Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver officially announced her candidacy for New Mexico Secretary of State on Thursday in Albuquerque. NM Political Report first reported last month that a source confirmed Toulouse planned to run for the position.
Toulouse said she is making transparency and accountability of elected officials a priority of her campaign.
“My top priority will be to enact thoughtful and innovative reforms to New Mexico’s campaign finance system and hold elected officials, government employees, candidates, lobbyists and all political groups to the highest levels of ethical standards and accountability,” Toulouse said in a statement.
Specifically, she said she will tackle campaign finance and reporting if she is elected.
“The plan is first and foremost to address the campaign finance system in New Mexico,” Toulouse said.
Toulouse ran unsuccessfully against then-incumbent Dianna Duran for Secretary of State in 2014. After Duran resigned from office amid criminal charges last year Toulouse one of the people who applied for in the position. Gov. Susana Martinez eventually appointed Albuquerque City Councilor Brad Winter.
Leading up to Duran’s resignation, the Secretary of State’s office proposed rule changes for campaign finance and reporting. The public hearing for those rules was scheduled for the same day that Duran announced her resignation. The office announced that rule changes would be put on hold until a replacement Secretary was appointed. Toulouse told NM Political Report that even if Winter pushes the proposed rule changes through, there is still room for improvement.
“I think that there is always room for improvement on anything having to do with elections and especially with anything having to do with ethics and accountability,” Toulouse said.
Toulouse said, if elected, she would also address the issue of campaign finance reporting and enforcement.
“We also have absolutely no rules about enforcement and we need to create those rules and we need to create a very clear way for people to follow those rules,” Toulouse said.
Last year, a number of candidates and elected officials faced scrutiny for incomplete or ambiguous campaign expenditures.
Toulouse’s campaign listed a number of Democratic elected officials who have endorsed her campaign including members of New Mexico’s Congressional delegation and a number of New Mexico legislators.
Toulouse is currently the only official candidate for the office. Primary elections will be held on June 7 this year.