Alibi V.27 No.46 • Nov 15-21, 2018 

Editorial

In the News

Riding the blue aftermath of voting actions, part one

Deb Haaland
La politica en Nuevo Mexico desde 2018
Corey Yazzie

Take a look at N.M.’s political map. It’s totally blue, dudes.

The sense of pride and accomplishment here belongs to the state’s citizens, who all around have indicated they’ve had enough of Trumpism and all its ill-advised and even more ill implementation. Recall while decoding that last sentence that this column is about la politica; we’ve dispensed with the cool irony of the music section to tell readers the way it really is.

In this case, the Trump administration is an illness that must be checked by the cleansing powers of an empowered electorate. In this case the newly appointed, soon to be sworn in Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives should provide a potent curative.

The election of Michelle Lujan Grisham to the office of governor of the state of New Mexico as well as the election of Deb Haaland to the District 1 US House seat are more than just symbolic victories. They really do represent a new and vibrant voice in New Mexican politics.

The Second District

The situation in the Second US Congressional District of the state of New Mexico continues to clarify. The Doña Ana County Canvassing Board met on Tuesday afternoon and confirmed and certified results that clearly show Democrat Xochitl Torres Small to be the winner. As of today, unofficial results from the southern county show Torres Small with 100,570 votes and the Republican Herrell with but 97,031 in her camp.

That undisputed fact hasn’t kept Herrell from doing the right thing and conceding. Or has it? The state representative from down south went on teevee this past weekend to vaguely remind Fox News viewers that she was concerned about “voter integrity and restoring voter confidence. … We want to make sure if there are problems, we fix them.” Respectfully, Ms. Herrell, the problem that needs to be fixed here is your attention to civility. Torres Small clearly won the race, the results will be certified today.

Yet your campaign continues a doctrine of radio silence and therefore, denial. Reliance on the forms of your Trumpian handlers to perpetuate the illusion of victory only strengthens the resolve of the Democratic reformers who actually did triumph.

N.M. House in the House

Weekly Alibi started this election cycle coverage thingy in earnest after this year’s iteration of Labor Day. We started with local and statewide races and proceeded upwards from there, ultimately urging our readers to embrace the Democratic platform. In that coverage we chose specific races that represented the progressive values and matched cultural themes with which our editorial board was comfortable.

It’s very interesting to note that all of the candidates chosen in this manner won their races, and so contributed to the blue wave that passed through the Land of Enchantment last week.

Melanie Stansbury won her race to unseat longtime Republican Jimmie Hall in District 28. Even looked at as a singular notch in the win column, Stansbury’s election signifies a changing of the guard. Hall had been in situ since 2004 and had run unopposed for the seat at the roundhouse for the past three elections. Hall last faced an opponent in 2010! It’s clear from Stansbury’s ground game and sense of optimistic, not-necessarily partisan progressivism that her political star is on the rise.

In District 20 meanwhile, Abbas Akhil remains in the lead and is prepared to lead. With the race set to be certified in the coming week, Akhil, a 40-year resident and retired scientist from Sandia Labs has a slight edge over incumbent Jim Dines, another hoary elephant in a once for certain part of Burque’s elephant territory.

Weekly Alibi met Abbas at a District 1 Congressional Debate this year, before the primaries. We were impressed with his upbeat tone, informed perspective and ability to speak to the needs and priorities this city and state must examine and enact to move forward. This newspaper was early and affirmative in its endorsement of Abbas and we look forward to working with the man when he heads to Santa Fe. Akhil Abbas will be the first member of the Muslim faith to serve on New Mexico’s Legislature.

Monica Youngblood, the Republican rising star in N.M. House District 68, was convicted of aggravated DWI this past summer. Given the lack of an ethical backbone in the embodiments of her party chiefs—and their subsequent acceptance by elephant lovers countrywide—GOP strategists obviously thought she could skate. Wrong, oh tusked ones, wrong. Youngblood and her entire political career were squashed on election night by Karen Bash a progressive, septuagenarian minister with no political experience whatsoever. Damn straight and as it should be.

BernCo

The Benalillo County Board of Commissioners, made up of five elected members, is an often undervalued but truly estimable and mighty policy-making group that meets as often as the City Council, handles similar matters for unincorporated parts of the county and generally provides governance, a sounding board and locus of civic discussion regarding issues as diverse as the county’s status as a place of sanctuary and the county’s position on future urban development and consequent water use.

Though the board has swung both left and right over the years, the recent upgrade of notorious right-winger Wayne Johnson to the position of state auditor (which he lost to Brian Colón last week) and the subsequent appointment of one of La Tejana’s favoritos, James Smith to the seat, meant that the position was ripe for taking by a board which was beginning to incline itself to the left anyway.

Though that propensity had been smashed down into partisan atoms when Steven Michael Quezada, a Democrat (!) voted against putting the Democracy Dollars initiative on the November ballot, progressive forces truly believed that electing another donkey to the County Commissioners club would keep a progressive agenda—that included an end to the Santolina development—on track.

The answer to this quandry came in the form of a candidate named Charlene Pyskoty. Pyskoty was another Dem this paper interviewed post-Labor Day, to get the pulse of the Party and to set the stage for the proposition that progressive and centrist Democrats, particularly women and people of color, were the best way to go after our state’s porvenir.

The Auditor

After talking to Brian Colón on multiple occasions over the past few years, it became clear that this man’s intelligence, business, legal and political acumen as well as the dude’s resounding optimism should indeed lead to elected office. Colón called Weekly Alibi about a week before our election issue came out, just to check in. We both joked that he should dress up in a Halloween costume so we could put him on the cover of that issue. But we both knew the truth and it was serious. Colón represents a bounty of experience, education and information.

To forsake that opportunity in favor of Wayne Johnson would have been a big step back for this state—one that we will thankfully never have to take. Welcome aboard, captain!

The Senate and Beyond

Of course Martin Heinrich won. The dude rocks. Check out his demeanor, diligence, dutiful patriotism and awesome ability as a senator in some of the recordings made of debates and meetings where Heinrich was present.

No, we’re not aggrieved about our portrayal of elder statesman Gary Johnson. We don’t have it wrong about Libertarianism, either. Let’s stay focused folks, not get distracted by imaginary kingdoms and the royalty of yore.

And all of that—from the first name on this list to the last—points out the fact that this election, newly born, was just the first episode in a vasty mini-series designed to restore our republic. That will come to a conclusion in 2020 and it will be to your liking, we propose, but only if you vote.