The heated contest for New Mexico House District 24 has been on the radar of both parties for a while now. So much so, that outside entities are picking sides — endorsing candidates and sending cash for this swing seat in the New Mexico Legislature. The candidates for this open seat are Dr. Christina Hall (R) and Elizabeth Thomson (D).
This seat has flipped the past three elections. The outgoing republican Conrad James, who opted out of running for reelection this term, leaves a highly contested seat he battled for three times against current democrat candidate Thomson. James defeated Thomson in 2010, Thomson then gained control of the seat in 2012, and James took the seat back in 2014 with 52 percent of the votes cast.
James has endorsed republican Christina Hall as his preferred replacement.
Each District 24 candidate is among the top 10 campaigns in the their respective parties in terms of reported campaign contributions: Thomson $176,000 (2nd) and Hall $95,000 (7th). Contributions are from party legislators, affiliated political action committees (PACs) and constituent support.
Thomson has been endorsed by Our Revolution, in their final round of endorsements. Our Revolution is an organization that sprang out of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign earlier this year.
Their goals, as stated on their website, are,”. . .to revitalize American democracy, empower progressive leaders and elevate the political consciousness.” Thomson wrote that she was humbled by the organization’s endorsement on her Facebook page earlier this month.
As chronicled by Our Revolution, one of Thomson’s priorities is to increase early childhood education throughout the state.
“I have seen first hand that when they’re toddlers they’re sponges and they’re learning by the second,” Thomson said, “I’m a firm believer in investing the interest of our permanent fund into early childhood education.”
Thomson said that the investment in human capital through education is key to improving other issues such as health care, child abuse and crime.
Thomson says she plans to raise funds for these efforts by closely looking through the state’s budget and tax codes to see which programs and incentives are truly needed and work efficiently.
“I think that there’s so much money just sitting there ready for us to go through with a fine tooth comb,” Thomson said.
Thomson says she opposes the way that the Legislature is handling budget cuts by shaving off a flat rate to all state funded programs.
“So you’re cutting off five and half percent out of programs that work, and out of programs that don’t work. Where if you cut a hundred percent out of programs that don’t work you might not have to cut the five and a half,” Thomson said.
Christina Hall also focuses her campaign platform on education reform. Her website states, “She will work to improve education in our state by focusing on policies that help families and teachers work together.”
Hall, was endorsed by a national organization, The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC). The RSLC featured Hall in their first round of four “16 in ‘16: Races to Watch.” The committee’s efforts to highlight candidates who are campaigning for positions that are instrumental in maintaining and flipping cabinet majorities.
The RSLC states that members who are endorsed are, “rising stars in the party who are ready to champion conservative governing and who represent the full diversity and depth of our electorate.”
We were unable to reach Dr. Hall for further comments despite numerous attempts to contact her via phone and email.
Hall stated that she was proud to be one of the nation’s 16 “candidates to watch” via her Facebook page.
District 24 located on the northeast side of Albuquerque, a 5.4 square mile span between Tramway Blvd. and Louisiana Blvd. boasts a population of 31,382. (American Community Survey, 2014.)
The population is comprised of a majority of 50 percent non-hispanic / white and 37 percent Hispanic. The average per capita income is about $24,000 while the average household occupancy is about 2 people. District 24 also boasts an 91.1 percent high-school graduation rate, and a third of that population attaining higher education degrees.
Meanwhile, with all 70 legislative seats up for election this term, both parties look for majority in the House. The contributions from legislators and PACs to both candidates in the race for House District 24, make it a race to pay attention to in ‘16.