President Donald Trump is competing for New Mexico’s five electoral college votes after losing the state to Hillary Clinton by 8 percentage points in 2016, while Libertarian Gary Johnson took 9% of ballots. The state last sided with a Republican presidential candidate in 2004.
Six-term U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of Nambe is vying as the Democratic nominee in the race to fill the open U.S. Senate seat vacated by retiring Sen. Tom Udall. Luján confronts former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti of Albuquerque, who won the Republican nomination over anti-abortion activist Elisa Martinez.
The son of a former New Mexico House speaker, Luján has climbed to the No. 4 leadership post among House Democrats during a 12-year career in Congress. He commands a fundraising advantage over Ronchetti, a first-time political candidate with widespread name recognition in New Mexico’s largest metro area. New Mexico has backed only Democrats for U.S. Senate since the final re-election of Pete Domenici in 2002.
New Mexico is choosing from an all-female ballot in its three U.S. House races. The southern 2nd Congressional District presents a rematch between first-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small of Las Cruces and former Republican state Rep. Yvette Herrell of Alamogordo. Small, an attorney, won the 2018 race by about 3,700 votes. Trump outperformed Clinton in the district in 2016.
Santa Fe-based attorney Teresa Leger Fernandez is competing as the Democratic nominee in the 3rd Congressional District against Republican engineer Alexis Johnson, as Luján surrenders the seat. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2-1 in the district that spans the north of the state, including more than a dozen indigenous pueblo communities and portions of the Navajo Nation.
In the 1st District encompassing Albuquerque, first-term Democratic Rep. Debra Haaland is seeking re-election against former police detective Michelle Garcia Holmes, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2018. Haaland was previously the chair of New Mexico’s Democratic Party.
Two state Supreme Court justices previously appointed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham are up for election to eight-year terms.
Incumbent Justice Shannon Bacon, a former state district judge from Albuquerque, is running against Republican challenger Ned Fuller, a Farmington-based county prosecutor and former Cabinet-level state official. Justice David Thomson is running against Republican attorney Kerry Morris of Albuquerque, a former Bernalillo County prosecutor. The sole Republican justice currently on the five-member court is scheduled to retire Dec. 1.
A statewide ballot measure will decide whether to transform the Public Regulation Commission that oversees electric utilities, pipeline safety and telecommunications from an elected, five-member board to a three-member commission appointed by the governor. Lujan Grisham and leading Democratic legislators have clashed with the commission over its handling of a landmark energy law. If the measure passes, the current publicly elected Public Regulation Commission would be phased out by January 2023.
All 112 seats in New Mexico’s House and Senate are up for election. Depending on the outcome of several close races, Democrats in the New Mexico Legislature could gain or lose key votes surrounding a host of issues the legislature hasn’t been able to pass in recent years, including legalizing recreational marijuana, a possible repeal of the state’s unenforced 1960’s era abortion ban and possible use of the state’s land-grant permanent fund dollars for early childhood education. KRQE Political Analyst Gabe Sanchez says the greatest chance for a shift in the balance of power lies in the New Mexico Senate, where several Democrat and Republican positions could flip to the other party.
Participation in early and absentee voting prior to Election Day surpassed 770,000 on Sunday – nearly exceeding the entire ballot tally in of 804,00 in 2016, according to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office. Registered Democrats favored absentee balloting and accounted for 48.8% of votes as of Sunday, while Republicans cast 34.7% of the absentee votes. New Mexico has about 1.3 million registered voters.
Also, Election Day is coming amid surging daily coronavirus infections and deaths reported in New Mexico. The seven-day rolling average of daily new, confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen over the past two weeks from 517 new cases per day on Oct. 18 to 779 new cases daily on Sunday. Average daily death has more than doubled to nearly eight during the same period.
Polls will be open in every New Mexico county from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you still have your absentee ballot, drop it off at any polling place in your county.
In Bernalillo County, the 5th and Marquette location will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will be a drive-through absentee ballot drop-off opportunity. Voters can drive west on Marquette from 3rd street, stay in the left lane, and watch for signs and staff. Voters will be able to drop their absentee ballot into a dropbox through the window of their vehicle.
Need a ride to the poll?
ABQ Ride and Sun Van are waiving fares for Election Day. The free fares run from the beginning of service until the end of service that day. For more information on Transit’s free fares for Election Day, riders can call (505) 243-7433 (243-RIDE).
Uber is offering a 50% discount for rides to and from polling locations, up to $7 per ride. The company has already marked polling locations in their app and says discounts will automatically be applied for rides to and from those locations.
Lyft is offering half off the cost any one-way ride to a polling location totaling less than $10. The discount can be used for a car ride, bicycle, or scooter rental. To get this discount, enter “2020VOTE” into the discount section of your app.
Things to Keep an Eye on Nationally
The 2020 presidential election could be decided by a handful of states. CBS News polling has identified six “toss-up” states and seven more that are leaning toward one candidate but could still swing either way, as states to watch on Election Day.
13 battleground states to keep an eye on for the Presidency and U.S. Senate:
- North Carolina
- New Hampshire
When will we know the winner?
This is an impossible question to answer at this time because we don’t know how all the early voting will affect different states’ ability to report results quickly.