Although the 2020 election is over a year away, two Democrats hoping to win their party’s nomination for Congress in New Mexico’s 3rd District are taking a bold approach to win their: being cocky.
Valerie Plame, who is an ex-CIA operative won’t let the voters of Northern New Mexico forget who she is. Plame has repeatedly touted her CIA credentials as the reason why she should go to Congress.
On multiple occasions, Plame has repeated the phrase that “the idea to go to Washington … is not that appealing” or not “the prize,” but she can bring her DC CIA experience to “hit the ground running on day one.”
Plame often brags that her “name is well known” at events to try and sell herself as a top contender. Last week, at a Taos County Democrat Party meeting, Plame answered a question saying, “I would love to bring my name, which frankly, is well known, which is a blessing and a curse”
Political strategist Brian Sanderoff says that Plame’s name recognition “probably isn’t great in rural parts of the district” and “her base will be progressive Anglo transplants in Santa Fe.”
Plame has never held elected office before but often brings up her “service” on multiple boards, including that of abortion business Planned Parenthood and gun control group New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence to bolster herself as a member of the community.
The former CIA operative has come under fire for sharing an anti-Semitic article titled “America’s Jews are Driving America’s Wars,” which she initially doubled down in defense of, but now “apologize[s] profusely” for disseminating.
Another CD3 candidate, Teresa Leger Fernandez, is also banking on her elite credentials to bolster her presence in the campaign. As a Santa Fe lawyer, she helped pass the unfair “ranked-choice voting” in Santa Fe’s city elections, which take away the democratic vote.
On Monday, Leger Fernandez appeared on KOAT News for a conversation about her race.
She touted her large family and boasted about how she attended Yale and Stanford Law School, where she was “trained in the rebellious lawyering tradition” as she says.
When asked about her experience, she gleefully acknowledged her work for two Democrat presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Leger Fernandez said “I was White House fellow, appointed by President Clinton. It’s an incredibly wonderful, very prestigious leadership appointment.” When speaking about her place in the Obama Administration, she stated that the president “elevated” her to be vice-chair of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
In the attempt at trying to match her experience as a qualification to run, she said, “I know who does what at the White House. I have the ability — when I first came back [from the] White House — I had the ability when I saw a problem, I called up to the Deputy Chief of Staff of the White House. She answered, and before you knew it, I was meeting with the head of the FAA, the Attorney General, and we were solving the problem.”
She further bragged that she “brought about…it’s under a billion, but maybe not too much — 800, 900 million dollars worth of financing and funding to build things in New Mexico. I’ve advanced voting rights, immigration rights… these are things that Congress needs to address.”
Although Leger Fernandez has definitely not advanced voting rights with her involvement with Santa Fe’s ranked-choice voting, she still has earned high-profile endorsements.
Both Plame and Leger Fernandez seem to be banking on their elite credentials to push them over the edge with voters, but it is unclear if they can successfully speak to folks rural areas, where oil and gas production, farming, and ranching are at the top of mind — not their campaign focuses of fixing the “climate change” conspiracy theory and legalizing abortion up-to-birth, being masked as “reproductive rights.”
Other Democrats running for the CD3 seat are the son on failed Democrat congressional candidate Eric Serna, Marco Serna, who is now a District Attorney, State Rep. Joseph Sanchez of Alcalde, environmental attorney Kyle Tisdel of Taos, fmr. deputy New Mexico Secretary of State John Blair, Cameron Alton Chick Sr. of Rio Rancho and Gavin Kaiser of Santa Cruz.