GOP candidate for Congress stops in Tucumcari
August 10, 2022
Due to redistricting making the 3rd Congressional District more conservative-friendly, the National Republican Congressional Committee is pumping more money into a race to unseat incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez of Las Vegas.
Her GOP foe, Alexis Martinez Johnson, apparently is leaving no stone unturned in her campaign. She made stops Saturday at three restaurants in Tucumcari and greeted people who lined Route 66 during the Rattler Reunion parade. She campaigned in Clovis the day before and was scheduled to be in Clayton on Sunday.
Martinez Johnson previously ran against Leger Fernandez in 2020 and lost by 17 percentage points. However, redistricting added more territory from the oil-and-gas-rich regions of southeast New Mexico, which are more conservative.
The 3rd Congressional District includes the northern third of the state, including all of Quay County, and a sizable chunk of eastern New Mexico.
Martinez Johnson, born in Roosevelt County and says Roswell is her hometown, said she was committed to campaigning in rural areas.
"I want to make sure all our voices are heard," she said during an interview Saturday morning. "That was one of the reasons I wanted to run, that I didn't feel New Mexicans are being represented. I think my opponent is extremely out of touch in regards to all the areas she's voting on.
"While my opponent is putting up posts about the weather, I'm actually knocking on doors and being where (candidates) have never been."
Martinez Johnson, noting her Hispanic background, said one Democrat commented "you don't look like a Republican," which she labeled as racist.
"Diversity also means diversity of thought," she said. "When we call come together and bring our best voices, I think that's when we really excel in New Mexico. When we bring in only half of New Mexico as leaders, that's a disservice."
Martinez Johnson said she wanted tighter control of the southern border, especially when illicit drugs from Mexico are the No. 1 killer of people between ages 18 and 45.
Martinez Johnson, an environmental engineer who resides in Santa Fe, also said permitting for oil and gas leases on federal land takes too long.
"My opponent paints me as some sort of oil and gas baroness. I wish," she said.
Noting New Mexico's poor ratings in education, she said the state needs to provide "more opportunity" for residents.
"What we've been doing for many years is not working. The Democrat monopoly is the result of that policy and is continuing to propagate," Martinez Johnson said. "That's not progress. We are regressing. Many people are moving out of New Mexico due to its extreme control.
"I think we should work together as New Mexicans. When I'm in office, I will work for all New Mexicans. A Democrat in the past has called me in the past, looking for help. I ask them, 'How can I help?'"
Martinez Johnson's campaign website and social media accounts contain no references to abortion. That issue has moved to the forefront of many voters' minds since the U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned Roe v. Wade and sent the legality of abortion back to the states. Kansas voters decided by a large margin recently to keep abortion legal in the state.
Martinez Johnson volunteered her views on abortion during the interview, indicating she wanted compromise on the issue.
While saying she was "pro-life," she added: "I would not support late-term abortion, but I would support what the constituents of New Mexico want."
Martinez Johnson said she would support abortion in the case of rape or a fetus with severe defects that would not survive outside of the womb.
"It's not a black-and-white situation," she added. "It's not all abortion or no abortion. We need to compromise on this situation.
"In New Mexico, there is no compromise. It's either the Democrat monopoly or nothing. I think that's a travesty for New Mexicans."
Numerous Democratic lawmakers have pledged to codify Roe v. Wade abortion rights if they gain more votes in the U.S. Senate after the November election. Martinez Johnson said she would not join them.
"I don't want to see where we're codifying it and forcing people to pay their tax money to end life when the baby can live outside the womb," she said. "I have a religious viewpoint. What we have to do is respect freedom of religion in the United States and not have taxpayer-funded abortions."
Martinez Johnson also directed ire at state government and the U.S. Forest Service in the wake of huge wildfires in northern New Mexico. She said a family home in Rociado was destroyed by one of those fires, leaving only a metal baby chair.
She said the state and feds need to allow more managed logging to reduce fuels for wildfires. She said the Forest Service never should have allowed prescribed burns in the spring, a period which often is windy.
One significant hurdle for Martinez Johnson is fundraising. According to a recent story in the Santa Fe New Mexican, Leger Fernandez reported raising about $1.8 million in her last campaign finance report, with $1.2 million in cash on hand.
Martinez Johnson reported raising about $77,000, with $29,000 in cash on hand.
Some Republican candidates have tried to woo support from former president Donald Trump to boost their political chances, but Martinez Johnson said she isn't one of them.
"I have not sought Donald Trump's support," she said. "That has not come onto my radar. I am working for New Mexicans. I would not be voting with one president. I would voting for my state and the constituents they represent."