Vote 2022: At a Glance

A recap of SFR’s endorsements and explainers for ballot choices

Voter participation has already been robust in New Mexico’s general election, but with final ballots cast Tuesday, Nov. 8, here’s a reminder of what’s at stake via SFR’s recommendations and explanations published at the start of early voting. Our endorsements made arguments for Democrats who have demonstrated their commitments to voting rights and access to abortion, as well as to improving the state’s infrastructure, education and overall health care. Here’s the TL/DR version.


US Representative, Congressional District 3:

In her first term, US Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández has demonstrated her ability to work with the rest of the state’s congressional delegation to help secure funding desperately needed as New Mexico recovers from the economic toils of the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating wildfire season. And with the likely shift in the makeup of Congress across the nation, she will be another crucial voice fighting to protect voting rights and women’s constitutional right to abortion.


Incumbent Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has responded aggressively to a slate of crises—badgering the federal government for resources during the pandemic and loudly demanding compensation for the US Forest Service’s role in the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire. She also shepherded the legalization of cannabis; the expansion of college scholarships; bills to increase teacher pay; bills to fund early childhood education; bills to fund more law enforcement hires, among many other initiatives. She has done all that while trying to rebuild a state government largely decimated by her predecessor, particularly in the area of behavioral health. (Reminder: The same political team that propelled Susana Martinez to the fourth floor is working for GOP challenger Mark Ronchetti. He has never once responded to our requests for interviews.)

Secretary of State:

With more than a decade under her belt as an elections official, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver has proven up to the challenges, and she has the knowledge and experience to both oversee the office’s myriad responsibilities and push for improvements, such as the current overhaul of its campaign finance information system. She intends to re-champion several of the important facets of election bills that failed to pass in the Legislature’s 2022 session, including the reinstatement of voting rights for the formerly incarcerated; codifying the Native American Voting Rights Act into the state’s election laws; and creating a single sign-up concept allowing voters to always receive absentee ballots in the mail if they choose.

Attorney General:

Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez handily defeated state Auditor Brian Colón for the Democratic nomination for the $95,000-a-year job to lead 200 employees with a $35-million annual budget. We recommend Torrez, a Harvard and Stanford-educated New Mexican with experience in the state’s most populated district.


Former two-term Santa Fe City Councilor Joseph Maestas earned political cred as a councilor, then mayor in Española and is a retired engineer wrapping up a term on the Public Regulation Commission.


Former Sandoval County Treasurer Laura Montoya is most prepared for the job after serving in that elected post and representing the Treasurer’s Affiliate at the Legislature.

Land Commissioner:

Incumbent Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard’s first term in that office follows three successful terms as a state legislator. A former teacher, the Los Alamos resident has applied diligence to public lands administration.

New Mexico House District 46:

Incumbent Democrat Rep. Andrea Romero’s articulate advocacy for cannabis legalization was particularly impressive, and her overall experience is valuable to Santa Fe’s representation.

The judiciary:

SFR is not making recommendations in judicial races this year. The New Mexico Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission has evaluated the Supreme Court races and recommends Justice Michael Vigil for retention. Judge Jane Yohalem has not served long enough to get a JPEC review.

Appointed Supreme Court justices Brianna Zamora and Julie Vargas, both Democrats, are on the ballot against Republicans Kerry J. Morris and Thomas C. Montoya, respectively. On the Court of the Appeals, 2021-appointed Judge Gerald E. Baca, a Democrat, is running for election against Republican Barbara Johnson and Libertarian Sophie Cooper for position 1; and Democrat Katherine Anne Wray, also appointed last year, faces Libertarian Stephen Curtis and Republican Gertrude Lee for the position 2 seat.

Constitutional Amendments:

Lawmakers vetted these proposals before sending them to the ballot and SFR’s research leads us to recommend yes for all three.

Land Grant Permanent Fund:

The proposal would increase disbursement cash from the investment of this fund from 5% of proceeds to 6.25% to benefit early-childhood education, public schools and other programs.

Appointed judges re-election:

Currently, appointed judges are up for election at the next general election after appointment. The proposal would ensure they have at least one year before standing for election.

Anti-donation clause:

The amendment would add infrastructure that provides essential services such as internet, energy, water or wastewater as another exception to the anti-donation clause.

New Mexico Bonds:

Should the state issue bonds for various projects, then repay them through property tax revenue? We recommend yes on all three.

1: $24.5 million for senior centers

2: $19.3 million for public libraries

3: $215 million for public higher education, special public schools and tribal schools

Santa Fe County Bonds:

We recommend a yes vote on questions 1 and 2, both important financing tools that are key for road and water projects across the 2,000-square-mile county. But when it comes to giving the county more leeway to use public funds for open space in question 3, we recommend voting no. Santa Fe County has done a poor job of keeping promises it made to southwest city residents and we don’t have faith in the next round. More than 20 years ago, these funds paid for what was supposed to be preserved open space off South Meadows Road. A developer owns it now and wants to build housing there. We hope the county adopts meaningful review and accountability in its open space plans.

Question 1: $13 million to acquire, construct, design, equip and improve roads

Question 2: $7 million to acquire real property and necessary water rights for, and to construct, design, equip, rehabilitate and improve water and wastewater projects

Question 3: $5 million for open space, trails and parks.

Letters to the Editor

Mail letters to PO Box 4910 Santa Fe, NM 87502 or email them to editor[at] Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to specific articles in the Reporter. Letters will be edited for space and clarity.

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