New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District isn’t the safe territory it used to be for Republicans, according to election handicappers. Most experts have put the Republican stronghold in the “Likely Republican” category. This is both because of the national environment—there are many more competitive Republican seats compared to Democratic seats—and the fact that the incumbent is not running for reelection. U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce is instead running for governor. The Cook Political Report offers the most aggressive prediction.
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of Nambe is going to be a key figure for Democrats in the next election cycle. That’s because he’s the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. As such, he’s tasked with aiding Democrats in their pursuit of retaking the U.S. House of Representatives—and while he won’t say if he’s confident Democrats will do so in the 2018 midterms, he says they will pick up seats. Luján said this while taping an episode of C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” show to air this weekend, according to Roll Call. “It’s too early to know what’s going to happen in November of 2018, but I can tell you Democrats in the House are on offensive, and there’s no question that we will pick up seats in 2018,” he said according to the paper.
In the current permanent campaign cycle, the most important election is always the next election. And with Ben Ray Luján as the new head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, an organization tasked with electing Democrats to the U.S. House of Representatives, New Mexico will have a figure at the center of the next elections. The DCCC and Democratic Policy and Communications Committee have given a preview of what the next few weeks will look like, as Congress goes on its annual August recess. The Democrats are looking to retake the House or at least start to bridge the gap with the Republican majority. According to Roll Call, there will be a good cop/bad cop routine by the Democrats in the coming weeks with the DCCC, and Luján as the head, as the bad cop.