Maggie Toulouse Oliver ends U.S. Senate bid, endorses Luján

Maggie Toulouse Oliver. Courtesy photo

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver on Tuesday announced that she is dropping out of the race for a U.S. Senate seat and endorsed her previous competitor, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján.

Luján and Toulouse Oliver had been vying for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that will become vacant with the retirement of Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.

In a statement released by her campaign, Toulouse Oliver suggested that her reasons for ending her campaign deal with the fact that she is no longer the only candidate calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, or the only candidate calling to support Medicare for All or reject corporate PAC money.

“Over the course of this campaign, that has changed,” Toulouse Oliver said in a statement. “We have elevated the issues of health care as a human right, of holding the president accountable, and of keeping big money out of politics.

“I know that New Mexico will be in good hands if Ben Ray Luján is our next U.S. Senator. We need Ben Ray in the Senate to stand up for New Mexico and to move our progressive vision forward,” she continued.

The night before announcing that her campaign would end, her campaign sent fundraising emails to supporters asking for money after not meeting “the 24-hour fundraising goal” her campaign had set of adding 300 new donors.

In the funding pitch, her campaign said that “it takes a lot of monetary support to run a campaign … and since Maggie’s a D.C. outsider who sets the tone for this race’s progressive values, we’re not getting a lot of support there, either.”

On Tuesday, she said she will continue her work as New Mexico’s secretary of state, adding that it will be critical going into the 2020 presidential election at a time when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “and the Senate Republicans refuse to take up election security or campaign finance reform legislation.”

Toulouse Oliver raised $428,606.19 in the third quarter of fundraising, according to a federal campaign finance disclosure report. Her campaign had spent most of that — or $343,854.98. She reported $85,376 left in her campaign war chest.

Luján, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the U.S. House below only House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, raised more than $2.5 million. He has spent more than $1.4 million and reported more than $1.6 million cash on hand in his latest Federal Election Commission report.

Luján praised Toulouse Oliver as “a friend” who “stood up for our values,” including a single-payer Medicaid system and addressing climate change.

“Her voice made our democratic process stronger, and I’m honored to have her support for my U.S. Senate campaign,” he continued. “Over the next year, I will continue to travel our state and earn the support of fellow New Mexicans to serve as our next U.S. Senator. I will bring our New Mexico values and principles to the Senate floor.”

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(10) comments

Nicoletta Munroe

An issue to consider is that if BRL Junior is elected, New Mexico will be a state with two senators without a law degree.

Khal Spencer

Congress has a plethora of members with law degrees. Precious few advanced STEM degrees.

Chris Mechels

Maggie needs to stay home, grow up, and do her job as SOS. To date, she won't even enforce the Financial Disclosure Act, as evidenced by the failure of the DPS Secretary and his Deputy, to file the required disclosures. Her Public Hearings to implement such things as Campaign Finance NMACS, have been illegal, violating the Rules Act. Yet, no one seems to care, esp the Media. But, the oil is flowing, and the leaves are lovely. Who's to care???

John Cook

I should think enforcement of disclosure violations would be with the Attorney General's office. As to your assertion that her hearings on NMACS were 'illegal', it isn't true. Republican legislators made that claim in a lawsuit. That case was dismissed by the Supreme Court of New Mexico in March of this year by a unanimous ruling. That is: Toulouse Oliver's hearings and rule were legal and effective. People should know that this was about Governor Martinez vetoing legislation to stop the flood of dark money and our very effective Secretary of State finding a way around the Governor to attack dark money. Good for Toulouse Oliver!

John Cook

It seems you don’t know Ben Ray very well. His father’s success certainly opened the door of politics for him. However, he strode through that door with ability and successes which made his father proud. You may have forgotten that he was the man who ran the Democratic House campaign which regained the house majority in 2018. He was the number three Democrat in the house. He did not become Nancy Pelosi‘s protégé by accident. She recognizes and rewards ability and success. He has had both. “Indifferent“? Because no one else is running on the Democratic side? Democrats recognize good policies, ability and character. Ben Ray has all three and that explains why we are running no one against him. When you look at his fundraising and organization in the state it is a far cry from indifference. We are very pleased with Ben Ray Luján.

Khal Spencer

I'd still go with Steve Terrell's hypothesis: apathy. Given the number of candidates running for President, there have to be a few people in New Mexico who would have ideas worth hearing on the Democratic side. Perhaps they feel overwhelmed taking on a powerful, established candidate like Ben Ray.

Richard Reinders

Maggie should leave politics altogether with the amount of bias in her heart she can't possibly represent all the people in anything and especially as Secretary of State. Anyone that would pay to post Trump not welcome on a bill board can not be impartial. New Mexico has more centered constituency then extreme left so who will represent all the people. Just because you are elected as a Democrat or Republican you have a responsibility to represent all people.

John Cook

Toulouse Oliver has done outstanding work as Secretary of State. She is expanding voting rights which is anathema to Republicans but central to democracy. You complain that she is not 'impartial' when she stands against President Trump? I hope she isn't! Her job is to run fair elections; he is the greatest enemy to fair elections we have ever seen. cf. Chris Kobach and the laughable 'voting fraud' commission.

Khal Spencer

Nothing against Ben Ray, but is no one else in this state willing to step up to the plate? What indifference.

Ron Blessey

The fact that Ben Rey Lujan is the best this State and your party can come up with is really sad. A genius, he is not. He preaches the party line and is completely ineffective a a legislator. Riding on his dad's coattails is not a pre requisite for government service. You were better off with Maggie. Think again.

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