SANTA FE — A prospective candidate in the race for the 3rd Congressional District seat who was disqualified by the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office for using the wrong form to collect petition signatures is vowing to contest the decision through legal means.
In an inculpatory statement provided to the Journal, the campaign for Republican Anise Golden-Morper accused Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse-Oliver, a Democrat, of playing politics and using “dirty tricks” to eliminate the leading fundraiser among GOP candidates.
“Anise is being targeted by a hyper-partisan witch hunt similar to what just happened to President Trump in Washington D.C. by a weaponized Secretary of State,” the statement said. “Toulouse-Oliver is doing exactly what her D.C. puppeteers are ordering her to do. She caved to the whims of Chuck Schumer by dropping out of the U.S. Senate race and now she’s doing exactly what Nancy Pelosi wants by arbitrary disqualifying the Republican most likely to win New Mexico’s 3rd congressional district. The desperate Democrats know that they can’t hold this seat so they are resorting to desperate dirty tricks. We plan on taking this to the courts and fighting tooth and nail against this flagrant abuse of power.”
Golden-Morper, of Angel Fire, was disqualified by the Secretary of State’s Office this week because she did not use the required legally prescribed form to collect the 463 signatures of registered voters in the district to get her name on the ballot for the June primary.
“Secretary Toulouse Oliver is obligated to follow state law and to ‘maintain uniformity in the application, operation and interpretation of the Election Code,’ which she does every day and this case is no exception,” said Alex Curtas, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office. “Ms. Golden-Morper came up short on the required number of signatures she needed to be placed on the ballot because she didn’t use the required form prescribed in New Mexico law and made available well in advance to all candidates. Despite Ms. Golden-Morper’s unfounded claims, that was the only basis for the decision to not qualify her for the ballot. The secretary of state cannot choose to ignore state law for Ms. Golden-Morper or any other candidate.”
Golden-Morper had raised the most money of any Republican candidate in the 3rd Congressional District race through the end of 2019, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. She had collected a little more than $20,000, outpacing Karen Bedonie of the Mexican Springs chapter of the Navajo Nation, who had raised $15,477, and Audra Lee Brown of Portales, who had raised $7,138.
Two other Republican candidates in the race, Harry Montoya and Alexis Johnson, both of Santa Fe, had raised less than $5,000.
By comparison, none of the seven Democratic candidates had raised less than $25,000 and the fundraising leader, Valerie Plame, had generated $1.11 million for her campaign.
The district seat, which represents northern New Mexico, has long been held by Democrats, and seven Democrats qualified for the primary. They are John Blair, Teresa Leger Fernandez, Laura Montoya, Valerie Plame, Joseph Sanchez, Marco Serna and Kyle Tisdel.
The 3rd Congressional District seat is being vacated by Ben Ray Luján, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat now occupied by Tom Udall, who is retiring.