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Teresa Leger Fernandez Beats Valerie Plame in New Mexico House Primary

  • June 03, 2020

The northern New Mexico district is at the center of the state’s deep Hispanic culture, and also includes more than a dozen Pueblo tribes, the Navajo Nation and the Jicarilla Apache Nation. Hispanics make up 41 percent of the district’s population, while Native Americans make up 19 percent.

The district has been represented since 2009 by Ben Ray Luján, who became the highest-ranking Hispanic person in the House and is now running for the Senate.

The congressional race attracted several Hispanic Democrats with deep roots in the state, including Ms. Leger Fernandez, a Yale-educated lawyer who received endorsements from the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Emily’s List and the Latino Victory Fund, a political action committee that works to elect progressive Hispanic leaders.

Another candidate, Joseph Sanchez, a state legislator, emphasized his family’s 12-generation history in New Mexico. And Marco Serna, the Santa Fe district attorney, attacked Ms. Plame by accusing her of misunderstanding local values and exaggerating her C.I.A. exploits.

Ms. Plame had significantly out-raised and outspent her rivals, much of the money coming from donors outside the district who were impressed by her vows to take on President Trump. Along with her former husband, Joseph C. Wilson, Ms. Plame, now 56, left Washington for Santa Fe when her identity was leaked after Mr. Wilson undercut the Bush administration’s 2003 claim that Iraq was trying to build nuclear weapons.

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