On the Campaign Trail with Alexis Johnson for Congress Episode 1: 2019 Bernalillo Twinkle Light Parade
I have been called numerous names, such as a “Democrat Plant” for raising important and legitimate issues within the Republican Party. I am a registered Republican, however, my politics would mostly be considered Libertarian with a view towards limited government due to my inherent mistrust of ‘groups’. Groupthink is one of the dangers of political parties, and I would hope that the Republican Party is immune to this type of “Party Politics” but occasionally it rears its ugly head.
For that reason — among others — I will be discussing a number of important issues which are relevant to all politically minded individuals in New Mexico and across our great Nation, the United States. What has made America the greatest nation on earth is our dedication to the values held by the Republican Party: Small Government, Protection of Private Property, and Protection of Constitutional rights such as the Freedom of Speech.
I do not tell these stories in order to disparage any particular person or group, but more as examples of what is currently broken in our political system in New Mexico.
Learning how the “Grand Old Party” Works in Sandoval County, New Mexico
After I had been the campaign manager for a couple of months for Alexis Johnson for Congress, Alexis was invited to participate in the Sandoval County GOP Float Parade by Leticia Munoz-Kaminski. I first met Leticia in November 2019 at a UNM College Republicans meeting.
In that meeting was a number of politico’s of NM including Brandon Hall, Leticia , Leslie White, Joaquin Romero and Daniel Hund. In proof the “small world” theory, we would eventually hire Daniel to work as our campaign Manager in the week following the June 2020 Republican Primary Victory, before he promptly quit after working for one week to join the Trump Victory Initiative. Due to the terrible optics of Daniel “Jumping Ship” from Alexis Johnson for Congress to The Trump Victory Initiative, Trump Victory ended up not hiring him.
I have nothing bad to say about Leticia and she is truly one of the saving graces and hardest working people for the Republican Party in NM. So when Leticia invited Alexis and I to attend this event I expected a warm welcome and a community environment, working together to accomplish the float / spread Trump’s name in New Mexico, especially considering the fact that it was hosted by Sandoval County GOP and Alexis was a Republican Candidate for NM CD-3 which covers Sandoval County, and Dan Stoddard, who was in attendance that day is the NM CD-3 Republican Chair.
I spent a couple of days preparing signs for the float.
Alexis and I arrive at a Park near main street Belen at 4:30, as we were instructed, and spent maybe 20 minutes waiting, then GOP people begin to trickle in, such as Leslie White, Michelle Garcia Holmes, but there was no float to be found.
After a couple of hours, floats began lining up near us, but we still didn’t know where the float was. Finally after dark, we were told that the float was “in line” — at the end of the line, so we walked across a field to arrive where the Float was, and it turns out that Dan Stoddard and other members of the Sandoval County GOP had spent the previous couple of hours putting signs on the float. At first we were instructed we couldn’t put Alexis’ signs on the float which I had made and brought to this event. They end up relinquishing and letting us put Alexis Johnson 2020 sign on the float, but tell us that we can’t ride on the float that we have to walk. Alexis had brought her young children and walking the parade route would have been difficult, so we decided she would just stay at the sidelines of the parade and I would walk holding her sign.
As the parade began, a group of us who were walking headed to the main street where the Parade began. I walked behind the Trump Victory Float holding Alexis’ sign. Something that I noticed while doing this event, which was surprising to me at the time and helped me to realize how many people actually like Trump, was the fact that I only heard 2 or 3 “boos” during the event, out of thousands of people.
When we were nearing the end of the parade, I noticed on the float that they had removed Alexis’ sign at some point before the parade started, when we were crossing the field.
When the parade was over, the group of us who were walking including Dan Stoddard, Lawrence Griego, and a few others then walked back the parade route to arrive at the start of the parade where each of us had parked.
It wasn’t until much later that the full impact of the deliberate actions taken and how the “good ole boys” network really works. This experience showed me the competition / methods for resources, and that resource is public attention. The competitiveness and competitive environment exists even at a holiday float in Bernalillo, NM a year before the 2020 elections.
I would continue to take this lesson with me and other experiences as well, such as when a fellow Republican campaign wouldn’t allow us to put a flyer on their table at a gun show, and come to find out it wasn’t even their table, it was a different Republican candidates. This is the true ‘Grind’ of running for a political office, starting out in the beginning, fighting for relevancy, such as real estate on a Sandoval County Float during the 2019 Bernalillo Twinkle Light Parade.