There is so much history being made in the independent and reform movements in 2018 that it is almost impossible to keep up with it all.
Lamy businessman and nonprofit executive Jarratt Applewhite (HD-50) and former state representative Tweeti Blancett (Hd-40) are the first candidates added to an independent slate that has never been seen before in New Mexico.
“We’re proud to endorse Jarratt and Tweeti because of their lifelong commitment to New Mexico and their local communities,” says Unite New Mexico co-chair Bob Perls.
“These leaders represent what it means to put people ahead of partisan and special interests and we’re excited to do all we can to support their candidacies.”
New Mexico hasn't made it easy for independents to get on the ballot. According to Applewhite, "in the 40 years since the courts forced New Mexico to allow independent candidates to run, only 16 candidates have been able to get on the ballot."
But Unite New Mexico is offering the structural support these candidates need to build on what are already viable and competitive campaigns.
“New Mexico is ripe for political disruption, and I am excited that Unite New Mexico is bringing much needed competition to a political system that clearly is not working,” says Nick Troiano, executive director of Unite America. “We’re honored to welcome Jarratt and Tweeti into a community of trailblazing, independent candidates that spans the entire country.”
Troiano is not wrong about the opportunity for independent success in New Mexico. The state has an astonishing 34 legislative seats that are uncontested by one of the two major parties. The door is wide open for more independent candidates.
“It is critical for a well-functioning democracy to provide voters more choices,” Bob Perls said in a previous interview for IVN.
“When voters see mainstream independent candidates representing ideas and values reflective of 80 percent of the voters, they will quickly look beyond the two major parties for leaders who can solve problems. For too long the two major parties have been focused on winning the next election rather than building broad-based coalitions that can solve our wicked-complex problems. New Mexico needs candidates of good will committed to representing the voter, not the party."
Unite New Mexico says it continues to talk with and recruit community leaders to run this cycle. Stay tuned for more updates on this story.