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Activist: NM Republicans need to make a comeback in 2020

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Andrea Moore, secretary of the Republican Party of New Mexico, speaks to the Chaves County Federated Republican Women during the group’s monthly meeting July 17 at the Elks Lodge in Roswell. Moore spoke about the party’s efforts to regain a strong foothold in New Mexico in 2020, after a rough 2018 midterm election. (Alex Ross Photo)

Following a bruising midterm election cycle, a top state Republican Party activist said at a recent gathering the party needs to make a comeback in New Mexico in 2020, and a plan is being formulated to do just that.

Andrea Moore, secretary of the Republican Party of New Mexico, told an audience at a July 17 meeting of the Chaves County Federated Republican Women that with elections just 16 months away, the party’s voters need to start getting to work if they want to win in 2020.

“The time is now. The time is not tomorrow, the time is not next summer, the time is not in October, the time is now,” Moore told the crowd.

In 2018, Republicans were defeated in congressional and statewide races across New Mexico. Republicans narrowly lost in the usually staunch conservative New Mexico 2nd Congressional District.

Democrats were also able to win back the state’s governorship for the first time in eight years and expand their majority in the New Mexico House of Representatives.

Moore said the party needs to regain power in the Land of Enchantment, and if they fail to win the 12 seats needed to gain a majority in the New Mexico House, or six seats to win the New Mexico Senate, the situation for Republicans will grow more dire.

The stakes in the 2020 election are high because in 2021, the state is set to undergo redistricting, the process by which states reapportion their U.S. House and state legislative districts.

States decide how legislative districts are apportioned and Moore said unless Republicans make gains in 2020, they will not have a seat at the table when it comes to redistricting and will be relegated to super minority status.

With diminished numbers, Moore said it will prevent conservatives from having a voice in legislating, and from blocking passage of legislation they oppose.

In the recent 60-day legislative session, Democrats had control of the governor’s office and both chambers of the state Legislature, a position New Mexico Republicans have not been in since 1929.

Their enlarged numbers allowed Democrats to pass a slew of bills long sought by the party’s progressive base, while Republicans felt sidelined.

Moore, though, said Republicans were able to stop some bills by working together with more conservative Democratic lawmakers.

“After redistricting, that will never happen again,” she said. Moore said that is why it is crucial that Republicans rebound in 2020.

Moderate and conservative Democrats such as state Sen. Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces, who are in Democratic strongholds are getting primary challenges from more progressive opponents.

Unless Republicans have candidates on the ballot in those races, Moore said moderates like Papen who sometimes align with Republicans will be taken out in the primaries by progressive challengers who will then be unopposed in the general election.

New Mexico Republicans, however, have a plan for victory in 2020, Moore said. She said that she has two friends in Albuquerque — one in marketing and one in data collection — working on a plan for the state party.

Moore did not identify the two individuals crafting the plan or offer many details about the plan other than to say that it will aim to recruit candidates in 112 races throughout the state and assist Republican candidates in how to better market themselves, adding that Democrats often have an advantage in that department.

“Democrats are traditionally very good at hitting the heartstrings. They get you where your heart is and that is how people go vote,” she said.

However, she said, the most important thing in the lead up to the 2020 election is for the party to have the candidates. Moore told the audience that this year, she went through a program that aims to educate conservative-leaning women about the political process so they can run for office.

She said one of the most effective things Republicans can do to recruit candidates is to ask them to run.

“The number one reason why people don’t run is because they are not asked,” Moore said.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.