November 9, 2022

Dems poised to maintain state House lead

The seal of the state of New Mexico in the House

House Democrats will maintain their 45 seats in the state House to 25 for Republicans in the upcoming legislative session, with all precincts reporting, but a handful of votes still to count (provisional ballots and other ballots that require a hand tally).

Update (3:30 p.m.): After this was published, one race, HD-68, switched and the Democrat now leads by 30 votes. This story has been updated to reflec this.

This is after Democrats held a 45-24 edge over Republicans coming into the elections. One member was Decline to State, which means he did not affiliate with a political party.

That Decline to State member, Phelps Anderson, was the easiest pickup for Republicans in House District 66. Anderson was previously a Republican and represents a deep-red district in eastern New Mexico. But when he faced criticism from the state party after he voted to remove the state’s previous antiquated law that outlawed abortion, he left the party but remained in his seat. 

The previously unenforceable law could have gone into effect when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Republican Jimmy Mason had 81 percent of the vote over Libertarian Andrew Kennedy’s 19 percent in the Secretary of State’s unofficial results early Wednesday morning.

Another pickup would defeat a long-time Democratic seat in conservative territory, Candie Sweetser in House District 32. The southern New Mexico district includes portions of Doña Ana, Luna and Hidalgo counties. Republican Jenifer Marie Jones leads Sweetser by 49 votes, in the range of an automatic recount.

In the open House District 68 seat, previously held by Democrat Karen Bash, Democrat Charlotte Little leads Republican Robert Moss by just 30 votes. Before new Bernalillo County counted more votes, Moss led by 12 votes, showing how close the race is. The district includes Paradise Hills in parts of northwest Albuquerque in Bernalillo County.

In the open House District 23 seat in Sandoval County, Republican Alan Martinez leads Democrat Ramon Montaño by 8 percentage points. Democrat Daymon Ely, who previously represented House District 23, did not seek reelection.

One Republican incumbent, the longest-serving Republican in the House, is trailing. Jane Powdrell-Culbert, who has been in the state House since 2003, trails Democrat Kathleen Cates by 2 points and 236 votes as of early Wednesday morning.

Republicans criticized the redistricting in Powdrell-Culbert’s district during the last round of redistricting in 2021. 

Another Republican-held seat appears to go towards the Democrat, with Tara Jaramillo leading Republican Sandra Kay Hammack by two points in House District 38, the open race currently held by Republican Rebecca Dow. The district was severely changed in redistricting.

Dow left the seat to run for governor, where she won 15.5 percent of the vote in losing to Mark Ronchetti.

If the results hold, it would mean three Republicans win in a district currently held by a Democrat, one Republican wins in a district currently held by a Decline to State member and one Democrat wins in a Republican district.

Correction: Updated the potential makeup of the Legislature to 44 Democrats and 26 Republicans and added information on the HD-38 seat, which was not previously in this story.