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New Mexico Telegram » CD1, Featured » Griego believes he’s the right kind of Democrat to represent CD1

Griego believes he’s the right kind of Democrat to represent CD1

Eric Griego at a rally at the Roundhouse in Santa FeNote: NM Telegram will be interviewing each of the 1st congressional district candidates in the coming weeks. This is the first in the series.

“This is a Democratic district,” said Eric Griego, a self-described progressive-Democrat. “It will elect a Democrat. The question is who will it elect, will it be someone who’s a kinder, gentler version of Steve Pearce or is it going to be a bread and butter Democrat?”

Griego is currently serving as a state Senator in Santa Fe, was a city councilor in Albuquerque and was, until recently, the executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children. Now, he is running hard to become the next U.S. Representative in New Mexico’s 1st congressional district.

While Griego was willing to talk about his candidates in the Democratic primary, much of the half-hour interview with Griego was about economic issues — gas prices, jobs and stimulating the economy. Griego has a plan for all of that.

The first issue listed on Griego’s website is jobs. On the page, Griego calls for a “New Marshall Plan for American jobs,” something that Griego elaborated on with Telegram earlier this week.

“I’m a strong supporter of something on the scale of the Marshall Plan after World War II to rebuild the countries that were really decimated by the war,” Griego said. “In today’s dollars its something like $1.5 trillion.” Acknowledging that is a large amount of money, Griego added, “It’s less than what we’ve spent in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

The spending in Griego’s plan would be in three areas: Spending on renewable energy, including research and development as well as infrastructure, spending on infrastructure such as highways and bridges, and spending on creating a broadband infrastructure from coast to coast.

As for tax policy, Griego says it has its place, but is not stimulative.

“Tax policy helps you when you already have some demand, maybe deliver a little bit more and maybe reinvest in some technology and infrastructure,” Griego said. “It’s not going to create demand.”

And how would Griego propose paying for this plan? A combination of ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, ending “the tax cuts for the top 1 percent” and taxing Wall Street speculation would create the revenue necessary for Griego’s “Marshall Plan,” he said.

No quick solution to rising gas prices

A topic of conversation around the country has been gas prices, with the price of gas skyrocketing in recent weeks. While the price at the gas pump is getting higher and higher, Griego says that drilling more in the United States will not significantly drop the price of oil.

“We do not produce enough of the world’s supply of oil and gas to affect the world price,” Griego said.

He said any time a Republican says that drilling more will drop the prices in gas, “They know they’re wrong. Because any credible economist will tell them we cannot affect price.”

Griego noted that oil drilling and production in the United States has gone up under Obama — and the gas prices have continued to skyrocket.

While there are few, if any, short-term fixes that will work, Griego says that focusing on renewable energy sources will help in the long term by “smooth[ing] out these crazy spikes we have in gas prices.”

The district is a Democratic district

One thing that Griego and his campaign manager, Ed Yoon, want voters to know is that they believe the 1st congressional district is a Democratic district and has been for some time now.

“In this kind of a district where Heather Wilson carried it by only barely 875 votes in 2006 and its been already trending Democrat since then,” Yoon said about the district. “In 2008, Heinrich carried it by 12 points, Obama won it by 20 points.”

And in 2010, “[Heinrich] won it with 52 percent of the votes in the biggest Republican wave we’ve seen in an entire generation and then some,” Yoon said. “The prognosticators and pundits all say this is a likely Democratic race.”

So Yoon and Griego kept going back to the theme that it will be up to Democratic primary voters to decide what kind of Democrat they want to support in June and send to the general election in November — and did not pull punches against their two primary opponents.

“If you’re a conservative and you want a Democrat who is really kind of conservative, [Martin Chavez] is your guy,” Griego said. “In my case, if you want someone who’s progressive, who stands for the Democratic Party, I’m your guy. But at least you know what you get, you know what you’re voting for. Michelle [Lujan-Grisham], she’s just this enigma, she’s a real enigma. And I think that’s the tricky part for voters.”

As for claims that Griego is too liberal for the district, Griego noted that people said they believed Udall and Heinrich were too liberal for the areas they now represent — but Heinrich was re-elected in 2010 and Udall continues to enjoy high popularity around the state.

The path that the Griego campaign will be taking towards the nomination is clear — claiming to be the Democratic candidate who best represents the Democratic party’s values — while saying Chavez is a conservative Democrat and that Lujan-Grisham has no record to prove how she would represent the district in Washington D.C.

The pre-primary convention

Griego won the three-way pre-primary convention earlier this month and some say this win catapulted Griego into the frontrunner position for the primary. Griego’s campaign credits hard work and voter engagement for winning the pre-primary convention and Griego says they used the convention as a test run for the June primary.

“It’s all the same, the very same components you need to run a strong active voter contact, right?” Griego said. “Because you’re in a field campaign, it’s canvassing, its calling, its running phone banks, its the candidate reaching out to voters, in this case they happen to be delegates.”

Griego said he personally called all of the 1st congressional district delegates and that his campaign sent multiple letters to the delegates to urge them to support him at the pre-primary. The organization and hard work paid off and 41 percent of the delegates cast their vote for the state Senator.

Yoon said the pre-primary proved that Griego has the strongest organization and that it would be important come June — and in November.

“Organization counts for four to six percent of any vote in a general election, a close, competitive election, you need a strong organization,” Yoon said. “If a candidate has not invested, has not had the wisdom to invest in an organization, then that’s a wisdom that’s lacking to win this race.”

Griego hopes that his strong organization and his progressive Democratic values will lead him to victory in June — and November — as they did in the pre-primary convention.

Written by

Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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6 Responses to "Griego believes he’s the right kind of Democrat to represent CD1"

  1. Jenn says:

    Yoon is not from New Mexico and does not understand New Mexico politics. This district has been held by one Democrat since 1980 and for only 4 years. Wilson held onto the seat in 2006 when Democrats road a wave that gave them majorities in the House and Senate after being in the minority for 12 years. Griego is the weakest candidate against Jones. Below is the voting history for every CD1 election with Wilson on the ballot.

    Romero is the candidate who is most like Griego an lost by the largest margins. We cannot risk this seat. A vote for Grego does just that. Numbers are not spin and do not lie.

    1998 (Special)

    Heather Wilson
    54,853 44.58%

    Phillip Maloof
    48,747 39.62%
    Margin 4.96%

    Heather Wilson (incumbent)
    86,784 48.44%

    Phillip Maloof
    75,040 41.88%
    Margin 6.56%


    Heather Wilson (incumbent)
    107,296 50.34%

    John J. Kelly
    92,187 43.25%

    Margin 7.09%


    Heather Wilson (incumbent)
    95,711 55.34%

    Richard Romero
    77,234 44.66%
    Margin 10.68%


    Heather Wilson (incumbent)
    147,372 54.40%

    Richard M. Romero
    123,339 45.53%
    Margin 8.87%


    Heather Wilson (incumbent)
    105,986 50.20%

    Patricia A. Madrid
    105,125 49.80%
    Margin 0.40%

  2. Mary Martinez says:

    Griego would be the worst Democrat to send to DC. He cannot even get bills passed when his party controls 27 of the 42 seats in hus legislative body. Griego introduced 51 bills and was only able to get one signed into law. In 4 years he only git 3 bills through the the senate. Every Republican in the Senate git more bills through, and they were in the minority. He cannot accomplished anything, and Republicans will use this info to destroy hum in the general.

    Bills Introduced by Griego from 2012 to 2009 and Outcome
    SB 43 DIED
    SB 105 DIED
    SB 107 DIED
    SB 152 DIED
    SB 207 DIED
    SB 268 DIED
    SB 370 DIED
    SB 371 DIED
    SB 92 Passed in Senate DIED in House
    SB 93 DIED
    SB 94 DIED
    SB 95 DIED
    SB 181 DIED
    SB 182 DIED
    SB 229 DIED
    SB 270 DIED
    SB 294 DIED
    SB 342 DIED
    SB 379 Failed
    SB 382 Failed
    SB 419 DIED
    SB 420 DIED
    SB 515 DIED
    SB 544 DIED
    *SB 563 DIED
    SB 569 Passed in Senate DIED in House
    SB 11 DIED
    SB 15 DIED
    SB 49 DIED
    SB 50 DIED
    SB 51 DIED
    SB 52 DIED
    SB 86 DIED
    SB 128 DIED
    SB 242 DIED
    SB 7 DIED
    *SB 30 DIED
    SB 163 Failed
    SB 164 DIED
    SB 165 DIED
    SB 365 DIED
    SB 367 DIED
    SB 414 DIED
    SB 415 DIED
    SB 420 DIED
    SB 480 DIED
    SB 489 DIED
    SB 592 DIED
    SB 644 DIED
    SB 693 DIED

  3. James says:

    With all due respect, Democrats should spine up.

    The reason why we have so many watered-down legislation from Democrats in Congress is because one too many Democrats would rather cower and be lazy, and send more DINOs to Congress than actually send real Democrats who will fight to strengthen the negotiating hand of the President and the Democrats in Congress to get the best that we can get legislatively.

    Remember the public option? How about Wall Street reform? Or how about the clean energy jobs bill? For that matter, how about that debate over raising the debt ceiling?

    2013-14 will see immigration reform, tax reform, and a slew of other big policy fights. Should Democrats just keep sending more Democrats to wring their hands and just let the Republicans do what they want to do and just accept whatever outcome we’re handed? No. We need more real Democrats who will fight.

    Every national prognosticator calls NM-1 a “Likely Democratic” seat. The National Republican Congressional Committee has basically given up on their weak field of candidates. Janice Arnold-Jones raised a paltry $88K in six months of campaigning and had a measly $20K cash on hand. Compare that to the Democrats in the race, each of whom are raising four to five times her, and have more than ten times the cash on hand. If you look behind the veil of cowardice, any of the Democrats in the race will be able to beat her.

    As for Griego, he has over 14,000 donors. He may not be the establishment’s favorite (read: big checks), but the establishment always comes around the nominee in the general election. With his potent grassroots fundraising base, national profile, and the later addition of establishment fundraising, he will be a force to be reckoned with.

    Oh, by the way: earning the support of Hispanic voters – a critical voting bloc for not only the CD1 race, but also for President Obama and the Senate nominee – will benefit from a Hispanic candidate who can actually communicate with Hispanic voters. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Marty Chavez ain’t it. Griego is a fluent Spanish speaker with working class roots. That’s not just good for CD1, but also good for the U.S. Senate and the presidency.

    The facts Yoon cited about the district are correct. CD1 has been trending Democrat since 2006, and was even held during a prime pick-up year for Republicans in 2010, when they fielded who many thought was a truly strong candidate in Jon Barelas. Facts are facts.

    With both Heather Wilson and Janice Arnold-Jones perceived as “moderates”, they will also have a tough time organizing grassroots support from the Republican Party’s conservative, Tea Party base. We’re talking worker bees.

    Janice Arnold-Jones has already proved to have little appeal outside of her gender politics. Besides, the Republicans will have a field day with her in the general election, since all they need is to run a few TV and radio ads talking about how several people died prematurely because of the horrible job she did overseeing the state’s nursing homes. She was even sued by the federal government, for heaven sakes. And Marty Chavez is much too deeply mired in corruption issues, from ABQ PAC to his girlfriend problems.

    Yes, Eric Griego is liberal, progressive, or whatever you call it. Yes, the Republicans will try to paint him unfairly as a pinko commie. But really, the Republicans will call both Marty Chavez and Michelle Lujan Grisham pinko commies anyway. Do they support “Obamacare” and “government takeover of healthcare”? Yes. Do they support raising taxes on the rich? Yes. ‘Nuff said.

    Ideology is a factor in an election’s outcome, but far from the decisive one. Other factors include message discipline – which all three candidates have shown they’re capable of – and their ability to run a good campaign organization. Griego and Chavez have both shown that they can run strong, well-organized and disciplined campaigns, thus their respective first (41% for Griego) and second place (33% for Chavez) showing at the Democratic Pre-Primary Convention. Lujan Grisham has failed in that regard. From picking up only 26% at the Pre-Primary Convention to cycling through campaign managers like paper cups, she doesn’t appear to be ready for prime time, at least yet. In 2008, she barely won third place in the primary that Martin Heinrich won after raising over $310K, only to be defeated by Rebecca Vigil-Giron, who came in second after raising only $16K.

    In this Democratic district, we have a clear choice: A real Democrat, a DINO, and a Democrat we can’t be quite sure of. If you’re worried about nominating a real Democrat to go up against an extremely weak RINO candidate, then you’re just worried about someone giving you a call one day to go knock on some doors or make some calls to voters.

  4. Mary Martinez says:

    James. The Republicans are not going to call him a commie. They are going to say he is ineffective. They will show his record of failures in the Senate and tell people that is what we can expect in DC. The kind of record demonstrates his actions in DC will devastate the Labs and Kirtland. His brand of politics will lose valuable jobs at the Sandia.

    Hispanic turnout is important in the election. All three candidates are Hispanic. Most Hispanic New Mexicans do not speak Spanish because the language was beaten out of our parents in school. Voters will hot hold historical racism against a candidate. It is sad that you are willing to criminalize a person for racist acts against that person. I hope that Eric asks his supporters to stop trying to exploit historical racism. It is disgusting and has no place in the Democratic Party.

    Another important block of voters is women. They will decide this election. Who do you think will do better with women in the general against Jones? The Republicans want Eric. Democrats have a chance to send a strong progressive woman who can get something done. That is why Republicans are scared by Michelle. I would not be surprised if they send volunteers and money to Eric in the primary. They want the weakest candidate in the general.

  5. James says:

    “Mary Martinez”: Are you by any chance the same person posting on DFNM under the guise of “Tommy Jones”? It’s the same post from presumably two different people. Maybe you’re just one of the campaign staff for Michelle Lujan Grisham trying out astroturf? Tsk tsk tsk. If so, please tell her to stop it. This is Bush league.

  6. Mary Martinez, Tommy Jones, whoever is a sockpuppet for the Republican Party. They know they can’t win the NM-1 seat, so they’re trolling for Republican-lite candidates. We Democrats are not stupid; we know who is behind the same old BS talking points.