At the March 7th NM Democratic Party Pre-primary Convention, US Representative Deb Haaland put a big thumb on the scale to keep progressives from serving on the Democratic National Committee that determines party rules, and that is already heavily stacked in favor of corporate Democrats.  Two eminently qualified long term Democratic Party devotees were running for the two open New Mexico DNC seats as progressives:  Pia Gallegos of Albuquerque and Jay Levine of Taos.  Their centrist opponents were Trish Ruiz of Lea County and former Albuquerque mayor Marty Chavez. 

The DNC vote was not held until after the convention ended, at a meeting of the State Central Committee where 367 SCC members cast votes. That’s when purportedly progressive Congresswoman Haaland stepped in to wield her considerable influence on behalf of Ruiz with a rousing full throated introduction to the candidate.  It had been made known that she backed Chavez as well.  When the results came in, Gallegos lost by 18 votes and Levine by 19.   Had Deb not endorsed their centrist opponents, there’s a very good chance both progressives would have won. 

 Among other things, DNC members serve as superdelegates who, in the event of  a contested national nominating convention, have the option to choose a presidential candidate without regard for the popular and electoral votes the candidate received in state primaries and caucuses.  In other words, for “the good of the party,” they can overturn the will of the people.  Gallegos and Levine campaigned on platforms that specifically addressed the issue of democratic process and accountability on the DNC while Ruiz and Chavez ignored that key aspect of the positions they sought in favor of mouthing vague platitudes about what the Democratic Party stands for.   

Since Representative Haaland presents herself as a progressive, it is very telling that, when the chips were down on a matter of great significance to the 2020 election, she aligned herself with the party power brokers who are conspiring to suppress the growing progressive presence in the party by any means necessary.  This stacked situation makes it all the more crucial for New Mexico to send at least a couple of progressives to speak for us in that important body and Deb Haaland knows this.  Do we need to remind her that it’s her job to represent her constituents as vs. joining in with the party establishment to strangle progressivism in its cradle?  Which side are you really on, Deb? 

We progressives need to let Representative Haaland hear from us about her dereliction of duty to those she supposedly serves.  Given all that’s at stake in the 2020 election, she should be made aware that we’re watching what she does, not just hearing what she says when she tells us she’s committed to our values and will stand strong for our cause. 

Time is of the essence.  Please take a few minutes to call Deb to account by writing, phoning, and/or emailing to tell her how you feel about what she did to keep progressives from claiming seats on the NM DNC delegation:   

mailing address – U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515
phone – 202/224-3121
email via

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Maurreen Skowran

    Our Adelante Progressive Caucus is comprised of many and varied forward-thinking people who want the best for the Democratic Party. We all want to improve the lives of working people and the most vulnerable in our society, to protect our planet, and to decrease the threat of war globally. Our progressive forces and ideas were instrumental in making our state blue and elected our three Democratic U.S. Congresspeople. We are proud of all of our Congresspeople.

  2. Jerilyn Bowen

    I appreciate all these thoughtful responses to my article about the SCC DNC election. Since Pia and Jay were our Adelante endorsed candidates, I felt it important to report on what happened and why. In doing so, I didn’t mean to diminish Trish Ruiz’s record of service to the party. I did mean to call attention to the fact that Deb Haaland had used her influence to keep Pia and Jay from claiming those DNC seats. National Democratic Party centrist power brokers have long been doing everything in their power to suppress and contain progressive influence in the party. Given that Rep. Haaland presents herself as a progressive, we might’ve expected her to stand with us in our groundbreaking bid for seats on the Democratic National Committee. The fact that she chose to do the opposite seems to me significant.

    As a progressive in these perilous times, I am first and foremost dedicated to bringing the Democratic Party back to its honorable roots as the party of the people. To accomplish that, I feel it’s incumbent upon us to hold our elected representatives to account, especially when they let us down in key matters. If we choose to overlook such things in the name of party loyalty, we’re in effect letting ourselves be coopted and asking to be disregarded next time the chips are down.

    We can disagree about what to make of them but the facts are indisputable. In any case, my hope is that by letting Rep. Haaland hear from us about this, we can open a productive, mutually respectful dialogue that will bear better fruit down the line.

    As we’ve so often chanted in the streets, This is What Democracy Looks Like.

    In solidarity & hope,
    Jerilyn Bowen

  3. Cheryl Harris

    I’m glad we can have forums such as this to declare our own opinions and reasons for them. We as a Caucus have said since the beginning of our formation that defining “progressive” and “liberal” is tricky and touchy. It is what you believe it to be, and some of us are more to one side than another. Jerilyn’s points are good, as are Spike Murphree’s. We should continue to talk with our elected officials and call out their positions as appropriate. Although I have been pleased with Deb’s performance in Congress, I find her more conservative in her leadership in the state.

    And in a funny, what goes around comes around scenario, it seems like almost a do over of the infamous “Straw vote” at Isleta in 2016 between Bernie and Hillary, which drew Deb into the middle of that.

    I do believe that change, as proposed by Bernie Sanders, needs to come with a strong reform plan- go ahead- cal it a revolution! Only systemic, reform change- constitutional rewrites, even, will get us to where we need to be as a fully participatory democracy- getting rid of the Electoral College, voting reform, etc. And now we really see the weaknesses in our unorganized, decentralized, separate and not equal health system. I do not we are really at a position in the country to support this kind of change. Maybe for the next generation to figure out?

  4. Charlie Bennett

    Shame on Deb for being so self-serving. Her shenanigans will discourage voters from participating in elections and will harm down ticket Democrats, especially those in tightly contested districts that rely on more progressive, newly registered voters to win.

  5. Liz Copeland

    The close SCC races that ended with Pia Gallegos’s and Jay Levine’s narrow defeats for the positions of incoming female and male superdelegates representing New Mexico in the Democratic National Committee was a great disappointment. Oh, how I wish those founding members of Adelante had been elected to those positions!
    However, I do think it most unwise to not consider the differences between Trish Ruiz and Marty Chavez before contacting Deb Haaland. Marty has been a pay-to-play corprotist Democrat for decades; I know almost nothing about Trish.
    I do know that many progressive in District 1 supported Deb Haaland. Deb endorsed and formally worked for Elizabeth Warren’s campaign. Like Warren’s did, Deb’s platform supports Medicare for All. Deb’s platform also endorses a Green New Deal.
    I respect Jerilyn’s position, and am glad to note that met her at a recent Progressive Democrats of America PDA campaign when we were both eating our potluck meal at the same table, after most everyone else was done. (waving to you, Jerilyn!) However, I do think that the question of how Adelante responds to Trish’s election should be carefully considered before we as a organization take specific action.
    Liz Copeland

  6. Spike Murphree

    I voted for Jay and Pia. It is important the Democratic Party be perceived as open and democratic —- particularly by its own members. Nonetheless, constant hammering of Deb on Andelante’s part does not sit well with me. Her record in Congress over the last year has not been all that bad, to say the least. Also, Super Delegates are not necessarily knee jerk “anti-popular vote” either, nor are they the enemy of the people. Let’s not forget the slew of centrist Democratic women elected from across thirty-three districts across the country in 2018 who made possible the impeachment of Mr.Trump —- not to mention close to 400 pieces of progressive legislation (to include the protection of Chaco Canyon). I humbly submit: Do not look a gift horse in the mouth even as we work for good causes. -Yours respectfully, Spike Murphree, Vice-Chair, DPNM Veterans Caucus

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