NMAG and SOS issue warning amid election misinformation campaigns

As New Mexico’s counties begin certifying vote totals in the 2022 Midterm election, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Attorney General Hector Balderas issued a joint statement on Nov. 15 that warned of possible disruptions to the election certification process during county commission meetings. “This week, New Mexico’s county commissions are playing their vital role in the administration of our elections by performing their legal duties as the county canvassing boards in their respective counties,” the statement said. “The ‘canvass’ is the process of reconciling and confirming the accuracy of the election results and reporting those results to the county and then to the state. Under the law, these county boards support the county clerk in the canvass of the election and are mainly responsible for ensuring the timely certification of the county clerk’s report of canvass.

Deputy Otero County Clerk Denise Guerra and a poll worker do election night work on November 8, 2022 at the Otero County Clerk's Office in Alamogordo.

Two recounts coming in state House races, congressional race outside recount threshold

The 2nd Congressional District race between Republican incumbent Yvette Herrell and Democratic challenger Gabe Vasquez is still too close to call with both candidates having 50 percent of the vote. Two state House seats, meanwhile, appear poised to trigger automatic recounts. Vasquez has 96,253 votes in his favor and Herrell has 95,238 votes in her favor, a margin of 1,025 votes for Vasquez, according to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office election results page. 

“These are unofficial results- that’s important to know- they don’t become official until the state canvassing board meets and certifies them on Nov. 29,” New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office spokesman Alex Curtas said. “Only then will we know whether or not the result is within the margin to trigger an automatic recount.”

The margin to activate an automatic recount is one quarter of one percent of the vote total.

A "Vote Here" sign at the Otero County Fairgrounds in Alamogordo.

Democrats win state treasurer, auditor and commissioner of public lands

Democrats swept the down-ballot statewide races, with candidates winning treasurer, auditor and commissioner of public lands. The closest race was for state treasurer, with Democratic candidate Laura Montoya thanking supporters and giving a short victory speech shortly after 9:30 p.m.

As of 10 p.m., unofficial results showed her leading with 53 percent of the votes. Montoya was running against Republican Harry Montoya, who is a former Democrat, in the open race for state treasurer. The most distance was in the race for state auditor, which was also an open race without an incumbent. The Republican Party did not nominate a candidate, but that didn’t mean Democratic nominee Joseph Maestas could sail to victory without any opposition.

Stansbury defeats Garcia Holmes in 1st Congressional District race

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury, a Democrat, won a full term after defeating Republican challenger Michelle Garcia Holmes. 

The Associated Press called the race for Stansbury shortly before 9:30 p.m. Unofficial results from the New Mexico Secretary of State’s website had her leading with 59 percent of the votes as of 9:40 p.m.

Bernalillo County voters handed Stansbury a large lead over Garcia Holmes, who in 2018 ran for lieutenant governor. Garcia Holmes received strong support from conservative parts of the district including Otero, Chaves and De Baca counties. These areas were all added to the district during the most recent round of redistricting. Stansbury won a special election to represent New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District in 2021 following former Rep. Deb Haaland’s appointment as Secretary of the Interior. Prior to serving as a congresswoman, Stansbury was a member of the state’s House of Representatives.

Leger Fernández said her to-do list includes addressing inflation and increasing manufacturing not only in the United States but also in New Mexico.

In a rematch of the 2020 election, U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández once again defeated Republican Alexis Martinez Johnson to represent New Mexico’s Third Congressional District. Leger Fernández took the stage around 9:10 p.m. for her victory speech. The Associated Press called the race at 8:51 p.m.

In 2020, Leger Fernández won 59 percent of the votes compared to Martinez Johnson’s 41 percent. However, redistricting brought more conservative areas into the district, including parts of Eddy, Lea and Chaves counties. At about 9:30 p.m., unofficial results showed Leger Fernández leading with 55 percent of the votes.

FiveThirtyEight predicts Lujan Grisham, Herrell favored to win reelection

The two biggest races in the 2022 General Election are the governor’s race and Congressional District 2. Poll analysis website FiveThirtyEight predicts that incumbents Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, a Republican, will win reelection Nov. 8. FiveThirtyEight has an election breakdown of when to expect election results and a forecasting model that shows based on polls how contenders may do once ballots are counted. The Deluxe version “simulates the election 40,000 times to see who wins most often,” Nathaniel Rakich and Elena Mejía say in the FiveThirtyEight project.

President Joe Biden speaks at a New Mexico Democratic rally November 3, 2022.

Biden stumps for Lujan Grisham in ABQ stop

Five days ahead of Election Day, President Joe Biden visited Albuquerque in a stump stop for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s re-election. The visit came during the New Mexico Democratic Party rally at the Ted M. Gallegos Community Center in Albuquerque and amid an extremely close race against Republican nominee Mark Ronchetti. “I tell you what, that governor, she’s something else, isn’t she?” Biden said, referring to Lujan Grisham who spoke before him at the rally. “She’s the real deal.”

Lujan Grisham entered the stage to cheers of “MLG! MLG!” by the crowd of about 300 people at the venue.

Trump endorses Ronchetti, Biden to campaign for Lujan Grisham

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Ronchetti on a social media account this week. “(Ronchetti) will be tough & smart on Crime, the Border and everything else!” the post stated. 

“Mark is supported by people from all walks of life and all different viewpoints – including Democratic sheriffs, former Libertarian presidential candidate and New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and now former President Trump,” Ronchetti campaign spokesman Ryan Sabel said. 

The statement included some statements about New Mexico during Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s term as governor. “With crime at record levels and just 1 in 5 students learning at grade level, it’s not hard to see that, as governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham has made things worse and New Mexico needs to go in a different – and better – direction,” Sabel said. Lujan Grisham reacted to the Trump endorsement with a statement of her own. “Donald Trump’s endorsement of Mark Ronchetti emphasizes the clear choice in this race: I will keep delivering on the issues that matter to New Mexico families, while Mark Ronchetti would bring Donald Trump’s extreme national Republican policies to New Mexico,” the incumbent said.

"Vote Here" signs in front of the Otero County Administration Building on New York Avenue in Alamogordo.

From counting to consequences: Your guide to how ballots are counted and what happens if a county refuses to certify an election

After a year that included a southern New Mexico county commission refusing to certify a primary election, misinformation about New Mexico’s election security and how it has affected voter turnout, the Secretary of State’s Office and county clerks are ready for Election Day next week. “(The New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office) is feeling good about it, no reports of anything bad happening as far as we know,” New Mexico Secretary of State spokesman Alex Curtas said. “It seems people are voting easily and without disruption we’re getting pretty good turnout numbers… I wouldn’t be surprised if we got upwards of 60 percent for total turnout when all is said and done.”

On election night on Nov. 8, votes will be counted after the polls close at 7 p.m.

These include the absentee ballots which begin being processed (separated from the envelopes and shuffled to preserve voter anonymity) prior to election night. The absentee ballots are not run through machines until after polls close on Nov.

Poll: Narrow lead for Lujan Grisham in gubernatorial race

A poll released on Monday showed a closer race than two other polls released earlier in the week. The poll, conducted by Emerson College Polling for the Washington D.C. paper The Hill, showed incumbent Gov. Lujan Grisham leading her Republican opponent Mark Ronchetti narrowly, 49 percent to 46 percent among likely voters, with 1 percent backing Libertarian nominee Karen Bedonie. When undecided voters were pushed, the race further tightened with Lujan Grisham’s lead narrowing to 50 percent to 48 percent. Lujan Grisham holds a large lead among those who said they already voted, 59 percent to 39.5 percent. Ronchetti, meanwhile, leads among those who said they were very likely to vote, 48.4 percent to 44.8 percent.