SANTA FE, New Mexico — Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham hinted Wednesday that she may endorse one of her party’s presidential candidates and emphasized the need for a leader who can bridge political divides and get things done.
Reversing course from a spokeswoman’s statement Tuesday that the governor “is not making an endorsement,” Lujan Grisham indicated at a news conference that she might endorse a candidate “probably sooner” without specifying when.
“Look, that this is a country that’s seen divisions in so many ways,” said Lujan Grisham, noting that she has been approached by three candidates that remain in the race for the Democratic nomination. “They have to assure me that they’re going to work to bridge these divides. ... I want to know about a candidate who’s going to work to bring unity and find more things that we have in common, not less.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden won 10 of the 14 Super Tuesday states, including delegate-rich Texas and a broad swath of the South, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders demonstrated his strength by winning California, the nation’s biggest state.
Most members of the state’s congressional delegation are wary about weighing in, with the exception of U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland. One of the first Native American women to be elected to Congress, Haaland threw her support behind Elizabeth Warren early on and just finished a three-state swing campaigning for the candidate.
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, who is running for an open Senate seat, will not be endorsing anyone in the presidential contest but says he’ll support the eventual nominee.
Because the presidential field is changing rapidly, freshman Rep. Xochitl Torres Small said she hasn’t decided on which candidate to support. Torres Small is running for re-election in a sprawling district that includes a stretch of the border with Mexico and is home to a portion of one of the nation’s most prolific oil and gas basins.
“I remain concerned by some of the policies the candidates have proposed, including a federal ban on fracking,” she said. “Right now, my focus remains on delivering for New Mexicans by increasing access to rural health care, implementing a strong, smart, and fair border policy and growing our local economies.”
Voters in the state are particularly attuned to the issue of oil and gas, as the industry brings in significant revenue and helps pay for public education and other government programs.
If no presidential candidate wins a majority of pledged delegates, Lujan Grisham and the state’s congressional delegation could be called on as automatic super delegates at the Democratic national convention to vote. Previously members of Congress and other party leaders voted as super delegates in the initial convention balloting.
While serving in Congress in 2016, Lujan Grisham voted as a super delegate to help Hillary Clinton clinch the party nomination. Clinton won the state’s primary over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and then the general election without visiting New Mexico to campaign.
Under new Democratic National Committee rules, if no candidate receives support from a majority of pledged delegates on the first ballot at the convention, about 770 super delegates would be allowed to vote on a second ballot.