Alburqueue, NM — On Saturday, GOP Congressional Candidate Brett Kokinadis [NM CD-1] called for Republican State Party Chairman Steve Pearce to resign due to an email sent by the NM State GOP calling for a change in NM Congressional Delegation’ complexion’ from Ben Ray Lujan, and when confronted, doubled down on his clearly racist and dog-whistle choice of words.
On Friday, RPNM transmitted an email to GOP members stating: “This is why we must all work hard to change the complexion of our Congressional delegation.” Though RPNM Communications Director Mike Curtis noted the party intended to communicate the importance of flipping New Mexico from blue to red, the party’s choice of wording was defended.
Brett Kokinadis stated:
There is an ideological civil war in the Republican Party: between a losing but comfortable ideology and a winning group that challenges deeply held beliefs. The GOP embraces losing candidates that share the old guard mentality, and that won’t win elections in 2020. We have new and diverse candidates such as Karen Bedonie (a Navajo) in the third congressional district, Elisa Martinez (a Hispanic and Native American) running for US Senate, and Yvette Herrell (Cherokee) in the second congressional district.
After I made a statement condemning this choice of words and politely requesting an official apology from Steve Pearce and the NM State GOP, Steve Pearce and Republican Party Leadership continued to defend its choice of words that divide New Mexicans and continue an outdated, stereotypical view of the Republican Party. I was publicly attacked by Rick Lopez, Vice Chairman for the NM State GOP, among many Republicans as being ‘soft’ for politely suggesting that GOP leadership not use racially insensitive word choice in New Mexico, an incredibly diverse state.
I believe that the only ‘complexion’ that needs to change is the ‘political complexion’ in the State NM GOP to embracing a political complexion that values and embraces the diversity of New Mexico.
In 2016, Steve Pearce, with his then running mate Michelle Garcia Holmes (my current opponent in CD-1), suffered one of the most humiliating political embarrassments in New Mexico History. Pearce and Holmes lost to a Democratic opponent at a time when a Republican President was elected and Pearce’s previous US House seat, a Republican stronghold, elected of the most progressive democrats currently in the US House of Representatives [Torres-Small].
New diverse candidates should have the support of their party and be reassured racism is a non-starter for the Republican Party of New Mexico. I am calling on Steve Pearce and NM Republican Leadership to resign!
The Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures is part of New Mexico’s state pledge, and Republicans need to be clear they support our diverse ethnic backgrounds and cultures equally. Kokinadis continued, “The GOP needs to prove it stands against racism and support the most diverse and strongest candidates running in 2020.”
Brett Kokinadis For Congress