Hector, say it ain’t so. We need you.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas dimmed our hopes of proper representation when March 28 he announced he would not run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Tom Udall. Udall said he would not run for re-election in 2020.

While the Democratic faithful continue to worship at the feet of the great fundraiser U.S. Congressman Ben Lujan, we’d like to think New Mexico deserves and could select a much higher caliber U.S. senator than Lujan.

Reading the fluff pieces over the past week fawning over Lujan, the phrases most liberally used are “rising star,” “meteoric rise” and “fundraiser.” While accurate depictions, no one is talking about a great piece of legislation he passed, how he helped his congressional district or what projects he’s spearheading.

His staff excels at putting his name on press releases stating he got us this money or that funding for some project. Taking credit for spending taxpayer money does not a leader make.

Looking at the others considering the run it’s a who’s who of Washington retreads and past state office-holders who peaked in the past few years.

The only solid possible candidate is New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver. She's had a few missteps during her time as Secretary. She tried to stop Steve Pearce’s federally raised campaign funds from being used in his gubernatorial race, and tried to force a straight ticket option on the 2018 general election ballots.

But overall Oliver has done a solid job. She easily won re-election in 2018, beating Gavin Clarkson 399,000 to 257,000. Ginger Grider was a distant third, with 34,500 votes.

It didn’t hurt that Clarkson screamed at campaign rallies all over New Mexico that Oliver “weaponized her office.”

Oliver has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in political science from University of New Mexico. She’s worked as Bernalillo County Clerk and held an adjunct professor post in the political science department at her alma mater.

Lujan has a diploma from New Mexico Highlands University signed by his buddy Javier Gonzales, former mayor of Santa Fe. Lujan serves on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Subcommittee on Health, Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection and Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

He’s never chaired a committee. If you read different online biographies, you’ll find more about his mom and dad than anything he’s done.

This is apropos as his dad, the late New Mexico state representative Ben Lujan, worked out our congressman’s political future with the Democratic party.

The younger Lujan’s strength is he’s a good Democrat. He votes with the party every time, regardless of whether it’s good for New Mexico. That’s how he keeps the seat.

New Mexico needs a strong, educated, experienced leader to take Udall’s place. Balderas checks all the boxes and then some.

We understand his devotion to family but hope he’ll reconsider. If he won’t, our next hope rests with the state democratic party realizing Lujan is good enough for largely forgotten District 3 but lacks the gravitas to be a U.S. senator and someone who can actually do something for New Mexico.

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(4) comments

local democrat

New Mexico deserves a better Senator than good old boy Ben.. He sells himself to Nancy Peloski just to benefit himself.. Would not be where he is if not on the tail coat of his father.

NMConservative

Lujan is your typical corrupt NM politician who has won on the coat tails of his father and last name. I again urge NM to vote for those people with whom you you relate to. The radical left is NOT representative of the people of northern NM. The radical left may be the transplants in Santa Fe (mini San Francisco), but not the real gun loving, hunting, cattle raising, Jesus following, people of northern NM.

AMANDA

You forgot to mention Congressman Lujan is the highest ranking member of Congress in the history of New Mexico; as the assistant Speaker of the US House of Representatives (the number 4 position in the Leadership of the House). As Assistant Speaker, he is the youngest member in the Leadership, at 46 y.o., which is a position that includes managing the house calendar, deciding policy, couting votes on key bills, along with deciding who sits on committess. He may not be Chair of a committe, but he sure has influence on what legislation passes the House. Your paper has never taken him seriously and you do your readers a diservice by not acknowledging the fact that within 10 years he went from a freshman congressional member to number 4 of the leadership. No other member of Congress from New Mexico has ever served in the leadership; Democrat or Republican. Ben Ray Lujan is going to make an amazing US Senator. He may not have an ivy league degree, but he has built a reuptation as a workhorse, and a savy and effective legislator. As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), a post he was elected to by his peers, he raised over $100 million dollars and turned the US House from Republican to Democrat; no small accomplishment. You make it seem like anyone could have done that, it took Congressman Lujan and his team to get it done. (Editor's note: No we don't take him seriously. He was not elected, nor re-elected oon his merits. He is a great politician and fundraiser. We'd like to be represented. We still question what he's done for our District other than vote "right.")

(Edited by staff.)

NMConservative

When are people of NM going to realize that voting Democrat totally contradicts most of their lifestyle? Do you burn wood to heat your house, drive big 4x4 trucks that burn lots of high carbon fuel, collect "big oil" state revenues, raise flatulent cattle, burn your trash, and raise your boys with a lot of "toxic masculine" Hispanic machismo??? Well then, you're everything AOC (green New deal), and the current Democratic party despises. The Democrats of today no longer represent the common folks of NM.

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