Check out the website:  Look at the recent Political Notes and Len’s Letters on the website.  Political Note #355 Angie Craig MN 02, Political Note #356 Susie Lee NV 03, Political Note #357 Haley Stevens MI 11, Political Note #362 Vicente Gonazalez, Political Note #363 Tom Malinowski NJ 07, Political Note #375 Steven Horsford NV 04, Political Note #376 Lauren Underwood IL 14, Political Note #377 Lizzie Fletcher TX 07, Political Note #378 Elissa Slotkin MI 08,

Political Note #383   Melanie Stansbury NM 01

2022                             Special Election

Complacency kills Campaigns. Melanie Stansbury has not been complacent.  Maybe I have been.  Along with a few newspapers, I have assumed that the Democratic nominee would win this special election.  Pollsters have made the same assumption.  Unlike the TX 06 multi-party primary on May 1, for which there were a few polls, there are none for the NM 01 June 1 election.

The winner of this district represents Albuquerque – New Mexico’s only urban Congressional district.  Joe Biden carried the district by 23 points.  And Joe Biden is more popular now than when he ran against Donald Trump.  Why shouldn’t I be complacent?  Apparently because the Republicans are spending money on this race.  At least that’s what the Melanie Stansbury campaign tells us.  I can’t confirm that.  I can confirm that stories about the Republican spending left me worried. I was worried enough so that I did a little research and decided Melanie Stansbury’s story was worth telling.

Melanie Stansbury is accustomed to running from behind.  She is used to being an underdog.  Her successful entry into politics was shocking.  Unopposed in the 2018 primary for District 28 of New Mexico’s House of Representatives, she defeated the incumbent Jimmie Charles Hall.  Hall was first elected to represent the district in 2004 and several times was reelected with no opposition.  Maybe Hall was complacent.

This year, Melanie Stansbury was one of several candidates for the Democratic nomination to replace Deb Haaland.  Haaland was named Secretary of the Interior, the first Native American to head that department which, among other responsibilities, oversees Indian affairs.  New Mexico law requires that party state committees nominate replacements when there is a vacancy.  Melanie Stansbury had to persuade a majority of the 200 voters to choose her.  On the second day; in the second round of voting, she came from behind.  On day 1, she had 43 votes to the front runner’s 74.  There were 82 votes for other candidates to cull.   Melanie Stansbury culled just enough votes to win the nomination 103-97.

Retired law professor and Haaland rival State Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez was the favorite.  She had not expected that a state rep in her early forties would win the nomination.  Was Sedillo Lopez complacent?  Did Melanie Stansbury outwork her for the votes to win a narrow election? She certainly did work hard.  If she wins and becomes a force, Melanie Stansbury’s intense telephone effort to reach all of the undecideds could become part of New Mexico’s political legends.  Her hard work was crucial.  Her politics may have made a difference.

Melanie Stansbury has taken positions that would put her in the left wing of the Democratic Party.  She supported Medicare for All and legalization of marijuana.  She also supported positions that have become mainstream in the party – DC statehood, a ban on assault weapons.  Before the party convention,New Mexico’s The Jewish Insider noted differences in views about Israel.  Sedillo Lopez spoke about her visit to Israel as a transformative experience; that experience led her to discover through genealogical research that she descended from Spanish Jews who escaped Inquisition.  Melanie Stansbury refused to comment on either BDS or the US’s military support for Israel.  She recognized the special relationship that the United States has with Israel, and added that she was a proponent of Palestinians’ right of self-determination to create their own state.  She argued for aid to both Israel and Palestinians.

If Melanie Stansbury is elected, she will not be a stranger in Washington.  She had a stint as a White House Fellow.  She was a policy advisor for the Council on Environmental Quality and a program advisor to the Office of Management and Budget.  She also worked in the US Senate – as a staff member for the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and as an aide to Maria Cantwell, Senator from the State of Washington.

Melanie Stansbury’s Republican opponent Mark Moores grew up in a Washington suburb, but returned to his mother’s New Mexico roots.  He earned his BA and MBA at the University of New Mexico, where he played football.  He has been involved in New Mexico Republican politics since college.

Melanie Stansbury will almost certainly not complete the PhD she was working on at Cornell.  She had studied human ecology at St. Mary’s in California and continued studying sociology at Cornell.  She left Cornell with a commitment to public service that was greater than her commitment to academic study.  Make sure Melanie Stansbury’s election goal is realized, that the ordinary expectation of a Democratic victory actually happens.  If we are complacent, it just might not.  Make a donation to Maria Stansbury’s campaign.  The election is soon,  June 1.

Candidates to flip Republican Seats

California 48             Harley Rouda

Members of Congress who won with less than 51% of the vote

Iowa 03          Cynthia Axne  Received 48.9% of the vote in 2020

Illinois 14      Lauren Underwood Received 50.67% of the vote in 2020

Michigan 08 Elissa Slotkin Received 50.88% of the vote in 2020

Michigan 11 Haley Stevens  Received 50.2% of the vote in 2020

Minnesota 02 Angie Craig Received 48.21% of the vote in 2020

Nevada 03 Susie Lee Received 48.75% of the vote in 2020

Nevada 04 Steve Horsford Received 50.67% of the vote in 2020

New Jersey 07 Tom Malinowski Received 50.61% of the vote in 2020

Texas 07 Lizzie Fletcher Received 50.79% of the vote in 2020

Texas 15 Vicente Gonzalez Received 50.5% of the vote in 2020

Organizations to support

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) https://dccc.orgThe

Democratic National Committee (DNC).  The official organization of the Democratic Party.

Fair Fight Promotes fair elections around the country

A Special Election Loss

The TX 06 multi-party primary was on May 1.  Jana Lynne Sanchez came in third. Two Republicans will be in the run off.

2020 was a disappointment for those who hoped Democrats could expand their margin in the House of Representatives.  Instead, their margin was reduced.  I hoped that Jana Lynne Sanchez would achieve the run off and, with the run off electorate, might gain an upset win to be a harbinger of 2022 House victories.

2018 was a great year for Democrats running for the House of Representatives.  2020 not so much.  Cheri Bustos (IL 17), the head of the DCCC for 2020, took flak from progressive Democrats for a lack of diversity in the DCCC staff.  She  made big changes in staffing during the campaign.  Blame her for her initial staffing decisions.  Blame her for making change during the campaign.  Either way, she may deserve some blame for the 2020 losses.  She appears to be accepting that blame and is not running for Congress again in 2022.

The DCCC deserves credit for the successes of 2018 under the leadership of New Mexico Congressman, now Senator Ben Ray Lujan.  That credit is relevant for the Multiparty primary in TX 06.  California has Multiparty primaries for every Congressional seat and other elections besides.  In that system, there was a persistent danger that two Republicans would wind up in a run off.  In 2018, the DCCC chose a strategy.  Select and enhance a Democratic front runner.  Diminish the chances of other Democrats.  That strategy paid off.  Democrats won and flipped several California seats in 2018.

We could have used that strategy in TX 06.  Where was the DCCC and its new leader, New York congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, while TX 06 was having its multi-party primary?  Here are our results:

  1. Susan Wright (R ) 21%          15,052 votes
  2. Jake Ellsey (R ) 85%          10,851 votes
  3. Jana Sanchez (D) 39%          10,497 votes
  4. Brian Harrison (R ) 81%            8,476 votes
  5. Shawn Lassiter (D)   89%            6,964 votes

Find me 355 votes – to misquote a notorious Republican.  The DCCC could have found them among Shawn Lassiter’s votes.

Lassiter was a good candidate.  She raised money, slightly more than Sanchez in the end.  Her visuals were striking.  She wasn’t as ready to go as Sanchez and was not going to catch her in the polls in this very brief campaign.  Lassiter improved from early polling of 4% to  nearly 9% of the vote on May 1. If the DCCC that had supported Jana Sanchez at Lassiter’s expense, the Democrats could have produced a second place showing and a chance to flip a Republican seat.  Too bad.

A Special Interest of Mine

New York City has its own small-town politics.   Many of the readers of Lenspoliticalnotes are New Yorkers.  Some may live in or know people in Part A of Assembly District 76 (roughly east of 2rd Avenue and south of 79th Street to and including Roosevelt Island).

If you live in Part A of State Assembly District 76 in New York, please support and vote for Rebecca Weintraub in the June 22 Democratic Primary.   If you know people who live in Part A of Assembly District 76, please encourage them to vote for her.

Our club and the other Democratic Club in District 76 are supporting Rebecca Weintraub’s candidacy to be one of four District Leaders of the 76th Assembly District — the female leader of Part A of Assembly District 76.  District Leaders are a kind of liaison between political parties and the community.

You can learn more about Rebecca Weintraub at her Website or at Twitter @RSWinNYC or at Instagram /RSW_in_NYC or at Facebook /VoteRebeccaWeintraub.  In her non-political life, she is Vice President of a public relations firm, mother of Benjamin, and wife of Evan.  In her political life, she has been an active member of our club, a leader in an innovative effort collecting video responses from NYC candidates for public office used to assess who to endorse and who to vote for