NM Stands Poised to Queer the Vote

The 2020 election is historic in many ways, both in its negativity and in some very positive aspects as well. One of the more positive outcomes of this election season is that New Mexico has more LGBTQ candidates running for state offices than ever. Currently, N.M. Legislature has 42 members of the State Senate and 70 State House members. Both the House and Senate are Democrat majority. Not surprisingly, LGBTQ candidates running in this year’s election are Democrats themselves. New Mexico candidates have garnered national attention with this historic race as well. The Victory Fund is a national organization that supports equality and LGBTQ candidates across the country and has thrown its support behind N.M.’s candidates.

LGBTQ candidates ran for several seats around the state. Carrie Hamblen for State Senate, Leo Jaramillo for State Senate, Liz Stefanics for State Senate, Roger Montoya for State House, Brittany Barreras for State House, Mary Carmack Altweis for Santa Fe District Attorney, Lisa Schultz for Third Judicial District Court and Adriann Barboa ran for Bernalillo County Commissioner.

Currently, N.M. only has two openly LGBTQ members that are serving in the state legislature. Senator Jacob Candelaria from Albuquerque and Senator Liz Stefanics from Santa Fe. Both are running for re-election this year. 

Carrie Hamblen ran an exceptionally difficult race in Senate District 38 in the typically conservative Dona Ana County against Republican Charles Wendler. In the June 2 Democratic primary, Hamblen pulled off an upset victory against five-term State Sen. Mary Kay Papen to claim the Democratic ticket. Hamblen, a political newcomer and former journalist, said she decided to run because the LGBTQ community needed more representation. “When we see people that look like us, it gives our voice a seat at the table,” said Hamblen. “As the first open lesbian from southern New Mexico to serve in the Senate, I hope that my presence there demonstrates to younger members of the LGBTQ+ community that there is a place for them to create policy and law for all of New Mexico.” Hamblen reiterated that it was constituents showing their support that drove her year-and-a-half-long campaign. “When I came out 30 years ago, I didn’t see anyone like me openly serving in state government, much less in the public eye.” The support she’s received shows that the state has opened up to support communities that haven’t traditionally been represented in government. “I needed to live my truth and be visible for future generations of LGBTQ.” [ ]