Election 2014: High-Stakes Races We’re Following

Us Senator—Udall Vs. Weh

August March
8 min read
High-Stakes Races WeÕre Following
( Paolo Camera )
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US Senator

Job Description: One of New Mexico’s two representatives in the US Senate. Drafts and votes on federal legislation.

Term: Six years

Salary: $165,200

Incumbent, Democratic candidate Tom Udall vs. Republican challenger Allen Weh

The 2014 campaign for US Senator features incumbent Tom Udall, a Democrat from a notable New Mexico political family, locking horns with Republican candidate Allen Weh. Weh is a former aviation company CEO. He’s also served on the local police advisory board and has had ties to the Department of Defense.

Udall has been a Senator since his election following the retirement of longtime NM politico Pete Domenici. Udall boasts a progressive stance on many national policy initiatives. He consistently voted against the war in Iraq, sought out tougher ethics laws for members of Congress and has worked to make renewable energy part of America’s heritage of growth and sustainability. Udall believes that ensuring “every American has a good-paying job” should be a top priority in Washington.

Weh, on the other hand, is a former member of the Republican National Committee and a retired colonel in the US Marine Corps Reserve who served two tours of duty in Vietnam. Politically, Weh is far to the right of the incumbent and stands for maintaining a strong national defense and reducing government spending. He has the explicit support of organizations like the NRA and wants to ensure our state and federal law enforcement officials have the “necessary manpower and resources to stop people from entering our country illegally.”



Election 2014 Us Congress—Lujan Grisham Vs. Frese

US Congress

Job Description: Federal representative for New Mexicans living in the 1st Congressional District. Drafts and votes on legislation.

Term: Two years, no term limit

Salary: $174,000

Incumbent, Democratic candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham vs. Republican challenger Michael H. Frese

US House of Representative candidates this election year include Republican Michael H. Frese and Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Lujan Grisham has held the post as New Mexico’s congressional representative from the first district since 2013. On the issues: The congresswoman stands for preserving and advancing women’s rights, working with small businesses to provide incentives for job growth and supporting good teachers and manageable class sizes in state classrooms. Additionally Lujan Grisham was an original co-sponsor of a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

Frese says he is running for Congress to “free the American economy from job-killing regulation from Washington, DC.” Frese is an intellectual disciple of Ronald Reagan, writing that “a corrupt ideological bureaucracy traps our children in failing schools, makes huge loans to green-energy companies and gives unions the assets of failing the companies they are killing.” He believes that President Obama’s progressivism, “an undead socialism,” is “a threat to our freedom.”



Election 2014 Attorney General—Balderas Vs. Riedel

Attorney General

Job Description: New Mexico’s chief legal representative. Writes advisory letters and opinions. Prosecutes and defends court cases, usually in upper-level state appellate courts.

Term: Four years, limited to two consecutive terms

Salary: $95,000

Democratic candidate Hector Balderas vs. Republican candidate Susan M. Riedel

Incumbent Gary King is moving on from his mission as New Mexico Attorney General to pursue gubernatorial aspirations. So the race for the top law enforcement position in state government is wide open. This year’s contenders are Democrat Hector Balderas and Republican Susan M. Riedel.

Balderas, the current state auditor, hews to a platform that is community conscious and invested in problem solving. He calls for treating drug abuse intelligently and changing law enforcement priorities so that drug interdiction is no longer a “drain to law enforcement resources.” Balderas also seeks to advocate for the state’s senior citizens and consumers, pledging to “fight tirelessly to protect New Mexicans from crime and corruption.”

Riedel is the former Chief Deputy District Attorney for Las Cruces, N.M. As a noted prosecutor, Riedel is a law and order advocate who wants to ensure that “legal technicalities don’t put dangerous criminals back in our communities.” She is pro-business and wants to make new corporate entities feel welcome in the Land of Enchantment by limiting the “red tape and regulations” that she believes prevent commerce from flourishing in New Mexico.



Election 2014 Secretary Of State—Duran Vs. Toulouse Oliver

Secretary of State

Job Description: Oversees the statewide election process. Maintains lists of registered voters. Evaluates voting machines. Manages campaign finance reports. Second in line of succession for governor.

Term: Four years, limited to two consecutive terms

Salary: $85,000

Incumbent, Republican candidate Dianna J. Duran vs. Democratic challenger Maggie Toulouse Oliver

The job of Secretary of State is to oversee the election process, maintain vital records of the state’s citizens and business entities and administer New Mexico’s Corporations Bureau. Additionally, the Secretary of State is third in the line of succession for governance of the state, after the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Current office holder Dianna J. Duran was the first Republican to have been elected to the office since 1928. Duran is working to continue in her position and is opposed by Democrat Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

Duran’s platform is based on the idea that fair and lawful elections are the basis for a strong republic and state. She advocates for smaller accountable government and is convinced that voter fraud is an ongoing problem in the state and nation and so favors the introduction of legislation to implement voter identification measures during elections. Duran was strongly against implementing non-binding questions on this year’s ballot, a decision that was ultimately overturned by the courts.

On the other side of the fence, Toulouse Oliver has served as Bernalillo County Clerk since 2007. In this position she has made improving customer service a priority and worked toward improving the voting process in her home county by implementing early voting centers and voter registration drives aimed at and including all eligible citizens in the electoral process. As a candidate for Secretary of State, Toulouse Oliver wants to make voting “easier and more accessible for every New Mexican.”



Election 2014 Land Commissioner—Powell Vs. Dunn

Land Commissioner

Job Description: One of the more powerful offices in the state. Governs the management of state lands, which affects wildlife, townships and public education, as most of the revenue from the office goes toward New Mexico schools.

Term: Four years, with a two-term maximum

Salary: $90,000

Incumbent, Democratic candidate Ray Powell vs. Republican challenger Aubrey Dunn

The contest for New Mexico Land Commissioner pits incumbent Ray Powell, a Democrat, against Aubrey Dunn, a Republican whose background includes formative work as a leader in business and ranching. The job involves the management, administration and policy issues associated with New Mexico’s extensive natural geographic resources. Both candidates support the exploration and use of renewable energy sources like solar and wind power as a means of reducing environmental stress on Earth.

Dunn supports the use of public lands by ranchers and timber companies while eschewing much of his opponent’s embrace of what he terms “extreme environmentalism.” Further, he supports property owners’ rights and wants to run the office of Commissioner of Public Lands “as if it’s a business.”

Powell is a firm believer in conserving and protecting New Mexico’s natural resources for future generations. A veterinarian by trade, Powell wants to continue to hold users and property owners accountable for ethical use of the land. To that end, incumbent Powell wants to continue to engage state regulation as a means of securing and sustaining public lands and providing economic opportunities for the citizens of this state.


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