5th Democrat joins races for Lt. Gov. nomination


Albuquerque Journal

By: Dan McKay

SANTA FE – Doña Ana County Commissioner Billy Garrett announced Friday that he’s seeking the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.

His entry into the race makes it a five-way campaign to win the Democratic nomination in the June primary.

State Sen. Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque, has raised the most money so far, with about $39,000 in cash donations; former state Rep. Rick Miera, D-Albuquerque, is next, with about $17,000 in contributions; and Jeff Carr, a former member of the Public Education Commission, has about $4,300 in donations.

Another candidate, David McTeigue of Rio Rancho, a juvenile probation officer, hasn’t filed any campaign finance reports with the state.

Whoever wins the nomination will run on a ticket with the Democratic nominee for governor.

Garrett said that as a county commissioner, he has led regional planning efforts and championed creation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

“Too many New Mexicans are struggling,” he said in a news release. “Unemployment is too high, wages are stagnating, and now millions of New Mexicans see their health care at risk. We need to send a message to New Mexicans, and the entire country, that we are ready to make a positive change for our future.”

New Mexico’s lieutenant governor presides over the state Senate – but votes only in case of a tie – and serves as acting governor when the governor travels out of state.

Campaign finance: Public financing is popular with voters, and more New Mexico women have run for office since it’s been offered, according to a study released this week.

Fifty-five percent of voters in 2016 said public financing should be available for all state and local offices, 15 percent for some offices, and nearly one-third of voters don’t support it at all, according to a report by the Center for the Study of Voting, Elections and Democracy at the University of New Mexico.

Candidates opt for public financing a little over half the time it’s available, the report said.

And the percentage of female candidates rose from 25 percent to 36 percent when public financing was available, the report said.

To view the whole report, visit polisci.unm.edu and scroll down to “recent news” on campaign finance reports.

The principal authors of the report are Lonna Rae Atkeson and Wendy Hansen, political science professors at UNM.

The poll was based on mailing a postcard to a random sample of registered voters and asking them to fill out an online survey. About 850 people participated.

New Mexico is one of 13 states with some form of public financing. It’s available for municipal candidates in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, seats on the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, and members of the Public Regulation Commission.

Dan McKay: dmckay@abqjournal.com