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Haaland, Sedillo Lopez receive Black Caucus, Bernie Sanders group’s endorsements

WASHINGTON – Debra Haaland, a Native American and former New Mexico Democratic Party chairwoman, has received a rare primary endorsement from the Congressional Black Caucus political action committee in the race for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District seat.

Debra Haaland

Meanwhile, Antoinette Sedillo Lopez – another 1st District Democratic candidate – announced that she received the endorsement of People of Bernie Sanders, a powerful grassroots group that has more than 1.5 million Facebook followers, has endorsed her campaign.

Rep. Gregory Meeks, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said that Haaland’s “life story” mirrors that of many in the black community, and that she would make a strong addition to Congress.

“She’s a single mother but fought her way through law school and has always been involved in organizing people,” said Meeks, a New York Democrat. “She’s a big participant in the Democratic Party and understands helping folks. It seems to me she is head and shoulders above (the competition in New Mexico’s crowded 1st District primary) and her voice is very much needed at this time.”

Meeks said the caucus rarely makes endorsements of nonblack candidates in primary races but felt compelled to do so in Haaland’s case. Seven Democrats are seeking the nomination.

“There is a clear reason to make an exception in this matter,” Meeks said. “The opportunity to elect the first Native American woman … it is a voice we believe New Mexico needs and we know Washington, D.C. needs.”

People for Bernie Sanders, which helped propel the Vermont independent’s historic grassroots run for the presidency in 2016, said Sedillo Lopez represents the group’s progressive values in announcing its endorsement of the former University of New Mexico law school professor and women’s rights activist.

“People for Bernie is proud to endorse Antoinette Sedillo Lopez for Congress,” said Jenni Sirri, the group’s New Mexico spokeswoman. “She fights for the issues that impact everyday Americans and will be a progressive ally as we continue the political revolution.”

Sedillo Lopez also on Thursday announced the endorsements of the “grassroots progressive” groups Justice Democrats, Blue America, and PODER PAC.

Michael Coleman: mcoleman@abqjournal.com

 

Antoinette Sedillo Lopez

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