August 1, 2018

Obama endorses three NM candidates

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Gage Skidmore

Barack Obama. Flickr/cc

Three Democratic candidates in New Mexico received endorsements from a high-profile source: former President Barack Obama.

Obama announced his nationwide endorsements on Twitter Wednesday, with less than 100 days until election day.

Obama endorsed 1st Congressional District candidate Deb Haaland, state House District 23 incumbent Daymon Ely and House District 30 candidate Natalie Figueroa.

Haaland would be the first Native American woman elected to Congress, and her campaign says she asked for Obama’s endorsement.

Haaland said she was “proud to have the support of my old boss.” Haaland was Obama’s Native American Vote Director in New Mexico in 2012.

“The President taught me two things: we win when we organize every community and talk to every voter, and we win when we campaign on a diverse and beautiful vision of America’s future,” Haaland wrote in an email to NM Political Report.

Ely, meanwhile, narrowly won an election in 2016 and is a vulnerable Democrat in the state House. And Figueroa is running in an open seat to take over for Nate Gentry, the House Minority Leader who narrowly defeated her in 2016.

Ely told NM Political Report that he was “thrilled that [Obama] took the time to do this.”

“My campaign is honored to receive the endorsement of a President who truly exemplified public service and has inspired my runs for office,” Figueroa said.

Obama received over 50 percent of the vote in both state house districts in 2012, winning each by nearly six percentage points over Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Obama won the 1st Congressional District easily in 2012, receiving 55.3 percent of the vote.

Pundits consider the 1st Congressional District a safe-Democratic seat. Republicans held the district for years. But it shifted to Democrats in 2009, and has continued shifting left since then.