November 4, 2020

Ben Ray Luján wins U.S. Senate race

Courtesy Photo

Ben Ray Luján

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján will soon move across the Capitol Building and become a U.S senator. 

The unofficial results as of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night, showed Luján with a five point lead in the U.S. Senate race against Republcian Mark Ronchetti, a former T.V. meteorologist. 

Just after the Associated Press called the race for Luján, he accepted the win in an online speech. 

“People here in New Mexico spoke loud and clear,” Lujan said. 

Luján touched on some of the planks he and other national Democrats have pushed this election season, such as healthcare that covers preexisting conditions and lowering prescription drug prices. He also hit local talking points like protecting national laboratories and military bases. 

Luján also invoked the names of local political leaders like his father, the late Ben Luján who was the long-time New Mexico Speaker of the House, the late Republican U.S. Senator Pete Dominici and current U.S. Senator Tom Udall. 

“They inspired generations and taught us how to bring people together, Luján said. 

Before Udall’s two terms in office, Dominici held the same Senate seat. 

When asked if Mark Ronchetti was available for an interview, his spokesman said, “Not at this time,” in a text message. 

Ronchetti said on social media that he called and congratulated Luján on his win.  

Ronchetti faced a handful of primary opponents and Luján was unopposed in the primary election. Since June, the two have traded attack ads, with Luján focusing on Ronchetti’s support for President Donald Trump and Ronchetti associating Luján with the U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Luján is currently the Assistant Speaker of the House. 

Luján raised significantly more campaign money than Ronchetti and outspent Ronchetti. 

Republican Chairman Steve Pearce was unavailable for comment before press time. 

Hours before the Senate race was called, but just after the Associated Press called New Mexico for Joe Biden, Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairwoman Marg Elliston told NM Political Report she was optimistic about Democratic turnout in New Mexico. 

“New Mexicans are just ready to elect leaders who put the interest of hardworking families first, by protecting our health care, and creating a more equitable economy,” Elliston said. 

As of Tuesday night, Luján had roughly 51 percent of the vote and Ronchetti had about 46 percent of the vote. A state law required poll workers to stop counting ballots at 11:00, to avoid fatigue and mistakes, so those numbers are likely to change as more votes are tallied.