Indian Country Today
New Mexico voters will decide Tuesday on two races involving Native American candidates for Congress.
First: In Albuquerque Paulette Jordan will champion Deb Haaland in get-out-the-vote rallies. Haaland is Laguna Pueblo and is running in a crowded Democratic primary for the 1st congressional district. The race is expected to be extraordinarily close with Haaland and two other candidates, former U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez and former UNM law professor and civil rights activist Antoinette Sedillo Lopez. The latest poll shows all three candidates within the margin of error.
Jordan, Coeur d’Alene, is the Democratic Party’s nominee for governor in Idaho. In mid-May she won a contested primary despite getting little support from the establishment. Now she’s the one reaching out to broaden the party’s base.
“As Native American women, no one is an outsider to the system like Deb Haaland and I are. Our political system was not designed to elect women of color, and so we must work harder than anyone else to overcome that culture of political insiders and dark money in order to truly represent the people we wish to serve,” Jordan writes in a pre-election e-mail blast. “I've been following Deb's campaign since she announced over a year ago — I can tell she's a fighter like me! She absolutely can win her race with the swell of grassroots support that surrounds her campaign. I saw it work on mine, and I'm confident she will have the same success.”
Jordan will campaign in Albuquerque Monday with Haaland at three events. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wisconsin, is also campaigning with Haaland on Sunday and Monday. In every election it's easy to say that turnout matters. However in a race this close that's even more so.
In the congressional district to the South, Republican Gavin Clarkson, Choctaw, told the Deming Headlight that he has “a callus on my knuckle from knocking on doors." He predicted he would add 2,000 more miles on his car before the votes are counted. New Mexico’s 2nd congressional district stretches from a portion of Albuquerque throughout the southern part of the state.
Clarkson, who speaks Spanish, told the Headlight that his strategy is win the tribal vote and to reach socially conservative Latinos “who believe in the rule of law and don’t like the fact that sanctuary cities and open borders just fumble up the rule of law.”
There have been no independent polls released in the 2nd congressional district. The GOP primary includes state Rep. Yvette Herrell and former Republican Party Chairman Monty Newman. The district is currently represented by Republican Steve Pearce who is running for governor.
In South Dakota, Allison Renville who is running for a state Senate seat in the first district, was named a “2018 Champion” from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. Only 127 candidates nationwide were identified as champions, including
Allison Renville, Hunkpapa Lakota, is in a three-way race against Rep. Susan Wismer and Thomas Bisek.The winner of the Democratic primary is likely the district’s next senator because the GOP did not field a candidate.
Montana’s Jade Bahr, Northern Cheyenne, was also cited as a “2018 Champion.” Bahr is running in Billings for a state House seat district 50. Bahr also has a primary election on Tuesday.
“Our 2018 Champions across the country are committed to solving big problems affecting their communities,” said Marissa Barrow, a spokesperson for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “Selected for their bold vision, these candidates are highly capable leaders ready to make change.”
Nationally there are 102 Native Americans running for state legislatures, another 15 running for Congress, and 16 campaigning for state offices. This week marks the high water mark for #NativeVote18 candidate totals.
Mark Trahant is editor of Indian Country Today. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Follow him on TwitterFollow @TrahantReports