Tag: New Mexico Senate Race

New Mexico LP to Sue State Over Straight Party Voting

By Spencer Kellogg | @Spencer_Kellogg

Hot off the heels of Gary Johnson polling second in an Emerson Poll and receiving the endorsement of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, New Mexico state officials are doing everything in their power to help Democrat incumbent Martin Heinrich win in November. Reinstating the outdated practice of straight party voting, the electoral measure allows voters to select a single box that fills in their entire ballot for one political party. Opponents of the ruling believe it creates an overwhelming partisan advantage in a state that is decidedly Democrat.

The Libertarian Party of New Mexico has authorized funding to file a lawsuit against Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver after she announced on Wednesday that New Mexico voters will have the option to vote straight party in the November General Election. In a press release from Toulouse Oliver’s office, the Democrat put a positive spin on the new choice for New Mexico voters: “The more options people have, the easier it is for more eligible voters to participate–and participation is the key to our democratic process.”

Chris Luchini, State Chair of the New Mexico Libertarian Party, doesn’t see it that way. “It is a straight attack at NMLP, third parties and specifically Gary Johnson. A lot of Democrats are crossing the line to vote for him and it’s obvious what this is all about, which is knocking Johnson out of the race.” Luchini pointed out that New Mexico revoked straight party voting in 2012 and that legislation to implement the voting measure had recently failed.

In an email sent to Reason, Johnson was stern in his suggestion that straight party voting is a “short-cut to partisanship.” What’s obvious to anyone watching the race is that this measure reeks of political maneuvering by the Democratic machine that owns New Mexico. Had Gary Johnson not entered the field as a Libertarian polling over 20%, would we expect to see such a rash move from the Secretary of State? It is hard to believe so.

Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, held no public hearings on the voting changes and has campaigned throughout the state in favor of re-instating straight party voting. The Republican Party called the action a “potentially illegal power grab” and has also announced intentions to file suit against the Secretary of State. Helen Milenski, Vice Chair of the New Mexico LP, posted a link on Twitter to a legal fees fund.


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Rand Paul Endorses Gary Johnson In Senate Race

By James Sweet III | United States

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is endorsing Gary Johnson (L-NM) in his bid to become the next Senator from New Mexico.

The race currently has a Republican candidate, but he is trailing behind Johnson in recent polls. Gary Johnson served as Governor of New Mexico as a Republican, and was the Libertarian Party’s candidate for President in 2012 and 2016.

If more Republicans continue to throw their support behind Gary Johnson, Mick Rich, the Republican candidate, could be pressured into dropping out to ensure that the Democrat incumbent does not win the election.

Rand Paul and Gary Johnson both advocate for small government and fiscal responsibility, so the shock lies in the fact that Rand Paul is endorsing a Libertarian candidate despite being a Republican. Rand Paul has strayed from the party before, however, so it’s not outside of his comfort zone to do this.

If Johnson wins, he could possibly become a swing vote in the Senate if the Democrats pick up more seats in the Midterm Elections. Right now, Democratic incumbent Martin Heinrich is leading the race, but Gary Johnson has only been rising in recent polls.

Rich, the Republican nominee, is a construction contractor that is new to the political sphere. He states on his campaign page that he knows “how to create jobs and grow businesses”. If Rich does adhere to the pressure and support Gary Johnson, it is likely and possible that Johnson could become the Libertarian Party’s senator from New Mexico.


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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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Gary Johnson Considering Senate Run In New Mexico

Spencer Neale | @TheNewTreasury

Two-time Libertarian presidential candidate and former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson is “strongly considering” a last-minute Senate run from his home state of New Mexico. He would replace the current candidate for Senate, State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, on the ballot and compete against Democrat incumbent Martin Heinrich and Republican Mick Rich.

71 Republic reached Libertarian Party of New Mexico Chair Chris Luchini by phone on Friday: “We are getting a bump in donations and interests, much higher than normal in both of those areas. We saw a jump in donations at the beginning of this week. I have not spoken to Gary Johnson. I have spoken to people close to him and they seem to think it’s real.”

Mr. Dunn’s son Blair confirmed that more details will be released on Monday as to his father’s current campaign. Dunn had been polling between 7-10% in some estimations but other polling centers have shown that Johnson could come into the race at 20-30% with a significant amount of support behind him. Johnson is well liked in New Mexico where he is seen as both an outdoorsman rebel and honest politician. His governance was characterized by open, frank dialogue and New Mexico saw rejuvenated financial surpluses during his years in office.

Johnson’s candidacy would be among the most publicized and discussed Libertarian federal campaigns in the history of the almost 50-year-old political party. His campaign for President in 2016 won 4% of the electorate, nearly quadrupling the previous highest vote get for a Libertarian candidate and capturing the minds and spirits of disenfranchised voters across the country.

With news of Johnson’s possible bid spreading throughout the media on Friday, some commentators have suggested that the former presidential candidate could come financially prepared enough to give Heinrich & Rich a real run for their money.


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New Mexican Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn Files For US Senate As Libertarian

Aubrey_Dunn_Web

Spencer Kellogg | New Mexico

Ahead of this weekend’s New Mexico Libertarian State Convention, Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has thrown his hat into the US Senate race.  He will compete against Republican contractor Mick Rich and incumbent Democrat Martin Heinrich. A well liked Land Commissioner, Dunn is known for battling corruption throughout the state and speaking honestly about our rights as written in the Constitution. He recently changed his voting registration from Republican to Libertarian in anticipation of the campaign.

The Libertarian Party received major party status in the state after Gary Johnson achieved more than 5% of the vote in the 2018 election. With major party status in hand, The New Mexican Libertarian Party has an easier path to ballot access than ever before. A full slate of candidates have joined various races in New Mexico including Aubrey Dunn’s own son Blair who has filed to run for Attorney General.

Born in Alamogordo, in the south central part of New Mexico, Mr. Dunn grew up on an apple farm in Otero County. He earned a degree in Animal Science from Colorado State University and a graduate degree in Banking at the University of New Mexico before becoming CEO and President of First Federal Bank of New Mexico. His tenure as CEO saw the bank grow its commercial loan portfolio to $170 million and saw an increased stock share valuation of 10x. Dunn is also a cattle rancher and has owned over a dozen ranches in his life.

Mr. Dunn’s success as a businessman and commissioner have made him a well known figure in state politics and his candidacy should further legitimize the New Mexican Libertarian Party that is coming off the successes of the Johnson era. Dunn believes the race for Senate is a winnable one and has suggested the poor polling numbers of Democrat incumbent Heinrich show an eagerness for change in New Mexico.

Since Johnson’s bright years as governor that saw the state finish with a one billion dollar surplus, New Mexico politics have become best known for corruption of the law and a nose for spending more than they bring in. Mr. Dunn’s work as Land Commissioner has been seen as a bright spot for a state that has most recently found itself at the top of every bad list and at the bottom of ever good one. Touting the best year for earnings in the 100 year history of the commission, Dunn is an advocate for school funding as New Mexico lags behind most states in education statistics.

Dunn is a strong proponent of libertarian philosophies and has suggested that what people do on their own property is none of the government’s business. This week he demanded the Air Force pay $25 million to the state after new flight training plans threaten to downsize more than 100 wind turbines on New Mexico state lands. Dunn had struck a deal with Oregon-based Avangrid Renewables before the Air Force’s decision. Mr. Dunn called the move “military tyranny.”

Mr. Dunn plans on making his pitch to New Mexicans by driving around the state and meeting with citizens face to face. In his upset victory over Ray Powell for Land Commissioner in 2014 Dunn was quoted as saying he put 70,000 miles on his pickup truck while driving the state to speak with citizens at their front door. For US Senate, he’s promised 80,000.

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