Deb Haaland Wins New Mexico Congressional Primary, Putting Her on Track to Become First Native American Woman in U.S. Congress

Jun 6, 2018 | News

In the primary for New Mexico’s first Congressional District on Tuesday night, Deb Haaland, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, handily beat out five other challengers to secure the Democratic nomination. While 21 Native Americans have served in Congress, beginning with John Floyd in 1817, all have been men, meaning that Haaland would be the first Native American woman elected to the federal legislature. The only two Native Americans currently serving in Congress are Rep. Tom Cole (Chickasaw) and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (Cherokee), both of whom represent Oklahoma.

New Mexico’s first Congressional District skews Democratic, having favored the Democratic candidate for President in each of the last five elections, putting Haaland on an expected path to win in November.

“Tonight, New Mexico made history,” Haaland said in a victory speech on Tuesday night, saying that her win was a “victory for working people, a victory for women, a victory for Indian country, and a victory for everyone who has been sidelined by the billionaire class.”

According to Haaland’s campaign website, she is a single mother who was raised in a military family. She graduated from the University of New Mexico (UNM) and UNM law school. Her mother served in the Navy and married her father, who is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, while they were both stationed at Treasure Island.

In the past, Haaland had served as the Native American Caucus Chair for the Democratic Party of New Mexico, and was the first Native American woman in the United States to chair a state political party. She is also a former Tribal administrator.

In November, Haaland will face Republican Janice Arnold-Jones. Both candidates are vying to replace Michelle Lujan Grisham, who stepped down from the seat to run for Governor of New Mexico.

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