Stephanie Garcia Richard Makes History As First Woman Nominee For New Mexico Land Commissioner

Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard steps into a quiet hallway at Unquarked to receive a call Tuesday night from opponent Garrett Veneklasen who conceded the race for New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands. Photo by Carol A. Clark/
A crowd gathers to watch election results Tuesday night at Unquarked in Central Park Square. Photo by Carol A. Clark/
Los Alamos Daily Post

In what’s being called the upset of the 2018 Primary Election in New Mexico, Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard of White Rock has won the Democratic race for Commissioner of Public Lands.

Making history as the first women to be elected as the Democratic nominee for Land Commissioner in New Mexico, Garcia Richard prevailed despite being out spent more than 4 to 1 by Garrett Veneklasen. He was considered the frontrunner with strong public support from U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich.

“The reason I won is because of everyone of you gathered in this room tonight,” Garcia Richard told her group of supporters gathered Tuesday night to watch the election returns at Unquarked in Central Park Square. “This election shows the system works.”

Veneklasen called Garcia Richard to concede the race at about 10:30 p.m. and wish her well.

“I’m very humbled and honored,” she said.

The unofficial results, with some precincts still not in, shows Garcia Richard with 65,336 votes or 39.49 percent. Veneklasen received 61,498 votes or 37.21 percent, followed by George K. Munoz with 38,524 or 23.31 percent.

Garcia Richard now faces Republican Patrick Lyons in the November General Election.

Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard with her husband Eric Vasquez and their daughters Nica Vasquez and Elia Vasquez pose for a photo after hearing that Garcia Richard won the Democratic nomination for Land Commissioner. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Democratic Party of Los Alamos Chair Robyn Schultz, right, and others keep an eye on election results during the watch party Tuesday night at Unquarked in Central Park Square. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

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