I know everyone is focused on Wisconsin today, and rightfully so. But there’s a race I care deeply about in New Mexico. Martin Heinrich, who currently represents the 1st Congressional District (Albuquerque basically) is running to replace Jeff Bingaman in the Senate. So the primary for his seat is today. There are 3 candidates. The best is Eric Griego, who was a very progressive city council member when I lived there, is a favorite of the Netroots, and has been endorsed by AFSCME, AFT, and the Sierra Club. He is a very good progressive and worth watching for the future. Michelle Lujan Grisham is presently a county commissioner and seems solid enough. She’s big into creating green jobs and has a lot of experience in the health care industry, for good or bad.
And then there’s Marty Chavez. The absolute worst kind of Democrat, Chavez was long-time mayor of Albuquerque. It’s difficult for me to say how much I despise Marty Chavez. He’s long been involved in all sorts of dirty politics to serve his unquenchable ambition. In New Mexico, he was every Republican’s favorite Democrat, happy to sell out the left wing of his party, very pro-development. There was great fear in 2008 that Chavez would be the Senate candidate until Tom Udall rode to the rescue (in a way that, say, Russ Feingold did not) and turned that long-time Republican seat to the Democrats. If New Mexico wants a Ben Nelson or a Blanche Lincoln to represent them in the Senate, Chavez is their man.
Luckily, they don’t. Burquenos finally got sick of Chavez’s ways and voted him out; even if it was a Republican replacing him, at least it was someone different. He is trailing badly in a very tight race between Griego and Lujan Grisham. I think I am comfortable speaking for all my LGM colleagues, none of whom have likely heard of any of these people nor care about New Mexico politics, to give the all-important LGM endorsement to Eric Griego, who would be the kind of congressman every progressive could be proud of.
But most importantly, remember to vote for anyone but Chavez.