The Barreras-Fajardo race draws attention from both parties in the Roundhouse
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If Republicans are going to take the majority of the state House of Representatives for the first time in 59 years — and if Democrats are going to maintain their edge — seats like the one in House District 7 in Valencia County will be crucial.
“David Chavez didn’t do anything to help Valencia County,” Barreras said in a phone interview with Capitol Report New Mexico of the seat he held for two terms before losing to Chavez in 2010, 54.9 percent to 45.1 percent.
“I’m new. I’m not a politician,” Fajardo said. “I’ve never done this before so I’m not part of the old guard. I think that’s what we need in Santa Fe.”
Democrats are clinging to a 36-33-1 lead in the House of Representatives and a look at the contributions for both candidates in the District 7 race indicates the importance for Republicans to keep the seat in GOP hands and, conversely, why Democrats know that flipping the seat will be a big plus for them.
Of the money Barreras has banked, his largest contributors are the state trial lawyers political action committee, the Committee for Individual Responsibility ($5,000), and the state Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee ($5,000). Senate majority leader Sanchez has chipped in $1,000. Nearly $12,000 in the Barreras campaign warchest has come in through loans, including $3,917 from Barreras himself, according to documents from the Secretary of State’s website.
For Fajardo, her largest single contributor is Susana PAC ($2,500), the political action committee of Gov. Susana Martinez, whose clout could increase tremendously should the House flip to the GOP. We counted 15 Republican members of the legislature donating to Fajardo, including $2,300 from minority leader Rep. Tom Taylor of Farmington and $1,000 from House minority whip Don Bratton of Hobbs. There are no loans listed in Fajardo’s financial returns.
“I’m running because the economy needs a lot of help,” Barreras said. “When I was in the legislature, I fought hard to get and protect jobs, to protect working class jobs.”
Fajardo owns a social media and web services consulting company. “Small business is huge for me,” she said, adding “It’s the backbone of the community. I really want to help [businesses] succeed.”
Fajardo says she supports Gov. Martinez in two hot-button issues facing legislators: Repealing the law granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and ending the practice of “social promotion” by retaining students in public schools who cannot read at a minimal level by the end of the third grade.
“It’s a safety issue,” Fajardo said of the driver’s license repeal and of the social promotion bill, “I know education costs money but sometimes we need to stop and slow down and make sure our kids are educated.”
Barreras wouldn’t commit to an answer on either question, saying, “I’m reluctant to talk about it off the cuff. It depends on the bill that comes in front of you … I’ve been in the legislature and I know bills can be changed from the time you talk about it to the time it’s in front of you.”
Barreras points to his previous four years in the Roundhouse as a plus while Fajardo stresses her role as a businesswoman and mother of three.
“I can reach across the aisle and work with people,” Barreras said. “[Former Gov.] Richardson wasn’t too happy with me because I wouldn’t vote with him on some things … I might be too conservative for some people and too liberal for others. I respect both parties.”
“My parents owned a small business in Albuquerque,” Fajardo said. “They built it from the ground up for 20 years so I understand what they went through … It’s going to be a tough race … It’s going to take a lot of hard work and door knockin.’ ”
Posted under Capitol Report.
Tags: Andrew Barreras, Capitol Report New Mexico, Committee for Individual Responsibility, David Chavez, Don Bratton, Kelly Fajardo, Michael Sanchez, New Mexico Secretary of State, Susana Martinez, Susana PAC, Tom Taylor