Tag: New Mexico Politics

Gary Johnson Will “Very Likely” Enter New Mexico Senate Race

By Drew Zirkle | New Mexico

The New Mexico Senate race, a competition that was previously thought to be a predictable stroll for incumbent Sen. Martin Heinrich (D), is expected to change drastically in the coming hours and days. Gary Johnson, prominent Libertarian Presidential candidate & former Republican Governor of the state is expected to enter the race soon.

The current candidate that the Libertarian Party is fielding for Senate, Aubrey Dunn, is expected to relinquish the nomination for the race today at 2:30 PM EST according to the chair of the NM LP, Chris Luchini. This will allow the New Mexican Libertarian Party the opportunity to nominate a new candidate for the upcoming general election in November. Luchini has confirmed that the New Mexico Libertarian Party Central Committee has already scheduled a meeting for this coming Saturday to choose a replacement candidate to run for Senate.

When reached by phone, Luchini stated that he spoke with Gary Johnson earlier today and that Johnson was “very interested in considering getting into the race.” Luchini also stated that there were no other candidates interested in running and that the central committee was ready to “offer [Johnson] the position.”

This development comes at an incredibly crucial time for the Libertarian Party, as the New Mexico LP has reportedly received an incredible increase in donations and interest for the upcoming Senate race. In addition to the increasing strength of the Libertarian Party, the GOP is facing difficulties in this particular race. The GOP candidate, Mick Rich, has no political experience, is polling very poorly, and has reportedly only raised around $650,000. Additionally, according to an unnamed source, Mick Rich refused to accept campaign donations at a recent campaign event in Los Alamos, leading to some speculation that Mick Rich may drop out of the race, leaving the Senate race wide open for a potentially powerful Johnson campaign to take on Heinrich.

Regardless of whether Mick Rich drops or not, his campaign is beginning to flounder, with most polling data putting him under 40% despite the fact that most GOP candidates are competitive in statewide races in New Mexico. Gary Johnson, a popular former Governor and a recurring figure in national politics, is expected to have a competitive advantage over Rich. Johnson is also expected to be a problem for Martian Heinrich, as Johnson’s familiarity with voters and established base of support ought to give him an energized base of support at the onset of his campaign.

Although Johnson has not publicly announced his intention to run for the Senate seat yet, it is abundantly clear that the Libertarian Party of New Mexico is preparing for Johnson to take up the torch behind the scenes. Furthermore, social media groups have sprung up on Facebook and Twitter suggesting that Johnson’s team is gearing up for the announcement. This preparation combined with Johnson privately confiding his interest in running indicates that in the coming days, Johnson is likely to launch a formal bid and this previously quiet Senate race will turn into one of the wildest races to watch this November.


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Featured Image (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

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New Mexican Libertarians Achieve Major Party Status

By Spencer Kellogg | NEW MEXICO

On Monday night in downtown Albuquerque New Mexico, Libertarians were in celebratory mode as they presented a bold and diverse set of candidates set to challenge local and national races across the state. In Santa Fe earlier that day, state election officials announced that Gary Johnson’s performance in the 2016 Presidential Election had ensured the Libertarian Party of New Mexico receive major party status in the upcoming election cycle. The significance of this announcement lies in the vast reduction of required registrations needed to appear on the ballot and means that running as a Libertarian has never been easier in the State of New Mexico.

Bolstered by the relaxed registration rules and a newfound energy in the post-Gary Johnson era, the list of candidates running in New Mexico include the current State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, who has left the Republican Party due to dissatisfaction with their policies that have hurt the state economically. If Mr. Dunn wins as a libertarian he will become, arguably, the highest office holding libertarian in the entire country. His son, A. Blair Dunn (A. Blair Dunn Runs For New Mexico Attorney General), was the de facto spokesman of the night and his words rang through the conference room to roars of applause. A. Blair Dunn is running for Attorney General and has claimed current AG Hector Balderas to be one of the most corrupt lawmakers in state history. Besides his own campaign, A. Blair Dunn has been instrumental in leading and organizing a group of diverse and impassioned candidates seeking to displace corruption and restore civil liberties throughout the Land of Enchantment.

Former Democratic State Representative Sandra Jeff, running for New Mexico Secretary of State, took questions from intrigued and skeptical libertarians. She showed a video that highlighted the political and judicial scandals of the New Mexican legislature while also suggesting she was railroaded by the Democratic Party for voting against their wishes (New Mexico Corrupt Politics). Jeff’s inclusion at the event and her campaign at large brings political weight and tactical know how to the party infrastructure. Jeff is known throughout the state as a straight shooter willing to vote for what is right and her entry into the party signals a pragmatic model of libertarianism in the vein of former Governor Gary Johnson.

Entrepreneur Lloyd Princeton made perhaps the biggest splash at the event with his charming personality and impassioned advocation for impoverished New Mexicans. Owner of a national recruiting service and recent transplant to New Mexico, Princeton is running for Congress out of the 1st District of New Mexico and he was interviewed by two major outlets regarding his candidacy. A former New Yorker, Princeton displayed all of the qualities we associate with the Big City, and his well-spoken defense of principled and pragmatic libertarianism should quickly assert him as a major player in the national party structure moving forward.

The night felt like a fresh chapter in many ways and the new leadership of the LPNM could be proud of the 50 person strong turnout at the rooftop bar. Newly elected Party Chair Chris Luchini and Vice Chair Helen Milenski were beaming as interested onlookers showed up to meet the candidates. Both Luchini and Milenski live and work in Los Alamos, the county that received the highest Johnson vote total in the entire country and have been integral in leading an upstart revolution of the state party infrastructure. Luchini, a ballistics expert, announced his candidacy for Sheriff of Los Alamos with Milenski, a tough no-nonsense chemist, setting her eyes on a City Council seat.

Other candidates present at the meeting included Grady Owens and Chris Manning. Owens, who works at an observatory nestled deep in the Sacramento Mountains, is running for Republican Steve Pearce’s empty congressional seat in District 2. Mr. Owens made fiery remarks about our impossible path to legal citizenship and the utter ridiculousness of spending billions of dollars of taxpayers money on a border wall with Mexico that will not work. Manning, running for District 3 in the northern part of the state, is a former National Guardsman who spent 6 years deployed in Afghanistan and has the disposition of a man about business. Manning is running on a platform of education reform, expansion of civil liberties and a reduction of government in the lives of its citizens.

The onslaught of new candidates and interest in the Libertarian Party of New Mexico represents a victory of sorts for the former candidacy of Gary Johnson. While some members of the libertarian lexicon bemoaned what they saw as a poor performance by the Johnson campaign in 2016, here on a crisp and warm night in Albuquerque New Mexico, the evidence of Johnson’s success was on display. Because of his vote-getting total in the state, the LPNM has expanded exponentially and with relaxed regulations on ballot access, the sky seems the limit for the libertarians of New Mexico. For more information about the LPNM and their candidates please visit their website: Libertarian Party of New Mexico.