New Mexico’s Deb Haaland On Track To Become The First Native American Congresswoman

by Tod Perry

June 6, 2018

One of the biggest takeaways from the June 5 primaries may be the performance of California Democrats looking to flip vulnerable Republican house seats in the Orange County area. These races are critical for Democrats’ path to taking back the House. 

The state’s “jungle” primaries pit candidates against each other regardless of party affiliation, with the top two vote-getters facing each other in November. Democratic strategists felt that the large number of Democrats running in the primaries would spread votes too thin, benefitting Republican candidates.

It was also a great night for women running for governor. Republican voters in Alabama and South Dakota nominated female governors, as did Democrats in New Mexico. All three candidates have a strong chance of winning in November.

There was also a historical achievement which was a long time coming: Democrats voted to select Debra Haaland as their nominee for the House seat in the state’s 1st Congressional District. If Halland wins in November, she’ll be the first Native American woman to ever serve in Congress. 

Haaland beat out former U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez and social justice activist Antoinette Sedillo Lopez to win the nomination. She will now face Republican Janice Arnold-Jones in a heavily Democratic district.

“Thank you to the tens of thousands of volunteers, grassroots donors, and supporters who won this election,” Haaland said in her victory speech. “Our win is a victory for working people, a victory for women, and a victory for everyone who has been sidelined by the billionaire class.”

She also sent a warning to president Trump: “The billionaire class should consider this victory a warning shot. The blue wave is coming.”

Haaland is a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, whose name derives from the small lake on its west-central New Mexico reservation. The community is known for its exquisite pottery, support for its indigenous artists, a long history of tribal law, and a great love of baseball.

Share image by Deb Haaland/YouTube.

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New Mexico’s Deb Haaland On Track To Become The First Native American Congresswoman