for New Mexico workers and families.”
Based on NMWFP’s success in the primaries, progressive donors invested more than $300,000 for the organization to run independent expenditure campaigns in the general election in the State Land Commissioner’s race, and several key state legislative races where the Democrats expanded and deepened its progressive majority. We also expanded beyond Albuquerque with strong get-out-the-vote efforts to thousands of people in Socorro and Valencia Counties.
NMWFP’s field program included a canvass of more than 25,000 doors, digital outreach to more than 200,000 potential voters, more than 30,000 mail pieces in the State Land Commissioner and legislative races, and a text program to over 21,000 many of these same voters. In these races, NMWFP’s work on behalf of candidates helped provide the margin of victory, bringing new resources and people power to local races.
“Our progressive gains in the Democratic primary, thanks to NM Working Families and progressive allies, mean that our legislature will be positioned to pass real policy change for working people in New Mexico,” said State Representative Liz Thomson in District 24 in Albuquerque who won with strong support from NMWFP.
In the State Land Commissioner race, Chevron and other major extractive industry supporters spent almost $3 million to defeat NMWFP-endorsed candidate Stephanie Garcia Richard, who will be the first Latina to hold the office in a majority-minority state. In response, NMWFP created a website and video in English and Spanish revealing how industry is trying to buy the Land Commissioner seat. People power prevailed over big corporate money in the State Land Commissioner race and NMWFP will continue our advocacy to ensure that the state’s natural resources are used wisely and benefit residents by generating the maximum revenue for public schools and healthcare facilities.
“NM Working Families was critical to turning out thousands of voters who made the difference in our victory tonight,” said Abbas Akhil. “They mobilized thousands of voters by knocking on doors, using social media, and communicating with mail and text programs.” Akhil is the first Muslim American elected to major office in New Mexico.