Democrats across the nation have announced massive fundraising hauls as the midterm elections near. This includes New Mexico. Water lawyer Xochitl Torres Small announced a record-breaking $1.9 million raised in the last quarter in her race to represent the state’s 2nd Congressional District. Campaign finance reports for federal races are due tomorrow and cover the period from July 1 to Sept. 30.
Some resources from national Democrats are trickling into New Mexico in an attempt to swing the state’s 2nd Congressional District from Republicans to Democrats. The national party is doing that as many predict a “wave” election for Democrats, and a chance to return the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives to Democrats. To do that, Democrats will need to win in traditionally-Republican districts and retain all their own districts. This puts New Mexico on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s radar. Next year’s election will see two New Mexico congressional districts without an incumbent running for reelection.
Democrats are backing away from a candidate for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District after his arrest for stalking. David Alcon was arrested in Albuquerque Friday on a warrant from Santa Fe police for allegedly stalking a woman. He was previously arrested for trespassing and aggravated stalking in 2007. He told the Albuquerque Journal that he had mental health issues which he had worked hard to manage. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which seeks to elect Democrats to Congress, distanced itself from Alcon.
National Democrats announced Monday they will target New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District in the 2018 elections. The move comes as part of an expansion of 20 more Republican-held House seats targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Already, Democrats announced 59 other seats are in their electoral crosshairs. With this second round of targets, Democrats are targeting nearly one-third of all seats currently held by Republicans. (Four seats are currently vacant.)
Republicans said earlier this year that both of the New Mexico congressional districts held by Democrats are on their list of targets.
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of Nambe is going to be a key figure for Democrats in the next election cycle. That’s because he’s the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. As such, he’s tasked with aiding Democrats in their pursuit of retaking the U.S. House of Representatives—and while he won’t say if he’s confident Democrats will do so in the 2018 midterms, he says they will pick up seats. Luján said this while taping an episode of C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” show to air this weekend, according to Roll Call. “It’s too early to know what’s going to happen in November of 2018, but I can tell you Democrats in the House are on offensive, and there’s no question that we will pick up seats in 2018,” he said according to the paper.
The national Republican group tasked with winning seats in Congress announced their list of targets of seats currently held by Democrats for the 2018 elections. On that list are two New Mexico congressional seats, including one that a Republican has never held for a full term. Those seats, the 1st Congressional and 3rd Congressional Districts, would likely be tough races for Republicans, based on recent election results. The National Republican Congressional Committee announced 36 Democratically-held seats as areas for potential pickups to increase their advantage in the House. Republicans currently outnumber Democrats 240-193, with two seats open after lawmakers left those seats to take other positions in government.
Congressman Ben Ray Luján had his emails hacked by those with ties to Russians, according to a report in the New York Times. Luján was the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, an organization that seeks to elect more Democrats to the U.S. House of Representatives. The DCCC was the target of the hacking incident, which was similar to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Media reports have also said that the Republican National Committee saw its emails hacked, though the organization has denied this. The DCCC acknowledged it was hacked in July of this year.
Vice President Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are among the high profile Democrats scheduled to appear in Santa Fe this weekend for a Democratic conference. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Issues Conference will take place this weekend with a number of high profile Democrats. Related: Michelle Obama to give commencement address at Santa Fe Indian School
The Santa Fe location is likely thanks to Ben Ray Luján. The congressman who represents the state capital is the chair of the DCCC. Luján is the first Hispanic chair of the Democratic group dedicated to elected Democrats to Congress. “I look forward to welcoming Leader Pelosi, Vice President Biden, and my colleagues to New Mexico for this opportunity to show off the state and all the great things New Mexico has to offer,” Luján said in a statement.
In the current permanent campaign cycle, the most important election is always the next election. And with Ben Ray Luján as the new head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, an organization tasked with electing Democrats to the U.S. House of Representatives, New Mexico will have a figure at the center of the next elections. The DCCC and Democratic Policy and Communications Committee have given a preview of what the next few weeks will look like, as Congress goes on its annual August recess. The Democrats are looking to retake the House or at least start to bridge the gap with the Republican majority. According to Roll Call, there will be a good cop/bad cop routine by the Democrats in the coming weeks with the DCCC, and Luján as the head, as the bad cop.