April 24, 2019

Toulouse Oliver announces Senate run: ‘We need more women in Washington’

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced Wednesday she is running for the U.S. Senate.

The Democrat has already won statewide races for Secretary of State twice and if she wins in 2020 would become the first woman to represent New Mexico in the U.S. Senate in the state’s history.

In a slickly-produced video, Toulouse Oliver emphasized her personal history, including attending college as a single mother and graduating with “a pile of student debt.” She says that as Secretary of State she “took on the Koch brothers and won,” on campaign finance reform.

She also said that she supports Medicare-for-all and supports “a Washington that doesn’t separate families at the border.”

In a separate statement announcing her run, Toulouse Oliver also says she supports the Green New Deal.

“We need more women in Washington,” Toulouse Oliver said. “It’s that simple. We’ve seen a dramatic change in the House of Representatives, now it’s time to change the face of the Senate by electing the first woman Senator from New Mexico.”

Toulouse Oliver filed the official paperwork to run last week.

She is the second, and likely last, high-profile Democrat in the race. U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján announced earlier this month he will run for the seat and lined up support behind him, including from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a key committee devoted to electing Democrats to the U.S. Senate. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland also endorsed Luján last week.

Before winning the election to Secretary of State in 2016, Toulouse Oliver was the Bernalillo County Clerk for eight years.

They won’t be alone in the Democratic primary. Former legislative candidate Giovanni Alexander Haqani of Albuquerque announced last week he would seek the Senate seat as well.

On the Republican side, former Trump administration official Gavin Clarkson announced he would run for the seat. High-profile Republicans including former U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, former Lt. Gov. John Sanchez and former U.S. Senate candidate Mick Rich are also reportedly considering running for Senate.

The seat is open because U.S. Senator Tom Udall announced earlier this year that he would not seek a third term. Open races for the Senate are rare in New Mexico, through this race will be the third in the last 11 years.