Deb Haaland poses for a portrait in a Nob Hill Neighborhood in Albuquerque, N.M.
Juan Labreche—AP/REX/Shutterstock
By McKenna Moore
June 7, 2018

Deb Haaland, a Native American lawyer, single mother, former Democratic party chairperson and Obama campaign worker, has won the Democratic primary in New Mexico’s first congressional district. The district is thoroughly blue, so she will likely win the seat in November, making her the first Native American woman to ever serve in Congress.

If Haaland wins, she will join the two registered Native Americans serving in Congress, Tom Cole and Markwayne Mullins. Haaland is an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo, one of the 23 tribes federally recognized in New Mexico. Since the first Congress met in 1789, more than 10,000 people have served in the house and more than 1,300 have served in the Senate, yet Haaland would be the first Native American woman if she won.

Haaland called her win a victory for women, working people and “anyone who had been sidelined by the billionaire class,” in a tweet on Tuesday night. She also wrote that President Trump should consider her win “a warning shot.”

Haaland leans progressive within the Democratic Party. She has vocally supported universal healthcare, abortion rights and the defunding or elimination of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE). Haaland has also said that she is in favor of the protection and expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and against the building of President Trump’s proposed wall between the United States and Mexico.

She is also one of more than 300 women registered to run for seats in the male-dominated U.S. House this year. In the current 115th session of Congress, fewer than 20% of those serving are women.

Haaland beat out former U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez and former University of New Mexico law professor Antoinette Sedillo Lopez with a 40% majority of the votes. Haaland will now face the uncontested GOP candidate Janice Arnold-Jones in the November general election.

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