Billy Garrett to run for New Mexico lieutenant governor

Las Cruces Sun-News

By: Ali Linan

LAS CRUCES - Doña Ana County District 1 Commissioner Billy Garrett formally announced his run for New Mexico lieutenant governor Tuesday evening at Plaza de Mesilla .

Garrett is the fifth Democrat and sixth overall to announce their candidacy for the position. The other Democratic candidates are former Public Education Commissioner Jeff Carr, of Eagle Nest; David McTeigue, of Rio Rancho; former State Representative Rick Miera, of Albuquerque; and State Senator Michael Padilla, of Albuquerque. Former Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department Kelly Zunie, a member of Zuni Pueblo, is running on the Republican ticket.

"We all know that New Mexico is a special place; rich in natural beauty and history, distinguished by multicultural traditions and wonderful people. We also know New Mexico is in serious trouble," Garrett said. "Our system of government depends on trust and that trust is being violated."

Garrett said he intends to restore trust in the government, making it his top priority if elected.

Garrett is the only candidate who is actively involved in local government, which he said he believes is critical, and sets him apart from the other candidates. Garrett also said his past experiences will help him in the role.

"I have a much wider experience base in terms of working in government and the kinds of work that is actually done by a lieutenant governor," Garrett said. "I want to use everything I've learned over the years to make this state government more responsive to New Mexico residents. And by doing so, strengthen our trust in our public sector."

Garrett is a third-generation New Mexican who grew up in Las Cruces and attended Las Cruces High School. He has served as a county commissioner in Doña Ana County since 2010, a position in which he has worked to improve financial management and effectiveness in county government, according to his Facebook page.

Garrett said he has spent 35 years in public service, working at every level. He’s led regional planning efforts and championed the establishment of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, he said.

"I am running for lieutenant governor because that specific job is all about helping the governor and the Legislature improve public service," Garrett said. "That is the kind of work I have done my whole life, and so, I know how to pull it off at that level."

For now, Garrett said he will be focusing on the primary election and getting his name on the general election ballot. Until that happens, he said he will not publicly support a candidate for governor, adding that he would be happy to work with whomever ends up on the ticket.

In New Mexico, the lieutenant governor runs separately from the governor in the primary election. The respective primary winners are on the same ticket for the general election.

The primary will be held on June 5, 2018. The general election will be held Nov. 6, 2018.

Ali Linan can be reached at 575-541-5476, alinan@lcsun-news.com or @Ail__Linan on Twitter.


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