By Vince Torres, President & Executive Director
Are we witnessing the purge of all moderate Democrats in New Mexico politics?
That is the question I found myself asking following the results of last Tuesday’s primary election. The big story of the night was the defeat of several incumbent Democratic Senators to progressive challengers, forcing a shakeup in the leadership and political makeup of the New Mexico Senate heading into 2021. Among the defeated were two of the most powerful and senior members of the Senate – Senate President Pro-Tempore, Mary Kay Papen, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman, John Arthur Smith – who have a combined 50 years of legislative service.
As you may recall, Senators Papen and Smith were two of the eight Democrats who voted against the abortion up-to-birth bill, House Bill 51, in 2019. Also falling to progressive challengers last Tuesday were pro-life Democratic Senators Richard Martinez, Clemente Sanchez, and Gabriel Ramos. Together, these five Senators, along with a few others, have long represented the more traditional, moderate wing of the Democratic party, including those Democrats who are pro-faith, pro-life, and pro-family. Following the primary election, however, the future of the moderate Democrat in New Mexico politics is uncertain; and having been raised by a traditional northern New Mexico Democratic family, this concerns me greatly.
For my family, “politics” is not only a regular discussion topic at gatherings. “Politics” is part of our lives and our family legacy. My great-grandfather served as the New Mexico State Auditor and Land Commissioner during the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and my grandmother served in former-Governor Bruce King’s administration. Needless to say, much has changed since then and I suspect my great-grandfather, who won three statewide elections, would not survive the progressive-dominated Democratic Party of today. In fact, in 1979, while serving as Land Commissioner, my great-grandfather famously installed an oil pump jack in front of the state land office to pay tribute to the contributions of the oil industry to New Mexico’s economy – an act that would certainly ruffle the far-left today.
At a time when many Democrats have elected to “walk away” from the Democratic Party, I have been encouraged by those who have tried to “take it back,” including some close, personal friends. Some of them were candidates in last week’s primary; but sadly, almost all were unsuccessful. The progressive establishment, loaded with out-of-state cash from the abortion industry and other radical groups, pumped exorbitant amounts of money into Democratic races across New Mexico to purchase the votes needed to advance their radical agenda.
Are we witnessing the purge of all moderate Democrats in New Mexico politics? Absolutely.
But more important, are we witnessing the purge of our traditional New Mexico values – values of faith, family, and freedom? Yes, we are.
In a general election, our vote is often simplified as a decision between one party or another, or one candidate over another. Recent events, however, lead me to believe that the 2020 election will be much more significant than that – that come November, we will not simply be choosing between mere parties or candidates, but between dangerous progressive policies and our traditional New Mexico values.
The good news is, we all still have a voice and a choice when it comes to the future of our state.
Did you know that there are over 100 contested races for the 112 seats in the New Mexico Senate and House of Representatives? Did you know that the balance of power is up for grabs and with pro-life majorities in both chambers, we can not only STOP House Bill 51 again, but actually PASS pro-life legislation?
Friends: this is the year to vote values over party and to support candidates who will defend the unborn, strengthen families, and protect our First Amendment rights. In the coming months, we will let you know who those men and women are, and with your support, we will help usher in new leadership and direction for our state in 2021.
New Mexico is on the wrong track. We have been for some time. But be encouraged.
November is coming.