5 things to watch in every state: New Mexico

Gary Johnson, the former Governor of the state, was initially running high on the idea that he could somehow win his state and somehow could force the Presidential election to the House of Representatives.  This is the dream of a number of people who like to get stoned and talk about politics without a real idea of what they are talking about.

  1. New Mexico State Senate District 9: Democrats hold a six seat advantage in the State Senate in New Mexico which is not a big enough advantage that they shouldn’t worry about keeping it.  It seems unlikely that Republicans will be able to take it back but one of the races to watch there is this district. Democrat John Sapien won re-election to this district in 2012 with 50.3% of the vote.  He won by 161 votes over Republican challenger David Doyle.  Sapien survived a primary challenge this year and is running, again, against a Republican challenger Diego Espinoza. Espinoza is trying to break into this small firewall of votes that Sapien seems to have.  I’ll be interested in watching whether or not Sapien is able to win by a larger margin.
  2. New Mexico State Senate District 15: Daniel Ivey-Soto has a little bit more breathing room than Sapien.  Ivey-Soto was able to win election in 2012 over his Republican opponent by a little less than 1,200 votes.  Ivey-Soto is facing a new challenger in 2016.  New Mexico is going to to be fairly competitive but Democrats should be motivated enough to give Ivey-Soto about the same margin that he had in 2012.
  3. New Mexico State House of Representatives, District 15: Republicans were able to take back the State house of Representatives after 60 year control of the chamber by Democrats.  Democrats are looking to take back the chamber, if they can.  One of the districts that they’re probably looking at is District 15.  Democrat Emily Kane won election in this district over Christopher Saucedo in 2012 by 314 votes.  In 2014, while Kane was running for re-election she faced Republican Sarah Maestras Barnes.  Maesstras Barnes was able to defeat Kaane’s re-election bid by 356 votes.  The new Democrat running in this district is Ane Romero hoping to make the type of gain that we see very often in Presidential years for the Democratic candidates.
  4. New Mexico State House of Representatives, District 24: Democrat Elizabeth Thomson was able to defeat Republican incumbent Conrad James by 78 votes.  All elections that were decided by less than 100 votes should be considered one of the closest elections in the country.  It did not take a great political prognosticator to predict that Thomson would lose to her Republican opponent.  Thomson faced James again in 2014 and she lost by 384 votes.  In 2016, it seems likely that Thomson could defeat the Republican candidate Christina Marie Hall in 2016.  But it will be a very close race, if 2012 is any indicator.
  5. New Mexico State House of Representatives, District 37: This was very close to being my favorite election to watch in 2016.  unfortunately, there was a mistake in describing the political party of the candidates. As it happens, though, this is still one of my favorite elections to watch.  In 2012, Republican Terry McMillan was able to hold onto his seat by 8 votes out of 12,526 votes cast.  8 total votes.  No matter how many times I see it, seeing elections decided by less than 10 votes makes me happy.  Democratic challenger Joanne Ferrary decided to challenge McMillan again in 2014.  She lost by 409 votes.  This is still a small amount to decide an election.  Ferrary has once again decided to challenge McMillan for 2016.  If 2012 is any indication, this wil be one of the closest elections in the country.
  6. New Mexico State House of Representatives, District 39: This is another district where Democrats are looking to take back what was once theirs.  Democratic incumbent Rodolfo Martinez was able to win re-election in 2012 by 430 votes. Trying to get re-election in 2014, Martinez faced Republican John Zimmerman in a rematch of 2012.  This time Zimmerman was able to win.  He beat Martinez by 344 votes.  In 2016, we will have our third straight election between Martinez and Zimmerman.  If Martinez does better in Presidential election years, like we think, then it seems like he will be able to take back the seat over Zimmerman.