Finding Momentum at the Right Time: Michelle Lujan Grisham


New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, after decades of Republican domination, has become a solidly Democratic district. The district had not elected a Democrat to Congress until 2008 when Martin Heinrich was elected, and in 2012 when Heinrich vacated his seat to run for Senate the stage was set for a hotly contested Democratic primary that would likely determine the general election.

Lujan Grisham was quickly viewed as the underdog in the three-way battle for the Democratic nomination, and she sought the advice of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner to help her navigate this complex and daunting election. While her opponents were simultaneously discounting Lujan Grisham as a candidate and vilifying each other, Lujan Grisham introduced herself to the voters as a champion of the middle class, access to health care and women’s rights. Her personal story of overcoming struggle and experience resonated with many voters in the community.

Led by GQR Senior Vice President Anna Greenberg, who directed the polling and served as a key strategic adviser to the Lujan Grisham campaign, we helped design a research-based tactical and message strategy, guiding Lujan Grisham through the primary by seizing the momentum at the exact right time.

After surging to victory at the last minute in a tough three way primary in June, Lujan Grisham won 59 percent of the vote in the general election in a district long considered a top target for both Democrats and Republicans.