When Maggie Toulouse Oliver suddenly announced her withdrawal from the New Mexico Democratic Senate nomination race on October 29th, her devoted progressive supporters were stunned and stricken. Say it ain’t so, we silently pleaded. We’d had such hopes of her carrying the day despite what she was up against: a corporate Democrat with the full backing of the national party establishment behind him and the money that comes with that. By contrast, Maggie was carrying the flag of the people as vs. the interests of the 1%. Accordingly, like Bernie, she was committed to relying solely on donations from her supporters to finance her campaign.
Sadly for all of us, that turned out to be (as they say) infeasible. Just not enough money coming in to counterbalance the enormous war chest of her adversary. When it became obvious that no way could she mount an effective challenge to his deep-pockets bid, she must’ve felt she had little choice but to accede to this reality.
So it is that her now unopposed Democratic opponent will most likely claim Tom Udall’s Senate seat in 2020, replacing a reliably trueblue progressive with a centrist neither-here-nor-there politico. The irony of it is that we have to hope he does–and do our best to get him elected–because the alternative is far worse.
What we can be thankful for is that Maggie will remain as our New Mexico Secretary of State, a position in which she has distinguished herself by instituting one the cleanest, fairest, most accessible electoral systems in the country. No small feat. We honor her for that, and for the integrity she demonstrates as a public servant who holds the common good close at heart and puts herself on the line for justice.
“Not my time,” Maggie said as she made her graceful exit. The wheel does keep turning. Who knows what the future holds? However that goes, Maggie will no doubt continue to have an important role to play in New Mexico. Her light will not be hid under a bushel. She is young and strong. We have every reason to believe that she will occupy positions of public leadership for years to come, and that our state will be the better for it.
May it be so. Our blessings and more power to you, Maggie.
–Jerilyn Bowen, 11/3/19