‘Hope over fear’: Haaland, Lujan victorious in New Mexico
Democrat Deb Haaland has won a second term in the U.S. House of Representatives (New Mexico District 1), earning 58% of the vote (185,196) over Republican challenger Michelle Garcia Holmes at 42% (133,695), as reported by the New Mexico Secretary of State Tuesday.
Of 1,351,811 registered voters in New Mexico, 912,565 ballots were cast in the 2020 election, a whopping 68% turnout.
Haaland, from Laguna Pueblo, was one of the first two Native American women to be elected to Congress in 2018.
“Tonight, the people of New Mexico have chosen hope over fear, love over hate, community over division, and I am so honored that New Mexicans have chosen me to serve in our nation’s 117th Congress,” said Haaland in an announcement from her campaign page.
Haaland has been a vocal critic of the policies of President Donald Trump and a strong advocate for protecting the environment and promoting social equity.
She has also fought hard to put forth policies to protect and seek justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women.
“The potential to enact historic change is right in front of us,” said Haaland. “Tonight, I recommit to fighting for legislation that will guide our nation forward in the areas of climate change, education, racial equality, healthcare and economic justice. Thank you, New Mexico!”
Also with the support of loyal voters, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan took a historic leap to become a U.S. senator, winning 51% of the votes (463,191) over his Republican challenger, weatherman Mark Ronchetti at 46% (414,824).
“More people voted in this election than in any other time in our state’s history,” Lujan said in his election night victory remarks. “You inspired people to get out to the polls.”
Lujan will succeed retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, who has been a stalwart advocate for Indian Country in general and Navajo in particular throughout his distinguished career.
In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Lujan said he began Election Day with a blessing from his mother, Carmen Lujan, whom he refers to as his “guardian angel” who always advises him to do good work for all the people of New Mexico.
“We were raised to treat people with respect and dignity,” said Lujan. “These are our shared New Mexico values that I carry with me every day.”
Lujan has dedicated his career to improving the lives of New Mexicans by fighting for economic equity, racial equality, public safety, access to affordable health care and protecting New Mexico’s natural resources.
“Every child born in New Mexico should have a bright future ahead of them,” Lujan states on his campaign website. “In Congress, I’ve been proud to support policies that strengthen unions, increase production in our renewable energy sector, and invest in New Mexico’s national labs and bases.”
As a staunch advocate of campaign finance reform, Lujan has refused to accept corporate political action committee money for his U.S. Senate campaign.
Lujan said while this year’s campaign has been different because of COVID-19, and he misses being able to travel New Mexico and visit with constituents, he was spending election eve at home on the farm her grew up on in Nambe, close to family.
In considering his run for the U.S. Senate, Lujan also said he’s been reflecting a lot on the legacy and influence of leaders like his father, the late Ben Lujan, an ironworker who was a long-time member of the New Mexico House of Representatives.
“They inspired generations and knew how to bring people together, because they looked at problems, but found solutions and a way to face adversities in our lives,” said Lujan.
As a senator, Lujan said he plans to advocate for New Mexicans who have suffered greatly from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, including pushing for additional relief in a second stimulus package.
“I know times have been tough, and I know you have challenges — I hear you and I see you,” said Lujan. “As your United States senator, I will not stop fighting to get all the help that we need to rebuild and recover from this pandemic.”
In other New Mexico races, Democratic incumbent Xochitl Torres Small was defeated with 46% (120,766) of the vote in District 2 by Republican challenger Yvette Herrell with 54% (141,227).
In District 3, Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez won for the House of Representatives seat with 58% (178,242) of the vote over Republican Alexis Johnson at 42% (129,305).
New Mexicans voted in favor of having members of the Public Regulation Commission appointed by the governor, and general obligation bonds for $33 million for senior citizen center facility improvements, $9.8 million for capital expenditures for academic, public school, tribal and public library resource acquisitions, and $156 million for capital expenditures for certain higher education, special education and tribal school capital improvements.
Diné incumbent Democrat State Senator Shannon Pinto, granddaughter of the late Sen, John Pinto, earned an easy win in District 3 with 67% (11,809) of the vote over Republican challenger Arthur Allison, also Diné, with 33% (5,692).
T. Ryan Lane, who ran unopposed, held on to his seat in the State House of Representatives in District 3.
In District 4, State Senator George Muñoz held on to his seat with 68% (11,763) of the vote against Republican challenger Angela Olive at 32% (5,551).
Diné Democratic incumbent Anthony Allison also retained his seat as State Representative in District 4 with 54% of the votes (5,961) over Republican challenger Mark Duncan with 46% (5,034).