Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury told a crowd of supporters Wednesday that her race is tightening up with less than a week to go before Election Day – “no, it’s not,” several hollered back in protest.
“What we are seeing is that our race, the governor’s race, our congressional races, our down ballot races are tightening all across the state,” said the Democratic incumbent who represents the 1st Congressional District. “Just over the last two days, in particular, things really picked up and so we don’t have a minute to spare.”
Stansbury was in Albuquerque along with Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., for a campaign event that included a phone bank manned by supporters to urge people to vote. It was billed as a “Calls for Democracy” event at O’Niell’s Pub in Nob Hill.
Raskin is on the Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. He and Stansbury said efforts to undermine elections and American institutions should be top of voters’ minds next Tuesday – Election Day.
“The great party of Abraham Lincoln has been reduced to an authoritarian cult of personality organized around Donald Trump,” Raskin said. “We’ve got to organize not just all the great true blue Democrats out there, but the thinking Republicans and the great independents of America who stand up for democracy.”
Republican candidate Michelle Garcia Holmes is running to oust Stansbury. A recent Journal Poll found Stansbury had a 48% to 42% advantage, with 9% of voters undecided.
“Having someone come up, who has no idea how we’re a border state, and the things we face, is bringing in someone totally out-of-touch with New Mexico,” Garcia Holmes said.
The GOP challenger said she was speaking with voters and volunteers were making calls on her behalf Wednesday. She said voters she spoke with raised concerns about inflation and border security.
Stansbury called her opponent an election denier and recalled public statements and other actions Garcia Holmes took after the 2020 election. Garcia Holmes was one of many New Mexico Republicans, in response to Journal candidate questionnaires, who refused to say “yes” or “no” if she believes former President Trump’s claim that he won the 2020 election.
“That means she tried to stop your voice from being heard, your vote from being counted,” Stansbury said.
In an interview, Raskin and Stansbury said the number of election deniers on the ballot throughout the country has given this midterm election added importance.
“The last person we would ever want to be an elected official is an election denier,” Raskin said. “That’s like putting an arsonist in as the chief of the fire department. So that’s why this election is so much bigger than just a two-year period. This election could really change the course of the dynamics of American democracy for a long time.”
Stansbury said she thought those concerns could win her over any still-undecided voters.
“So many individuals of all political stripes are deeply disturbed, fearful and upset that the denial of basic reality, facts and democratic institutions is being undermined in a systemic way by the GOP,” she said.
Garcia Holmes called it a distraction strategy. She said when she knocks on doors she never hears about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
“Nobody has asked me about Jan. 6, except a few reporters like you,” she said. “Inflation, inflation, inflation. That’s what I hear at the door.”