Tuesday’s special election placed 42-year-old Democrat Melanie Stansbury, a second-term state representative, to the congressional seat previously held by Home Secretary Deb Haaland.
The election is a precursor to a handful of races to fill vacancies in Congress before the 2022 midterm elections. Democrats won a 219-211 majority in Congress before Tuesday’s vote in the first district. of the New Mexico Congress.
Stansbury won about 60% of the vote in a four-way race, giving a tough defeat to three-term Republican state senator Mark Moores.
Wednesday’s uncertified election results showed a 24.5 percentage point margin of victory for Stansbury, far greater than Haaland’s 16-point victory in 2020. That even surpassed Biden’s 23-point victory in New Mexico last year. .
Stansbury highlighted a working-class education at a public school in Albuquerque (his mother was a factor worker and crane operator) and embraced front-line Democratic initiatives on pandemic relief, infrastructure spending and interventions to curb climate change.
State Democratic Party officials say they used the special election to rebuild defense infrastructure and return to political events in person, taking into account the party’s narrow majority in Congress.
Stansbury took advantage of the fundraising campaigns by splitting the contributions with other Democratic politicians. Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, campaigned in New Mexico alongside Stansbury during the last week of early voting.
The Democratic effort reached out to voters 350,000 times in its largest field program for the district in more than a decade, said state party chair Jessica Velasquez.
“We know that we cannot afford to lose a single seat” in Congress, Velasquez said. “I think this race bodes well for Democrats to move forward. We’ve seen a lot more Democrats turn out to vote early, a lot of excitement, especially since we got back to holding some in-person events and frankly it’s been a great opportunity for us to continue building the Democratic infrastructure. ”
The Republicans had little to save from the disproportionate loss.
Moores focused on local concerns about Albuquerque’s crime rate over national politics, and criticized the delayed reopening of the economy in New Mexico as the pandemic wanes. The public safety mantra echoed Trump and his condemnation last year of crime rates in Democratic-led cities when he sent federal agents to Albuquerque.
Rod Adair, a demographer and political consultant who previously served as a Republican in the New Mexico State Senate, noted that the Republican candidate for Congress lost ground in the voting margins for each of the five counties represented in the 1st Congressional District. , compared to the 2020 votes..
He described a “dying” state Republican Party that failed to help a skilled Republican candidate and failed to link the economic distress of the pandemic to Democratic leadership in the White House and New Mexico governor’s office.
“The party was invisible,” Adair said of the Republican Party. “Nullifying all of this, New Mexico is migrating to the left, and we’ve seen it in the political demographics of the state and especially in” the 1st Congressional District.
Stanbury’s victory preserves an all-female House delegation to the state. The Republican representative of the United States, Yvette Herrell, last year expelled a Democrat in the conservative second congressional district in southern New Mexico.
The 1st Congressional District encompasses Albuquerque, rural Torrance County, and other outlying areas that include the Sandia Pueblo Indian community. Libertarian candidate Chris Manning won just over 1% of the vote Tuesday, and independent Aubrey Dunn Jr. got nearly 3%.
Voters in the district have greatly favored Democratic candidates in recent years. Before 2008, the district often backed Republicans for Congress, including Heather Wilson, who later became Secretary of the US Air Force under President Trump.
Democratic political consultant Sisto Abeyta says Democratic voters in the state remain highly reluctant to Trump’s policy that still overshadows Republican candidates.
“We are used to Pete Domenici’s Republicans,” Abeyta told KANW radio, referring to the six-term deceased US senator who retired in 2008. “The Republican brand just got wrapped up in the Trump brand, and they haven’t. “. t shaken loose from it. ”