I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Ben Ray Lujan wins reelection over Mullins
Freshman Democrat Ben Ray Lujan easily defeated Farmington engineer Tom Mullins Tuesday. Unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s office showed Lujan with 56.9 percent of the vote and Mullins with 43.1 percent of the vote as of 12:12 a.m. Wednesday.
Mullins had enthusiastic support from tea party
Mullins, a political newcomer, had defeated libertarian candidate and Iraq war veteran Adam Kokesh with more than 70 percent of the votes in the June Republican primary.
The deeply conservative Mullins had aligned himself with the tea party movement. He said he does not believe in global warming and was deeply critical of the federal health care reform law.
Mullins first gained attention after talking on a local radio show about putting land mines on the United States-Mexico border. Afterward, Mullins said he was only echoing an idea he had heard at a town hall. Nevertheless, liberal MSNBC host Keith Olbermann named Mullins a runner up for his “Worst Person in the World” feature.
A month later, Mullins found himself defending comments he made about the lack of white faces at a Kewa Pueblo ceremony.
Luján consistently raised more money than Mullins and he seemed to be cruising to an early victory in the most heavily Democratic district in the state. But a poll by Public Policy Polling conducted for the blog Daily Kos showed that Luján led Mullins by just six as of October. Mullins claimed that his internal polling showed the race was even closer.
The district has only been held by a Republican once. After now-governor Bill Richardson left the seat to become United States ambassador to the United Nations under Bill Clinton, Bill Redmond won a three-way special election for the seat and held the seat for less than a year before Tom Udall defeated Redmond in the 1998 general election.
Udall announced he would not be running for re-election in 2008, instead opting to run for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Pete Domenici because of health problems. Udall easily won election to that seat and Luján won election to the 3rd Congressional District in that year’s three-way race.
Luján sits on the Committee on Science and Technology, Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Natural Resources. He also serves as the Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation. Luján also serves as the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ Green Economy and Renewable Energy Task Force
Luján’s father is the powerful Speaker of the House Ben Lujan in the New Mexico state Legislature.
Before becoming Congressman, Luján served on the state’s Public Regulations Commission representing the 3rd district for four years. Luján served as chairman of the PRC.