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CVNM Action Fund Endorsed Candidates & Primary Election Outcomes


Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham – win

Commissioner of Public Lands

Garrett VeneKlasen – loss

New Mexico House of Representatives

House District 13: Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero – win
House District 33: Micaela Cadena – win
House District 40: Paula Garcia – loss
House District 41: Susan Herrera – win
House District 43: Pete Sheehey – loss
House District 46: Andrea Romero – win
House District 52: Rep. Doreen Gallegos – win
House District 53: Willie A. Madrid – win

New Mexico Public Regulation Commission

District 4: Janene Yazzie – loss
District 5: Steve Fischmann – win

Grant County Commission

District 1 – Donald “Jesse” Franklin Owens – loss
District 2 – Cindy Renee Provencio – loss

Tuesday night’s primary was a big night of wins and some disappointments, but overall the primary election was a huge success for candidates who made it clear that they care about New Mexico’s air, land, water and communities. None of this would have been possible without you!
Thank you for supporting Conservation Voters New Mexico (CVNM) and conservation candidates up and down the ballot during the primary election. In the face of unprecedented daily assaults from the Trump administration on our environment, we worked hard to elect conservation champions to protect the people and communities in our state.

With your support, CVNM continues to build a strong political voice for New Mexico’s environment by electing pro-conservation candidates who will work to protect our air, land, water and the health of our communities. Eight of 14 candidates that CVNM Action Fund endorsed for primary election were successful in their races. We endsorsed in statewide, Public Regulation Commission (PRC), State House of Representatives and Grant County Commission races. Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero (HD 13), Susan Herrera (HD 41) and Andrea Romero (HD 46) do not face general election challengers and, pending final official results, will serve their constituents in the legislature in 2019.
We strategically engage in elections because who we elect matters for the future of New Mexico’s environment. Our plan to invest early and big in New Mexico’s 2018 primary election paid off. Candidates who care about our environment connected with voters and won because of it, and conservation issues were at the center of races statewide.
We invested heavily in primary races up and down the ballot, implementing our largest primary electoral program in the organization’s history. Despite huge, last minute investments in anti-conservation candidates by oil and gas corporations and PNM, pro-conservation candidates won the majority of their races. The 2018 primary election shows that having a strong conservation record, platform and vision pays off for candidates. New Mexicans are ready to bring change to our state, and that was clear as anti-conservation incumbents in the PRC and House of Representatives were defeated by fresh pro-conservation voices.
We’re so proud to see how strongly Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham, who CVNM Action Fund endorsed for Governor in the fall of 2017, performed in the primary election. She won with 66% of the vote. Conservation Voters in New Mexico want a fighter on their side in the Governor’s office, and they chose Rep. Lujan Grisham. Rep. Lujan Grisham has the experience and vision to transform our state. She will ensure that our conservation and cultural values for protecting our air, land and water guide our decision-makers and public policy. New Mexico voters will have a clear choice in November between a pro-conservation visionary with plans for change and a pro-polluter extremist industry pawn.
The Commissioner of Public Lands race, along with several House races, demonstrated that New Mexicans want more women in leadership positions. Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard won narrowly over Garrett VeneKlasen, CVNM Action Fund’s endorsee. We thank Mr. VeneKlasen for making the Commissioner of Public Lands race about public lands, methane waste capture, renewable energy, eco-tourism and recreation. The robust contest between Mr. VeneKlasen and Rep. Garcia Richard elevated the State Land Office race for New Mexico voters, bringing this critical and unique elected office to the forefront like never before. Rep. Garcia Richard ran a strong campaign, and we’re committed to helping her continue to put conservation values at the forefront of this race and office.
Our focus is to connect New Mexicans like you with your political power to ensure our public policies represent our values, and much of this work happens in the New Mexico Legislature. Moving into the general election, CVNM’s work on behalf of conservation candidates has bolstered the conservation performance of the Democratic caucus in the House. There are exciting new pro-conservation voices headed to the House in 2019.
Some of the biggest wins of the night were in the New Mexico House of Representatives. Oil and gas corporations and PNM invested heavily in four key races and lost. Every. Time. In House District 41, House Business Committee Chair Debbie Rodella was defeated by CVNM Action Fund endorsed candidate Susan Herrera. In House District 46, incumbent Representative Carl Trujillo was unseated by our endorsed pro-conservation candidate Andrea Romero 47% to 53%. In Albuquerque’s House District 13, conservation champion Representative Patricia Roybal Caballero defeated anti-conservation challengers and won 48% in a three-way race. In House District 33 in Las Cruces, CVNM Action Fund endorsed candidate Micaela Lara Cadena won with 54% in a three-way race.
While our two endorsed candidates in Grant County Commission races didn’t win their races, we remain committed to working closely with the communities around the Gila. Our deepest thanks go out to Cindy Provencio and Jesse Franklin Owens for their hard work and dedication to representing the conservation values of their Grant County districts.
We also engage New Mexicans in policy work at the Public Regulation Commission (PRC), which regulates public power utilities. In PRC District 5, CVNM Action Fund endorsee Steve Fischmann defeated incumbent Commissioner Sandy Jones. CVNM Verde Voters Fund, our independent expenditure political action committee, invested heavily in the race and made a distinct difference, helping Steve Fischmann secure a decisive victory. This win gives us the opportunity for a conservation majority on the commission. If Fischmann wins the general election, he will join pro-conservation Commissioners Cynthia Hall and Valerie Espinoza.
In PRC District 4, CVNM Action Fund backed Janene Yazzie, who lost narrowly. We are tremendously encouraged by Ms. Yazzie’s leadership and grassroots campaign. Ms. Yazzie is a young, rising pro-conservation star who will continue to organize and create change in her community. She might not have won this race, but she’s not going anywhere. We’re excited to support her as she continues to grow in her role as a community leader.
The primary is the first round in this massively important election year. We’re now looking toward the general election in November, partnering with communities to make sure our endorsed candidates reflect our people’s deeply-rooted conservation values and making plans to get them over the finish line. We’ve been successful with your support, and we know we can succeed in November with you in our corner.
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CVNM engages in a thorough endorsement process and endorses candidates based on their conservation records and responses to a questionnaire on topics including environmental justice, environmental health, quality of life, energy, water, land use, transportation, wildlife and wilderness. Read more about our endorsement policies.