Monday, September 25, 2017

Batch Of Good Candidates Running For The Open Albuquerque Congressional Seat


Michelle Lujan Grisham was been a dull backbencher in Congress since she was elected to the Albuquerque seat (NM-01) in 2012. The district includes almost all of Albuquerque and almost all of Bernalillo County, as well all of rural Torrance county and small bits of Sandoval, Santa Fe and Valencia counties. The district in nearly half Hispanic and has turned safely blue. Obama beat McCain there 60-39% and then beat Romney 55-40%. Hillary beat Señor Trumpanzee 51.6% to 35.1%. Last year's primary was very close but Bernie edged Hillary because of his one point lead in Albuquerque.

Lujan Grisham is running for governor so the House seat is open. Steady with a PVI of D+7, the race has attracted at least 8 Democratic contenders. It looks like all of them or almost all of them are trying to claim the progressive mantle. Albuquerque City Councilman Pat Davis, who is openly gay, has a progressive history in local politics. Former state Democratic Party chair Deb Haaland seems to be a progressive as well-- and has been endorsed by Ro Khanna-- and she says she will sign on as a cosponsor of John Conyers' H.R. 676 (Medicare-for-All) if she's elected. Damian Lara doesn't mention Medicare-For-All, just protecting Obamacare. Same with Annie Chavez. Dennis Dinge seems to be calling for the states to decide what kind of healthcare they want, the conservative position. A couple others-- Damon Martinez and John Abrams have non-functional websites. The most impressive candidate as far as I can tell is Antoinette Sedillo Lopez. The first line on her issues page is "I support a ‘Medicare for All’ plan and will co-sponsor and champion legislation that truly makes healthcare universally accessible to all."

Sedillo Lopez has been endorsed by 5 dependable progressive signifiers: Raul Grijalva, Ruben Gallego, Jamie Raskin, Maryland State Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk and former state Senator Eric Griego, who said she will be the Latina Elizabeth Warren when she gets to Washington. People who know her expect to see another former progressive law professor-- like Raskin and Warren-- inspiring and leading in Congress. Raul Grijalva: "Antoinette will be an ally in the fight for working people, and I am proud to support her. Whether it's protecting DREAMers from deportations or fighting for environmental justice, I know that Antoinette stands for true progressive values."

I think we found a live one-- and we'll be getting to know more about her in coming weeks and report back. (Meanwhile, the Republicans are running some guy named Michael Hendricks.) The only candidates who have raised any significant money so far are Sedillo Lopez ($201,422), Debra Haaland ($151,655) Damian Lara ($87,000-- mostly self-funded) and Pat Davis ($68,211).

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