Democrats will pick CD1 nominee this week

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

The eight Democrats seeking the vacant Albuquerque-based seat in the U.S. House made their case Sunday to members of the Democratic Party of New Mexico’s state central committee. They will select the party’s candidate in the coming days.

A special election on June 1 will determine who will fill New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District seat, which was vacated when then-Rep. Deb Haaland resigned to become secretary of the interior.

The state’s major parties will pick their candidates, who will then face off in a special election this summer. The Republican Party of New Mexico on Saturday chose state Sen. Mark Moores, who has represented parts of the Northeast Heights in the state Senate since 2013.

The Democratic party held a virtual forum with the candidates Sunday afternoon.

About 200 Democratic central committee members in the district will choose who is on the ticket. They will pick between several state lawmakers, a top administrator in the Governor’s Office, a well-known Albuquerque lawyer and community organizers. All of the candidates pledged during the forum to continue striving for progressive ideals in Congress like addressing climate change, and systemic racism and poverty.

The Democratic candidates are:

⋄ Francisco Fernández, an activist who has worked on television.

⋄ Selinda Guerrero, a community organizer.

⋄ State Rep. Georgene Louis.

⋄ Randi McGinn, an Albuquerque attorney.

⋄ Victor Reyes, the legislative director for the governor.

⋄ State Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero.

⋄ State Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez.

⋄ State Rep. Melanie Stansbury.

At 7 a.m. Tuesday, Democratic state central committee members will receive a ballot with those candidates. The winner needs to earn more than 50% of the votes.

If none of the candidates earn a majority, there will be runoff elections on subsequent days with the smallest number of candidates who, together, earned more than 50% of the vote. That process will continue until one candidate has a majority.

No matter whom the Democrats pick, she or he will have a leg up on Moores and any third-party candidates.

The congressional district, which includes most of Bernalillo County, all of Torrance County and small sections of surrounding counties, has about 85,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, according to secretary of state data. In late January, the district had 217,587 registered Democrats, 132,482 Republicans, 4,876 Libertarians and 111,011 other voters.

“We are ready to come together as soon as we have a nominee and make sure we elect another strong Democrat to Congress,” said Marg Elliston, chair of the state Democratic Party. “Because we know that when Democrats win, our state and our nation move forward.”

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