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Every State. Every race. Right here.

This is number 21 in a planned series of 50 entries between now and November, looking at each of the 50 states in terms of every race on that state's ticket--Presidential, Gubernatorial, Senate, House, State legislatures--the whole enchilada! Special attention paid to identifying and promoting the most important contests per state.

Today, we will explore a wonderful, wonderful state with perhaps the best election prospects of them all—NEW MEXICO!!

New Mexico is the bluest state of the Rocky Mountain Eight, voting Democratic in three of the last four elections and only narrowly missing the last.  It is also the only state (so far) with a latino majority. Democrats do well in most of the urban centers, including the Albuquerque area, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Los Alamos, and the lovely progressive oasis of Taos, as well as the thinly populated southwest corner, and the indian reservations.  Republicans do their best in the Southeastern "Little Texas" region (Roswell, Clovis, Carlsbad), and in the northwest corner, where Farmington is.

Democrats hold virtually every statewide office, and by rights should have a five of five congressional delegation. In practice, the state has been stuck with one Republican Senator, a holdover from a different political era who has been re-elected out of force of habit, and too many Democrats concentrated into the 3rd Congressional district, leaving the 2nd leaning Republican and the 1st as a major battleground where the Republican has managed to come out on top, but with ever narrower margins.

There are also shameful allegations (most prominently brought forth in Greg Palast's book Armed Madhouse) of latino voter suppression by the Democratic party, even at its own expense. The theory is that Bill Richardson's machine went out of its way to stop those progressive New Mexicans from voting in legislators who would challenge his agenda from the left, and perhaps allowed local Republicans in Little Texas to suppress Democratic turnout there as part of a plan to minimize the importance of Little Texas as a whole--possibly resulting in Kerry's stunning failure to carry the state for the first time since 1988.  Palast's allegation almost defies credibility, and he may well be full of it, but it would explain the crazy 2004 results. Read some more about it here:

BLOGS:  LP’s innovative blog FBIHOP has its hands full covering New Mexico politics, but does the job well.

PRESIDENT: Likely Obama. Kerry managed to lose here in 2004, and it’s near McAncient’s home state of Arizona, and everyone says latinos might not vote for Obama, and so that MUST be true, so I’m not going to put it in the absolutely safe Obama column yet, but all the polling since the caucuses started it all here in January indicate that the Land of Enchantment is Obama’s to lose.  In fact, I see mutual coattails in which Obama, Udall and the House candidates coordinate as a team and help each other.

SENATE :  The question is not whether Tom Udall will be elected to replace retiring Gooper "Pajama Pete" Domenici (for a decade the last and only major Republican elected statewide in NM), but how big his margin of victory will be. Udall is second only to the Mark Warner juggernaut in Virginia in the most likely senate pickup category.  As he should, he is focused on the joint Team Democrat operation, helping Heinrich, Teague and Lujan in the downticket contests, and Obama at the top.

GOVERNOR AND OTHER STATEWIDE: None in 2008.  Democratic rock star Bill Richardson deserves a nod. He’ll be term limited in 2010, and we wait to see whether he’ll get an Obama cabinet post or bid to replace Jeff Bingaman (said to be interested in retirement in 2012) in the Senate.  Lt. Gov. Diane Denish will be the leading candidate to replace Richardson—and to help run the table on redistricting. All other statewide offices except the Public Lands Commissioner are currently held by Democrats.  New Mexico is a solid blue state!

STATE LEGISLATURE: New Mexico Democrats hold a 42-28 majority in the lower house, and 24-18 in the Senate.  In each house, four more flips to the Democrats would expand the majority to a whopping two to one. New Mexico is a solid blue state!

The Wikipedia legislative maps don’t offer closeups of the population centers, but here they are. I was surprised that there weren’t several vast sprawling districts with few people.


District 1—Martin Heinrich (D) v. Darrin White (R) Leans Dem. This one is on everybody’s radar, as it is a Dem-leaning district in a Dem-leaning state that almost went blue in 2006 with a Republican incumbent.  Now the seat is open, with two rock stars (Obama and Udall) upticket, with our candidate as one of the hottest men this side of Scott Kleeb. Check out his site:

And here is a recent FBIHOP post detailing why Heinrich’s online game is several cuts above average:

In fact, that pretty much says what there is to say.  Heinrich has an edge here, but not an overwhelming one, and his opponent is a rare recruiting success for the GOP in that they have someone who is not an actual embarrassment.  Go show Heinrich some love. Do it. Now.

District 2—Harry Teague (D) v. Edward Tinsley (R). OK, I’m calling this THE BIG ONE for New Mexico 2008, bypassing the 1st and the Senate race. I think the Senate race is already in the bag, and although the 1st could still go either way, I see 2008 as our big chance for a clean sweep in a wave year, and I figure the 2nd will be harder to take another year if we don’t take it now.  Therefore, given a choice, I’d rather see the 2nd come into our hands than the 1st—although Heinrich is great, and I REALLY want to see New Mexico get it all!  (besides which, Teague and NM-02 are more in need of attention, as the others are getting a LOT of it without my help)

The district is nominally red, with a R +6 PVI, so we have our work cut out for us, but the district is winnable nonetheless.

Teague is a good fit for the district. He’s a popular former county commissioner from Lea County, in the SE "Little Texas" corner of the district, which means he starts out electable in the Republican center of strength. It’s hard to see how he’d do worse in the western, Democratic end.  His opponent is a "restaurant owner" with no political experience beyond running for the district and losing a few years back.

There are ten US House Districts that border Mexico—this one, 5 in Texas, and two each in California and Arizona.  Of those ten, NM-02 is the ONLY one not now represented by a Democrat. It sticks out like a sore thumb. I say, let’s change it! Flip that sucker blue!

District 3— Ben Lujan (D) v. Daniel East (R).  The third open seat in New Mexico is the most Democratic. Lujan’s website is still mostly under construction, but this remains a safe seat for the Democratic party.

REDISTRICTING NEW MEXICO:  The 3rd district has more Democrats than it needs, and the 2nd doesn’t have enough. The 1st could use a few more, but the imperative is to make the 2nd at least light blue.

The key is to split "Little Texas", the only red leaning part of the state.  The current 3rd goes as far as Curry and Roosevelt Counties (Clovis). Come 2011, they should go one step further and add EITHER neighboring Chavez County (Roswell) directly to the west OR Eddy and Lea (Carlsbad, Hobbs) to the South.  My preference is the latter, but reasonable people can differ.  

The new 2nd can pick up new land to compensate from the bluer northwest corner (Mckinley and San Juan counties, and possibly some of Sandoval and Los Alamos).  In fact, adding Los Alamos might well be just what we need to make the 2nd blue.

The end result would not make either of those two districts more sprawling, but would make the divide between them N-S instead of E-W, with the 3rd on the east and the 2nd on the west.

If the 3rd takes a lot of red territory from Little Texas, it should probably keep both Santa Fe and Taos to stay safe. If it can lose some and still stay at least D+5 PVI, I would sooner put some of Santa Fe into the 1st and give the 2nd some blue territory from the Albuquerque area.  

Assuming Heinrich takes the 1st and holds it in 2010, then the 1st should stay as is to the extent possible.

Previous diaries in this series:




Texas, Part One:

Texas, Part Two:



North Carolina:






North Dakota:


California, Part one:

California, Part two:






Originally posted to AdmiralNaismith on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 07:37 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips, Recs and Santa Fe Burritos (23+ / 0-)

    Fun fact: I haven’t yet covered half the states, but I have done enough of the big ones that this entry marks the 218th Congressional District in the series, and so I’m past the halfway point in terms of population.

    "...And I woulda got away with it, if it hadn't been for that meddling Kos!" ---attributed to Tom DeLay

    by AdmiralNaismith on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 07:38:04 AM PDT

  •  Udall is scheduled to be in Southern New Mexico (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdmiralNaismith, BigOkie, kurt, camlbacker

    on the 28th. (tenative).

    The event here will NOT be a fundraiser, rather a social gathering for individuals to meet Representative Udall and to ask questions.

    Anyone bloggers interested in attending should keep their eyes open for final arrangements.

    Its the delegates that count

    by Morgan Sandlin on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 07:43:40 AM PDT

  •  And you forgot to add (5+ / 0-)

    Heather Wilson lost her bid in the primary for senate.


  •  Gerrymandering is bad (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Morgan Sandlin

    This column is otherwise excellent, but it disturbs me that you speak positively of using political affiliation as a criterion for redistricting. Gerrymandering is an example of corruption, and an illustration of the quote "Democracy is the tyranny of the majority".

    Election 2008: YouTube versus feeding tube

    by SeattleDanny on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 08:23:01 AM PDT

    •  Disagreed. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Here's what I said in my California redistricting diary:

      What? You say you think gerrymandering unseemly and poor sportsmanship? Then get behind this plan! If we wave it, and similar redistricting plans for IL, NY, NJ, and other states where we have the power, that and only that will persuade the Republicans to come to the table and un-gerrymander Texas, Florida, Michigan, and the other states where they’ve clobbered us!  Otherwise, we either use ALL the tools at our disposal, or we let only the bad guys use those tools to hurt us. What’s it gonna be? If we don’t even stick up for ourselves against the fucktards, why should the voters think we’ll stick up for America against its enemies?

      We MUST aggressively redistrict, so that the REPUBLICANS decide it is bad and stop doing it themselves.

      "...And I woulda got away with it, if it hadn't been for that meddling Kos!" ---attributed to Tom DeLay

      by AdmiralNaismith on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 10:16:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thanks for doing all this work on each of the states. This will be a handy resource.

  • (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdmiralNaismith, Nellcote, pucklady

    I'm not very experienced referencing other diaries but this was posted here and on Native American Netroots. Sorry if this isn't done correctly... Formed To Help Voter Registration (+)
    by: EricAZ    
    Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 09:57:10 AM PDT

    The White Mountain Apache Reservation is half the size of Connecticut with 10 registered Democrats for every one Republican. A key to winning AZ-01 is to increase the voter registration and turnout of Native Americans on the Apache Reservation and other reservations in the sprawling district. has been formed to help fulfill this important mission. Our step-by-step plan is here. To contribute, please follow this link.. If you only have a moment to post a comment, it would really help to seed our blogs.

    We would appreciate feedback from the community on our plan, on how to reach fund-raising sources and how to coordinate with other voter registration groups.  

    EricAZ :: Formed To Help Voter Registration

    AZ-01 has been identified as the third most likely district in the nation to fall to the Democrats. The current Congressman, Rick Renzi, will go on trial for corruption and stupidity in October. The Republicans have failed to recruit a good candidate -- leaving them with a wacko who is even too far right to fit in at a wingnut convention.

    Please give us your thoughts on successfully running a voter registration/voter turnout effort. Of course, every day we make McCain spend in Arizona is a day he is not spending in Virginia.

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