Will New Mexico vote for its own interest and energy jobs or stick with liberal Democrats in House race?
New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District special election will test whether warnings over a left-wing approach to policing and crime work without former President Donald Trump topping the ballot.
The June 1 race, for the seat vacated by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, is also an early test on the popularity of President Joe Biden.
And it comes at a time when every House seat matters — for both sides. Democrats hold the narrowest House majority since the 1930s, with 219 seats to 211 for Republicans, with five vacancies.
Republican Mark Moores, a state senator since 2013 and an owner of a medical testing business, faces Democrat Melanie Stansbury, an Obama administration alumnus and state representative since 2019.
Moores has focused his campaign in televised debates and in ads on Stansbury expressing support for the BREATHE Act, a Black Lives Matter-crafted “reimagining of public safety” federal legislation. The proposal would ban police from using Tasers, close federal prisons, and have 911 operators dispatch unarmed mental health professionals instead of police officers.
“This is a self-described policy wonk who has spent her entire adult life working on the Hill,” Moores, a large-statured former college football player, told the Washington Examiner in an interview. “For her to come out and say we need to pass the BREATHE Act, which is the most radical position proposal that I've seen, in a dangerous, high-crime city like Albuquerque … is downright scary, how radical she is.”
Stansbury’s campaign has since qualified her support for the proposal and refused to engage with his attacks on the debate stage. “If the final legislation includes sections that she cannot support because they are wrong for New Mexicans, then she’ll look to other solutions,” said her communications director, Jessie Damazyn.
If the message works, it could serve as a blueprint for the midterm elections races and for the 2021 Albuquerque mayoral race and 2022 New Mexico gubernatorial race, both offices that have Democrats up for reelection. “Success” in the largely Democratic district in this respect might not necessarily mean winning the race but simply exceeding expectations.
“I think they're scared,” Moores said. The New Mexico Democratic Party central committee, which selected Stansbury as the nominee for the special election by a slim margin, ”is so progressive, so radical, that they picked someone who was just completely radical to run who doesn't meet the history or the values of this district,” he said.
What I find surprising about this race is there is no mention of the damage done to the state by Biden and Haaland both of whom want to stop oil and gas drilling on federally controlled sites in New Mexico. This is killing thousands of jobs and will reduce revenue to the state treasury by a significant amount. It should be a top issue with voters. It is a really bad idea. Many of the rigs in the state have already moved to Texas along with the jobs.