By Richard Barish,
Central N.M. Political Chair
As most of you know by now, it was an extraordinarily successful election season for the Sierra Club here in New Mexico. The icing on the cake was, after going to bed on Tuesday feeling really good about the results but resigned to a loss by Xochitl Torres Small after the race was called for her opponent, waking up on Wednesday to find out that the race had been uncalled and, later, that Xochitl was our new congressperson from the 2nd Congressional District! What an election!
All three of our endorsed federal candidates won. Martin Heinrich scored a big Senate victory and Deb Haaland joins Sharice David as the first Native American women in the U.S. House. In statewide races, all six of our endorsed candidates won, led, of course, by Michelle Lujan Grisham for governor. In the critical Public Regulation Commission, progressive Steve Fischmann won his race. Nineteen of the 25 candidates for the state Legislature that we endorsed in contested races won. In county races, all six candidates we endorsed won.
In order to win all of these races, our candidates had to win in normally conservative districts where our candidates have rarely if ever won before. In addition to the 2nd Congressional District, our candidates won in several Albuquerque far Northeast- and Southeast Heights districts formerly thought to conservative bastions.
Among the many great new candidates who got elected:
Melanie Stansbury, who won one of those legislative races in Albuquerque’s far Northeast Heights, brings to her new job a keen intelligence and a wealth of experience in the legislative process from her former position as the water and science staffer for the Ranking Member in the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. She is an expert on water resources and truly shares our priorities and perspectives.
Abbas Akhil, who won another of those legislative races in Albuquerque’s far heights districts, is a retired Sandia Labs engineer with an expertise in energy storage systems in the electric grid to improve its efficiency and facilitate use of wind and solar energy.
These candidates were able to win because groups like the Sierra Club and volunteers like you got involved. Now we need to help get good legislation enacted when the legislative session starts in January.
Results of races the Rio Grande Chapter endorsed in:
U.S. Senator: Martin Heinrich WON
Congressional District 1: Deb Haaland WON
Congressional District 2: Xochitl Torres Small WON
Congressional District 3: Ben Ray Luján WON
Governor: Michelle Lujan Grisham WON
Land Commissioner: Stephanie Garcia Richard WON
Secretary of State: Maggie Toulouse Oliver WON
Attorney General: Hector Balderas WON
Auditor: Brian Colón WON
Treasurer: Tim Eichenberg WON
Public Regulation Commission District 5: Stephen Fischmann WON
State House of Representatives by district
8: Mary Jo Jaramillo LOST
15: Dayan (Day) Hochman-Vigil WON
17: Debbie Armstrong WON
20: Abbas Akhil WON
22: Jessica Velasquez LOST
23: Daymon Ely WON
24: Liz Thomson WON
25: Christine Trujillo WON
28: Melanie Stansbury WON
29: Joy Garratt WON
30: Natalie Figueroa WON
33: Micaela Cadena WON
35: Angelica Rubio WON
36: Nathan Small WON
37: Joanne Ferrary WON
38: Karen Whitlock LOST
39: Rudy Martinez WON
43: Christine Chandler WON
44: Benton Howell LOST
50: Matthew McQueen WON
52: Doreen Gallegos WON
53: Willie Madrid WON
57: Billie Helean LOST
60: Alexis Jimenez LOST
68: Karen Bash WON
Bernalillo: Charlene Pyskoty WON
Sandoval County: Katherine Bruch WON
Doña Ana County:
District 1: Lynn Ellins WON
District 3: Shannon Reynolds WON
District 5: Karen Trujillo WON
Doña Ana County Sheriff: Kim Stewart WON
A note on El Paso candidates:
Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter makes Texas endorsements, including for the El Paso area, which is included in the Rio Grande Chapter, with the El Paso Group’s consent. While Sierra Club-endorsed Lupe Valdez lost and Beto O’Rourke narrowly missed defeating Ted Cruz, O’Rourke’s candidacy helped produce a progressive wave in down-ballot races in Texas.