A familiar name in New Mexico politics is running for New Mexico’s First District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Former mayoral candidate, lieutenant governor candidate, and CD1 candidate Michelle Garcia Holes announced today that she will be challenging first-term Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D) in November 2022.
The good news is that we have another Republican in the race.
The bad news is that she is 0 for 3 in her previous attempts to represent New Mexico.
Garcia Holmes lost her race for lieutenant governor in November 2018 by 15%. She lost her bid for Albuquerque mayor in October 2017, finishing in sixth place, with 3.87% of the vote. And most recently, in November 2020, she lost her race for New Mexico District 1 in the U.S. House — by 16%.
Garcia Holmes is running under the slogan, “Together We Win,” which is an interesting choice given her track record, implying there wasn’t enough “togetherness” in her last three races to “win.”
That’s one way of looking at it.
The other way of looking at it is that voters just didn’t like her.
Either way, it seems an ill-fitting slogan for someone who’s never won an election.
For the record, Garcia Holmes seems like a very nice person. Her service in law enforcement is appreciated. She seems genuinely concerned about the future of New Mexico. And in the superficiality of modern politics, it doesn’t hurt that she’s attractive. (Hopefully we won’t be bombarded with close-up glamour shots of her with heavy eye makeup standing in front of blue-painted doors, as females are inclined to do when running for office in New Mexico.)
But will that work?
In her most recent election, Garcia Holmes lost to Haaland 41.8% to 58.2%. In 2022, she will be running against incumbent Melanie Stansbury, who beat Republican Mark Moores 60.4% to 35.6% in this June’s special election.
There are two ways to look at these margins. Either 1) MGH was a better Republican candidate than Moores, out-performing him by 6%, or that 2) Stansbury is a better Democrat candidate than Haaland, out-performing her predecessor by 2.2%.
Either way, we’re looking at a district that is clearly not competitive for Republicans, with a Republican candidate who has not been competitive in any race she’s competed in.
But not all hope is lost. There’s another Republican who has already announced her candidacy for CD-1: Elisa Martinez.
Unfortunately, Martinez also has a no-win record vying for public office, losing the Republican primary for U.S. Senate to Mark Ronchetti in 2020 (who went on to lose to Democrat Ben Ray Lujan in the general election). Martinez has a huge social media following and brings strong Conservative values to the race, but her pro-life credentials have branded her as a one-issue candidate, and in a deep blue district that has been held by Democrats since 2009, abortion isn’t a campaign platform that’s likely to attract anyone but Republicans.
New Mexico’s first congressional district is only 28% Republican.
Maybe all hope is lost.