May 4, 2016

Finding Trump supporters in New Mexico

Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump at Arizona rally in March, 2016. Flickr/cc

Donald Trump is almost certainly going to be the next Republican presidential nominee, but finding one of his supporters in New Mexico can be difficult.

Donald Trump speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via cc

Donald Trump speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via cc

According to the Federal Election Commission, the New Mexican who donated the most to Trump is Clovis business owner Steven Brewer, who donated the maximum amount of $2,700.

Related: New Mexico GOP embraces Trump

Brewer told NM Political Report that he didn’t want to speak about politics because of his business but did say that he’ll support Trump because he would be better for small businesses than Hillary Clinton.

Elected officials also have largely been mum on potential Trump support.

Gov. Susana Martinez recently criticized Trump’s comments about immigrants, but still hasn’t announced her support for any of the three Republican candidates. She endorsed Florida Senator Marco Rubio shortly before he dropped out of the race.

During a recent episode of Democracy Now!, New Mexico state Rep. Sue Wilson Beffort, R-Sandia Park, began by stating she had not endorsed anyone, but eventually said she would most likely vote for Trump. An official from the he Republican Party of New Mexico said the party would not take a stance until after the primary election.

This all came before Trump won the primary in Indiana and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz suspended his campaign.

“With Donald Trump’s win in Indiana and Ted Cruz dropping out, Trump has functionally secured the nomination,” Republican Party of New Mexico spokesman Tucker Keene said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing Donald Trump in New Mexico and working with our nominee to defeat Hillary Clinton in November and delivering our five electoral votes for the Republicans.”

Before the results, Keene said the party was looking forward to a “very competitive” race in the June 7 primaries.

FEC documents show 42 donors from New Mexico have donated more than $10,000 to Trump.

More may have donated, but the FEC does not track those who donate less than $100 to a candidate.

Bob Stephens, a Santa Fe media consultant, created the Facebook page “Team Trump 2016 New Mexico” and said he’s not too surprised that Trump is gaining momentum.

“I think the country is yearning for somebody like this,” Stephens said.

Stephens told NM Political Report that Trump used “force” to get to where he is in the polls.

“He’s usurped the rigged delegate system by sheer numbers,” Stephens said.

In recent weeks, Trump has taken to calling the Republican system “rigged” after he lost out on delegates because of a lack of planning in some states.

Still, Trump outlasted the other candidates in the race.

One of Trump’s more controversial proposals is to build a  wall across the U.S-Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it.

Stephens said Trump is speaking for what many Americans actually want.

“I think the wall is something that the country has been asking for, for the last thirty years,” Stephens said.

Trump’s stance and comments on immigrants prompted one Santa Fe County Republican official to create a Trump piñata and break it open in front of the media and the public. This led to his removal from his position of treasurer by the county party.

Stephens said he has been in touch with members of the national Trump campaign but has not heard any official word that Trump will come to New Mexico to campaign. Stephens, a self-proclaimed independent said he has never voted for a Republican during a presidential race. When asked whether he would support a third party candidate like former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Stephens said he had a different position for Johnson in mind.

“I think Trump should get Gary for Vice President,” Stephens said.

Given Johnson’s public comments on Trump, it seems unlikely that will happen.