NM Elects New Land Commissioner, Auditor

Patiently waiting for the next speaker at the Democratic Election Watch party.

Down the ballot and across the board, New Mexican Democrats had a successful 2018 election night. In the races for Land Commissioner, State Auditor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer and Attorney General, Democrats have won the day.

Land Commissioner

Democrat Stephanie Garcia Richard narrowly won the New Mexico Land Commissioner race. Garcia Richard had 50 percent of the vote to Republican Patrick Lyons at 43 percent. Libertarian Michael Lucero won five percent of the vote.

Garcia Richard has been the New Mexico State Representative in District 43 from 2013 to 2018. Garcia Richard has also been the district curriculum coordinator for the Pojoaque Valley School District from 2014 to 2018.

Garcia Richard focused her campaign on the benefits she would bring to the education system, drawing on her background as an educator.

Democrat Stephanie Garcia-Richards delivers her victory speech after winning the election for New Mexico state Land Commissioner Photo By Bethany Johnson/ NM News Port

“I cannot tell you what it feels like to defeat people who thought the price tag on New Mexico was 3 million dollars,” said Garcia Richard during her victory speech. “It turns out there is no price on New Mexico. It’s priceless.”

Patrick Lyons is a current New Mexico Public Regulation Commissioner. Lyons was the Commissioner of Public Lands from 2003 to 2010. From 1992 to 2002, Lyons served as a New Mexico Senator. Lyons owns his ranch in Quay County.

Lyons has focused his campaign on his experience as a rancher and as the former land commissioner.

The land commissioner race has been the closest race in this 2018 election cycle. Garcia Richard has had the slight lead of three points over Lyons with Lucero well behind, according to a recent poll from the Albuquerque Journal.

The funding in this race has also been close. Garcia Richard has raised $304,239.05 and spent $291,807.59. Lyons has raised $332,225 and spent $278,602.59. The Libertarian Michael Lucero was behind both of them with $10,000 raised and 4,937.50 spent.

New Mexico State Auditor

The Secretary of State’s office tracked Democrat Brian Colón as beating Republican Wayne Johnson by 15 percentage points in the race for New Mexico State Auditor.

Both Colón and Johnson faced off in the 2017 election for Mayor of Albuquerque, with both losing to now Mayor of Albuquerque, Tim Keller. Colón endorsed Keller after his loss during the primary election in 2017.

Democrat Brian Colón takes New Mexico State Auditor after running against Republican Wayne Johnson on Tuesday night at Hotel Albuquerque. Photo By Amy Byres/ NM News Port

Colón was elected as chairman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico in 2008, and ran for Lieutenant Governor in 2010. Colon started practicing law in 2001.

Johnson was appointed to the vacant State Auditor’s position in Dec. 2017 by Governor Susana Martinez. Johnson was elected Bernalillo County Commissioner for District 5 in 2010, and re-elected in 2014. Johnson resigned from the Commission in March, 2018 to pursue his candidacy for mayor.

New Mexico Secretary of State

Incumbent Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, won the race of Secretary of State by 20 points. Poll numbers show Toulouse Oliver had 57 percent of the vote, Republican Gavin Clarkson had 37 percent of the vote and Libertarian Ginger Grider had four percent of the vote.

Incumbent Toulouse Oliver has been the Secretary of State of New Mexico for almost two years. Prior to taking office as secretary of state, Toulouse Oliver served as the Bernalillo County clerk from 2008 to 2016.

Gavin Clarkson ran for the republican nomination for New Mexico’s second congressional district this year, but lost in the primary to Yvette Herrell.

JoHanna Cox originally won the republican party’s nomination for secretary of state, but withdrew from the race on June 13, 2018. Clarkson won the party’s nomination after committing to focus on job creation throughout his campaign.

Grider was also not the original nominee for the Libertarian party. Sandra Jeff won the nomination in the primary election but withdrew from the race in August, 2018.

New Mexico Attorney General

New Mexico Attorney General Incumbent, Democrat Hector Balderas, won the election of Attorney General with a significant lead over his competitors. Balderas is reported to have 61 percent of the vote, with Republican Michael Hendricks at 33 percent and Libertarian Blair Dunn at four percent.  

Balderas has been the New Mexico Attorney General since 2015. Prior to his election as Attorney General, Balderas served as New Mexico State Auditor from 2006 to 2014. Balderas first joined politics in 2003 when he was elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives for his hometown, Wagon Mound, New Mexico.

This is Hendricks’ first run for public office. Hendricks is a lawyer and has been in business management for over 15 years.

Blair Dunn is a lawyer. Dunn is a fourth generation New Mexican who sought public office, with his grandfather, Aubrey L. Dunn, Sr., and his father, Aubrey Dunn, both holding public office in New Mexico.

New Mexico Treasurer

Democrat Incumbent Tim Eichenburg held the lead over Republican Arthur Castillo by 15 percentage points resulting in the victory.

Incumbent Eichenburg has been in office as State Treasurer since Jan. 2015. Eichenburg was New Mexico State Senator from 2009 to 2013. He also served as New Mexico State Property Director and Bernalillo County Treasurer.

Castillo has not held public office before. Castillo was the Chief Finance Officer for the State Treasurer’s office from 2006 to 2009.

Bethany Johnson is a reporter for the NM News Port, she can be found on Twitter @bethanyjson.