Election 2020: Democrat looks to take SD10 from Republicans

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Democrat Katy Duhigg, left, and Republican incumbent Candace Gould

SANTA FE – It’s been more than 20 years since a Democrat has been elected in New Mexico’s Senate District 10 – which takes in parts of northwest Albuquerque, the city’s North Valley and Rio Rancho.

But Democrat Katy Duhigg is aiming to accomplish just that by knocking off Republican incumbent Candace Gould in the November general election.

While the district has favored GOP candidates in the past, much of Albuquerque has trended more Democratic in recent years – and several incumbent House Republicans from the metro area were ousted in the 2018 election cycle.

Gould, the executive director of a nonprofit group that helps foster children, said she’s not daunted by the headwinds.

“I won before and I think I can win again,” she said, citing her election to the Senate in 2016.

A self-described seeker of bipartisan solutions, Gould touted bills making it easier for wireless providers to utilize public rights-of-way and upping the maximum age for foster care recipients to 21 as among her top accomplishments in the Legislature.

Duhigg, for her part, is an attorney who worked as Albuquerque’s city clerk until stepping down in December 2019 to run for the Senate seat.

She said she would bring a watchdog mentality to the Senate, which currently counts just nine women among its 42 members.

“I think I would bring a lens of accountability and transparency to any issues that are before the Legislature,” Duhigg told the Journal.

Specifically, she said she would push for legislation to open New Mexico’s primary election to independent voters, expand the state’s public campaign financing to legislative and other types of races and require more transparency in medical billing.

While this year’s race features no ill will between the two candidates, their policy differences are clear.

“My only disagreement with her is how she votes,” Duhigg said, citing Gould’s past votes in opposition to bills repealing a long-dormant state abortion ban and aligning the state’s health care laws with the federal Affordable Care Act.

For her part, Gould said she’s concerned about the state’s economic outlook amid the coronavirus pandemic and does not believe laws mandating higher wages ultimately lead to more higher-paying jobs.

“We have the same goals, but it’s how we get there that’s different,” Gould said.

The incumbent reported last month raising more than $50,000 for her re-election campaign during a recent roughly 10-week reporting period, with contributions from several fellow GOP senators, pharmaceutical companies and the California-based oil giant Chevron Inc.

But Gould was outraised by Duhigg, who reported more than $85,000 in contributions. Her donors included lawyers, Democratic lawmakers and Ultra Health LLC, the state’s largest medical cannabis producer.

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