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.

The 2020 New Mexico Primary Election has come and gone, and though some local races remain too close to call, we have updated results for you in nearly all contested races for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, and the New Mexico Legislature.

The big story of election night was the progressive wave which successfully targeted and defeated several incumbent Senate Democrats. As of this email, five of the seven moderate Democrats in the New Mexico Senate have either lost their bids for re-election or are trailing their progressive challengers. Should the current numbers hold, we may be witnessing the end of the traditional Democrat in New Mexico politics as the Democratic Party moves further and further to the left.

ELECTION RESULTS (contested races only)

U.S. Senate

Elisa Martinez
WINNER: Mark Ronchetti
Gavin Clarkson

Ronchetti will face off against Democratic Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and Libertarian Bob Walsh in the November General Election.

U.S. House of Representatives

District 1 – Republican
WINNER: Michelle Garcia Holmes
Jared Vander Dussen
Brett Kokinadis

Garcia Holmes will face off against incumbent Congresswoman Deb Haaland in the November General Election.

District 2 – Republican
WINNER: Yvette Herrell
Claire Chase
Chris Mathys

Herrell will face off against incumbent Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small in the November General Election.

District 3 – Republican
Harry Montoya
Karen Bedonie
Alexis Johnson (currently leading)

District 3 – Democrat
WINNER: Teresa Leger Fernandez
Laura Montoya
Marco Serna
Joseph Sanchez
Valerie Plame
John Blair
Kyle Tisdel

New Mexico State Senate

District 3 – Democrat
WINNER: Sen. Shannon Pinto
Shawn Nelson

District 4 – Democrat
WINNER: Sen. George Munoz
Noreen Kelly

District 5 – Democrat
Sen. Richard Martinez

District 8 – Democrat
Connie Trujillo

District 9 – Democrat
Ben Rodefer
Kevin Lucero
WINNER: Brenda McKenna

District 9 – Republican
Bridget Condon
WINNER: John Clark
Tania Arletha Dennis

District 10 – Democrat
WINNER: Katy Duhigg
Alan Hall

District 17 – Democrat
Shannon Robinson
WINNER: Sen. Mimi Stewart

District 19 – Republican
UNOFFICIAL WINNER: Rep. Gregg Schmedes
Sen. James White

District 20 – Democrat
WINNER: Martin Hickey
Nancy Savage
Rebecca Stair
Idalia Tena

District 20 – Republican
Karin Foster
WINNER: John Morton

District 28 – Democrat
WINNER: Siah Hemphill
Sen. Gabriel Ramos

District 30 – Democrat
WINNER: Pamela Cordova
Sen. Clemente Sanchez

District 30 – Republican
Kelly Noble
WINNER: Joshua Sanchez

District 31- Democrat
WINNER: Sen. Joseph Cervantes
Melissa Ontiveros
Arturo Terrazas

District 33 – Republican
WINNER: Sen. Bill Burt
Chris Hensley

District 35 – Democrat
WINNER: Neomi Martinez Parra
Sen. John Arthur Smith

District 36 – Republican
Roger Baker
WINNER: Kimberly Skaggs

District 38 – Democrat
WINNER: Carrie Hamblen
Sen. Mary Kay Papen

District 39 – Republican
Joey Tiano (currently leading)
Susan Vescovo

District 41 – Republican
Sen. Gregg Fulfer
WINNER: Rep. David Gallegos

New Mexico State House

District 13 – Democrat
WINNER: Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero
Edwina Pina Cisneros

District 14 – Democrat
Robert Chavez
WINNER: Rep. Miguel Garcia

District 17 – Democrat
WINNER: Rep. Deborah Armstrong
Laura Lucero y Ruiz De Gutierrez

District 20 – Democrat
WINNER: Meredith Dixon
Ilena Estrella

District 23 – Republican
WINNER: Ellis McMath
Audrey Trujillo

District 27 – Democrat
WINNER: Rep. Marian Matthews
William Orr

District 27 – Republican
WINNER: Robert Godshall
Jill Michel

District 34 – Democrat
Bealquin Gomez
WINNER: Rep. Raymundo Lara

District 40 – Democrat
Matthew Gonzales
WINNER: Roger Montoya

District 42 – Democrat
Mark Gallegos

District 42 – Republican
Linda Calhoun (currently leading)
Paul Martinez

District 45 – Democrat
Carmichael Dominguez
Lisa Martinez
Yolanda Sena
Linda Serrato (currently leading)
Patrick Varela

District 50 – Democrat

Rebecca King Spindle

District 61 – Republican
WINNER: Randall Pettigrew
David Snider

District 65 – Democrat
James Magdalena
WINNER: Rep. Derrick Lente

District 70 – Democrat
Robert Anaya
Ambrose Castellano (currently leading)
Anita Gonzales


As I shared with you last week in “Are We Stuck in a House of Cards America?”, winning an election doesn’t matter for the sake of winning an election. When our preferred candidate wins an election, the real winning is what happens when those good elected leaders work tirelessly to pass strong prolife, pro-family, pro-religious freedom laws that build a nation where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished. Now that is what we call winning.

That’s also why I want to share with you the story of what you helped bring about in primary elections across the country.

But first—what is a primary election anyway, and why does it matter?

Too often, many of us—myself included—have voted only in the general election in November, and maybe only then if it’s a big presidential election year. But the truth is, sometimes the biggest difference can be made in the primary election, especially at the state level.

This is because primary elections are where the members of the major political parties, Democrats and Republicans, select a candidate who best represents their values for that district. The winner will go on to the general election in November. Primary elections are why many in the Democratic party, for example, are seeing more and more of their candidates with socialistic ideas—because those candidates are being selected at the primary level in districts that tend to lean Democratic. On the other hand, many Republicans are seeing candidates called “RINOs,” or Republicans In Name Only. These candidates claim membership in the Republican party but reject some of the platform’s key components, such as being prolife.

In other words, if we want to see more conservative, prolife, pro-family leaders represent us, then we need to vote for the more conservative, prolife, pro-family candidate in whichever party we belong to in the primary election. Primary elections are why it’s also helpful to belong to a party—so that you can vote in the primary election and send the more conservative candidate onto the November election. In many states, you must declare a political party in order to vote in that party’s primary election.

Now onto the great results you helped achieve in the 2018 primary elections, which just concluded this week!

Your partnership with Family Policy Alliance helped 39 stronger pro-family candidates win critical primary elections in 8 different states.

To influence these 39 races, we communicated with voters nearly 850,000 times through knocking on doors, phone calls, email, targeted digital ads, and good old snail mail!

I can’t thank you enough for making the country, state-by-state, more conservative and family-centered by voting for the more conservative pro-family candidate in these key races!

I now want to share with you two examples of how your involvement in the primary election is writing a new story in two different states.

9 votes. We often hear “well my one vote doesn’t matter anyway.” And, it’s easy to think that when you consider the large number of voters in your state, and certainly in the country. But a race in Kansas was won by only 9 votes!

Our ally in Kansas, Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, identified five key primary races there. In these five races, the incumbent Republican legislators had voted against one of the biggest wins for religious freedom from this year—a simple law that ensures that faith-based adoption agencies can continue to run their ministries in a way that aligns with their faith. The law is necessary because groups like the ACLU are trying to shut down Christian and other adoption agencies that believe children do best when placed with a married mom and dad—leaving birth moms and children with less opportunities and choices

Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, with the help of pro-family Kansans, helped the pro-religious freedom candidate win in 4/5 of those races! Candidate Paul Waggoner was one of those winners—he’s the candidate who won by 9 votes. That means that because nine people showed up to vote in the primary election, Kansans in that district will now have the chance to elect someone in November who will stand strong for them on religious freedom.

And in Georgia, our ally Family Policy Alliance of Georgia supported three primary candidates who were attacked by business associations in the state for supporting religious freedom and other pro-family legislation. Business associations spent big money to try to defeat these good legislators, and no other pro-family groups in Georgia stood up to support these four candidates.

Despite well-funded opposition, all four won their primary elections! Two of these legislators attended our sister Foundation’s Statesmen Academy training program for Christian legislators, and we know that all four will go on to lead the way with pro-family policies in Georgia.

So thank you for supporting pro-family candidates in the primary elections!

And congratulations to all those who now head to the November 6th general election!

We ask now that you prepare for November 6th. We saw many good candidates achieve victory in the primaries. Now we need these pro-family candidates to carry that momentum into November 6th, winning their elections, so that we can go on to see the real winning—where these leaders will pass policies that restore an America where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished.

Make sure you know who your candidates are and where your polling place is.

If you’d like to help pro-family candidates win on November 6th in 60 different critical races, state and federal, across the country please consider giving to rally pro-family voters—and right now your gift will be DOUBLED up to $130,000!

For winning what really matters,


Autumn Leva,
Vice President of Strategy