Candidates Clash in New Mexico Congressional Election Debate
SANTA FE, NM (AP) – Candidates from major parties for an open Congressional seat in New Mexico clashed over solutions to violent crime, police accountability, the southern border wall and economic challenges of the pandemic at the start of the early absentee ballot.
Four candidates have their names on the ballot for the 1st Congressional District position to succeed Deb Haaland after leaving Congress to lead the Home Office. Election day is June 1 for a seat that the Democrats have held since 2009.
Democratic Rep. Melanie Stansbury and Republican Senator Mark Moores are at the forefront of the contest with the backing of a major party, pursued by a libertarian candidate and an experienced political independent. Two registered candidates are registered.
In a combative hour-long debate, Moores stressed his unwavering support for the police, while Stansbury emphasized families and a humanitarian approach to immigration. Libertarian candidate Chris Manning also joined as an option “thugs”, arguing for the decriminalization of drugs and a shift of police resources towards homicide and reduction of speeding tickets.
Moores said former President Donald Trump’s border wall project must be completed to stem drug trafficking and asylum seekers, saying President Joe Biden’s suspension of some construction has led to inhumane conditions in southern New Mexico.
Moores has also repeatedly sought to tie Stansbury to the Black Lives Movement’s so-called BREATHE Act in 2020, which would remove taxpayer spending from traditional policing and agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency and invest in alternative approaches to public safety.
In response, Stansbury highlighted his work in the Legislature, coordinating capital spending for police and other first responders. She said investments should tackle the root causes of crime through addiction treatment services and better public education – and that police reforms, including a federal withdrawal of criminal immunity. police, are needed to fix a broken criminal justice system.
She hit back at Moores wondering how he could accept funds for his business from federal relief programs and still oppose Biden’s ongoing initiatives on infrastructure spending and a $ 1.8 trillion proposal. dollars for education and families which includes free preschool.
Moores called the question line “despicable,” saying he was putting his personal safety on the line to help his business perform COVID-19 testing during the pandemic. He co-owns a diagnostic testing lab that has received about $ 1.8 million in federal payroll support loans that may not have to be repaid.
Stansbury is a public policy consultant for environmental and philanthropic groups who invokes her education in Albuquerque within a low income family. She ousted a Republican leaving the Statehouse in 2018 amid a wave of successful campaigns by progressive New Mexico legislative candidates.
Moores, a third-term state senator and former University of New Mexico soccer lineman, sharply criticized the state’s aggressive restrictions on the pandemic. On Tuesday, he highlighted Latin American family ties dating back to the region’s Spanish colonial period.
Republican Party leaders said they felt a rare opportunity to topple the district in an eventual low turnout – and to erode the Democratic Party’s 218-212 majority in Congress.
But Democrats make up 47% of registered voters, compared with 28% for Republicans, in the district that encompasses the metro area of Albuquerque, rural Torrance County and outlying areas that overlap with Indigenous communities, including Sandia Pueblo. In and around Albuquerque, President Trump only got 37% of the vote in 2020.
Moores avoided a straightforward answer to the question of the moderators who won the 2020 presidential election. “Obviously Joe Biden is the current President of the United States and I hope we can change that in a few years.” , Moores said.
In the State Legislature, Stansbury and Moores offered stark contrasting views.
Stansbury this year supported and Moores voted against Democrat-backed reforms to legalize recreational marijuana and physician-assisted dying, to overturn the state’s dormant ban on most abortion procedures, and to deprive Police departments have immunity from prosecution in state courts for civil rights violations by officers. .
Moores has focused his campaign on advocating for the pursuit of oil permits on federal lands as a crucial source of employment in New Mexico. Stansbury highlighted his advocacy for modernizing the electricity grid to tackle climate change and create jobs.
“We have to elect someone with a vision, someone who will work with President Biden and across the aisle,” Stansbury said.
Moores was previously employed by former US Republican Steve Schiff and Stansbury worked in Washington for the White House Office of Management and Budget under President Barack Obama and for the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources .
Aubrey Dunn Jr., who won statewide elections in 2014 as land commissioner under the GOP banner, is also running for Haaland’s former congressional seat.
Laura Olivas and Robert Ornelas were certified as registered candidates. Tuesday’s TV talk on KOB 4 includes only the three candidates nominated by the parties.