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Jill McLaughlin is the editor of the Los Alamos Monitor.
Campaign email raises questions

I received an interesting campaign email from Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver Friday morning that made me question a few things.

The email starts out: “Right-wing extremists in the legislature are attacking me for upholding the safety of New Mexicans and stopping their attempts to reduce background checks,” she says, before pleading for money to ward off these apparent attacks.

Democrat Toulouse Oliver is running against Rep. Ben Ray Lujan in the primary, hoping to capture the party’s nomination for the seat that Sen. Tom Udall is leaving at the end of next year.

Up until this email, I had agreed with Toulouse Oliver that she should remain as secretary of state while she campaigned for the Senate. I did not see any obvious conflicts, as long as she remained professional and followed the rules.

However, this email calls into question whether Toulouse Oliver has denied the Republican Leader Rep. Jim Townsend’s referendum petition to overturn the gun background check law three times for petty reasons as a way to leverage her powers of office to raise campaign funds.

She also recently rejected an additional seven referendum petitions for various other technical reasons. The petitions were filed in April by conservative-leaning groups in eastern New Mexico.