Two election analysts say that New Mexico’s gubernatorial election is among the most-likely in the nation to switch parties.
Politico and The Washington Post each recently highlighted the top ten gubernatorial races to watch. New Mexico ranked second for Politico and first for the Post.
Incumbent governor Susana Martinez, a Republican, is term-limited and cannot run for a third consecutive term. She leaves office with low popularity and her party faces a headwind in the first general elections after the election of Donald Trump.
The Post noted that New Mexico voters favored Hillary Clinton by nearly 10 points. The race, the paper says, could very well come down to two U.S. Representatives—Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham and Republican Steve Pearce.
Pearce faces no competition in the Republican primary as of yet, while Lujan Grisham is joined by three other announced candidates.
Politico says the state is “trending blue with a large Hispanic population.” The paper also mentions Lujan Girsham as a “front-runner” in the Democratic primary.
The online outlet says Democrats consider the seat “one of their best gubernatorial pickup opportunities in 2018.”
Each of New Mexico’s last three governors have served two terms, and alternated parties, from Republican Gary Johnson to Democrat Bill Richardson and then back to the Republican Party with Martinez.
Republicans have had a lot of electoral success when it comes to governors in the last eight years.
Nationwide, Republicans hold 26 seats that are up for election this year, while Democrats hold just nine. Last year, Democrats held the governor’s mansion in Virginia, while flipping it in New Jersey, perhaps presaging a better 2018 for the party.