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Dear Fellow New Mexicans,

My name is Mary Herrera, and I am a proud Democrat. I served as Secretary of State from 2007 to 2010, and prior to that position, I was elected twice as Bernalillo County Clerk. After I was elected as Secretary of State, Maggie Toulouse Oliver did not have the votes to assume the office of Bernalillo County Clerk until I gave her my recommendation. I now regret ever recommending her, as both in her current and previous positions, Maggie was and continues to be personally responsible for rampant partisanship and corruption that has harmed New Mexicans and diminished their trust in our elections and institutions.

Maggie talks about foreign influence in our elections on MSNBC, yet she and her partisans have taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from Hungarian billionaire George Soros. In fact, the only person who has attempted to rig the 2018 New Mexico election is Maggie. Aside from the straight-party voting issue, she used Angel Peña’s Hispanic surname to kick him off the ballot because he wasn’t part of her progressive cabal. She also rigged a 2012 State Senate election by allowing her preferred Democratic candidate to file late by backdating the clock after a 5:00 pm deadline, and then certified invalid signatures on a candidate nominating petition. One of my former Bernalillo County employees came to me afterward to inform me that she witnessed this malfeasance, and I believed her. But by that point, it was too late to repair the damage.

Perhaps worst of all, however, as Bernalillo County Clerk, Maggie shielded and protected a sexual predator, her deputy, from public scrutiny until after the primary election. She only cared about the election and refused to protect the women under her charge. She then weaponized law enforcement to jail a whistleblower who had previously demonstrated her incompetence by producing evidence that she was willing to send absentee ballots to the dead. She has continued the hyper-political weaponization of her office as Secretary of State, and it is wrong!

Has anyone inquired as to what happened to that PAC she set up to supposedly help women? She raised thousands of dollars under that PAC, yet her campaign manager, Alan Packman, was the only recipient of funds from the PAC. What women did MaggiePAC ever help?

Maggie continues to pat herself on the back and give herself all the credit for great elections as Bernalillo County Clerk, yet the truth is that I was the one who straightened out that office. I turned that office over to Maggie in great shape, and she proceeded to run it into the ground. My former employees repeatedly told me about her mistreatment of the staff. She even required employees to clock out in order to go to the bathroom.

Maggie’s legacy of fiscal irresponsibility continues to harm Bernalillo County. She obligated the county to spend $721,000 per year on long-term leases for voter convenience centers, plus $8,000 per month in utilities, even though the centers are only used for 30 days a year. Employees in the Clerk’s office have had to be furloughed as a result. I hope the press looks into how many of those centers are rented from Maggie’s political donors.

I want to commend current Clerk Linda Stover and her efforts to return integrity to the Bernalillo County Clerk’s office. Many of the employees that left under Maggie’s tyranny have fortunately returned to that office, and my understanding is that the office has now resumed the high level of operational efficiency that existed when I was Clerk.

In contrast to Maggie, Dr. Gavin Clarkson is a political outsider who is not part of machine politics. His business background and expertise in law and technology make him an ideal candidate to reorient the office to focus on job creation and to restore full faith in the integrity of the voter rolls. It is evident that the amicus brief he authored was used as a blueprint by the Supreme Court to unanimously repudiate Maggie’s last-minute attempt to rig the election. His Harvard Law education probably contributed to the quality of that brief, and the fact that he is the first tribal member to ever earn a doctorate from the Harvard Business School shows the kind of energy he brings to every endeavor.

A second-generation Navy veteran, Dr. Clarkson often talks of his father who started out as an orphaned Indian child during the Dust Bowl days of the Great Depression but ended up becoming the first American Indian to fly a jet. His mother is also a tribal member, and Dr. Clarkson’s family story is proof that Indian poverty doesn’t have to be a life sentence. On a related note, Maggie did not start the Native American voting initiative in New Mexico. It was already in place when I took office, and I expanded it.

New Mexico needs more jobs and our faith in free and fair elections must be restored. Accomplishing these objectives will require accountability to the rule of law from our elected officials, especially those entrusted with refereeing our elections and ethics. Dr. Clarkson is a man of integrity who is uncommonly qualified to do exactly that.

Although I could have remained on the sidelines, New Mexico is too important to me, and I can no longer remain silent. I am therefore wholeheartedly endorsing Dr. Gavin Clarkson for New Mexico Secretary of State, a vital position of public trust.

 

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Mary Herrera, former NM Secretary of State