But the standoff in Otero County rocketed to national attention when New Mexico’s Democratic secretary of state, Maggie Toulouse Oliver, sought a state Supreme Court order last week to force the GOP commissioners sign off on the June 7 primary results after they had initially refused to do so.
On Friday, the statutory deadline for counties to certify the primary results, the Otero commissioners relented and certified the results by a 2-1 vote, citing the high court’s order and threats of legal action from state Attorney General Hector Balderas, a Democrat. But Otero County wasn’t the only New Mexico community that witnessed defiance.
Officials in Torrance County, New Mexico, another Republican stronghold, also waited until the very last day to certify their county’s election results. When they did so, during a raucous public meeting, cries of “traitors” and “cowards” broke out from the crowd.
Joanna Lydgate — the CEO of States United Action, a nonpartisan group working on fair and secure elections — views the confrontations in New Mexico as a sign of the growing peril American democracy faces.
A multi-pronged attack on democracy is underway, she said, as election deniers seek key offices, state legislatures transform the ground rules for running elections and partisan actors test ways to change election results if they “don’t like the outcome.”
“I think we all remember watching the attack on the Capitol and that it felt like the darkest day,” Lydgate added. “But the truth is that the threats to democracy didn’t end on January 6. Really, what we’ve seen since then is an insurrection in the states that hasn’t been televised.”
Tuesday marks another round of primaries
Washington, DC, and Virginia are holding primary elections Tuesday, and runoffs are underway in Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia. (There are no statewide or congressional runoffs in Arkansas.)
I’m keeping an eye on the runoff that will determine the Democratic nominee for secretary of state in Georgia. State Rep. Bee Nguyen is the front-runner for the nomination — having captured roughly 44% of the primary vote last month, but still short of the majority required to win outright under Georgia law.
She faces former state Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler, who took nearly 19% of the vote.
In November, the Democratic winner will face the Republican incumbent Brad Raffensperger, who famously refused Trump’s request to “find” enough votes to overturn his 2020 loss in Georgia.
You need to read
- This story by CNN’s Edward-Isaac Dovere about the ways Russia could exploit divisions over US elections to meddle in the midterms. It paints a nightmare scenario of Russia “staging smaller hacks of local election authorities — done with the deliberate purpose of being noticed — and then using that to seed more conspiracies about the integrity of American elections. Yikes.
- This interview by CNN’s Sean Lyngaas with Kim Wyman, the top election security official at the federal US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, about the continued threats to election officials around the country.
- This story from several CNN colleagues that explores how hard it would be to prosecute Trump over misleading fundraising practices. Last week, the January 6 committee detailed how the former President barraged his supporters for donations for a nonexistent “election defense fund” and raised hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.