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Justin Schatz is The Paper's daily news reporter. He has reported on New Mexico for KRQE News, Searchlight NM and the Santa Fe Reporter.

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Democratic congressional candidate Melanie Stansbury received a boost to her campaign when Douglas Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, arrived in Albuquerque to campaign on her behalf. This is Emhoff’s second time in Albuquerque and his first on behalf of a candidate. 

Emhoff and Stansbury appeared before a crowd of Democrats, with several union and labor representatives in the district. Election Day is Tuesday, June 1 for the Congressional seat vacated by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who was appointed earlier this year by President Joe Biden. The district leans heavily Democrat, and a Republican hasn’t held the seat since 2009. Early polls show Stansbury with a significant lead. The result of this election will have national consequences. House Democrats only hold the majority by six seats. For Biden to continue with his campaign promises, particularly in infrastructure, keeping the House is key. Emhoff’s appearance highlighted the national attention that the election is receiving.

Emhoff arrived early morning and met with Stansbury to discuss plans moving forward if she wins this election. He also noted that the district boasts a history of elevating prominent Democrats in Washington D.C. that includes current Secretary Deb Haaland and Senator Martin Heinrich. “She talked to me about community development, fighting hunger and homelessness. These aren’t just talking points for her. This is who she is. This is what she believes in, and this is the work she going to continue to do on your behalf and the country’s behalf in Washington D.C.,” Emhoff said.

“It’s crunch time. Don’t look at the polls. Don’t look at anything. Act like we’re down. There’s a sense of urgency,” Emhoff said. Despite polls showing an early lead, Emhoff implored voters to come up. “Let’s not wait until Tuesday, go out and vote now,” he said.

Emhoff has been active for the Biden administration since the inauguration, especially with Biden’s push to vaccinate a majority of Americans and promote the administration’s COVID-19 relief plan. Earlier this year, he visited rural Indigenous communities in northern New Mexico.

During the campaign event, Stansbury reinstated her goals, her roots in the community and what she hopes to fight for on the national stage. She also emphasized the importance of the election in retaining control of the House before the midterm elections, which are just around the corner. “Everything is on the line this election. This election is being watched by people all over the country. Because the majority of our house is at stake and the future of our country is at stake and the future of our communities is at stake,” she said.

Emhoff is expected to campaign in Albuquerque until Friday, where he will visit early voting centers. “The way we’re going to win this election is by turning out voters,” he said.

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