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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Voters Give Martinez Win Plus New Legislative Allies; Heinrich Passes Barela; Herrera Ousted As SOS; Race By Race Analysis Of Election 2010 

(Journal)
New Mexico voters not only gave Susana Martinez a solid win over Diane Denish--53.4 to 46.3 as of early this morning--they also greased the governmental skids for her by adding eight Republicans to the state House and sacking Democratic Secretary of State Mary Herrera.

Bernalillo County results here. Statewide and county-by-county results here. Video of Martinez victory speech here. Speech transcript here. ABQ Journal slideshow here.

The results immediately called into question the philosophical direction of Santa Fe and set off speculation about possible power struggles in the 70 member state House which now goes from 45 Dems and 25 R's to 37 Dems and 33 R's.

The newly conservative hue of the lower chamber now closely resembles the state Senate where a coalition of Republicans and conservative Dems hold sway.

A bloody budget battle to address a $260 million deficit and probably more may still be in the cards, but Martinez's ability to manage it was given a major boost by an electorate hungry for the change that she promised.

The ousting of Herrera by Republican Dianna Duran puts the SOS office in the hands of the R's for the first time since 1930's. But besides the historical implication, the office plays a role in redistricting of the legislature and congressional seats. That will be undertaken in late 2011 and Martinez's hand is strengthened with Duran at the helm.

DEMS CONSOLATION

Win or lose, Democrats love to party and they didn't have to make up a reason to pop the champagne open around 11 p.m. Election Night. ABQ Congressman Martin Heinrich managed a hard-fought re-election win against Republican Jon Barela. When all was said, Heinrich came in with a margin of about 51.6 to 48.4. With Richardson and Denish gone, he now climbs further up the state political ladder. Video of his speech is here.

Heinrich noted that the district he took in 2008 had been previously held for 40 years by Republicans. He was the first to take it two years ago and he is the first Dem to win re-election to it.

As expected, Steve Pearce reclaimed the southern House seat he held before giving it up to run for the US Senate in 2008. He handily defeated Dem US Rep. Harry Teague inching closer to 56 percent of the vote to Harry's 44%.

Up North, Ben Ray Lujan will go back to Washington for a second US House term. He beat back Republican Tom Mullins 56.6 to 43.4. He would have liked it higher, but in this anti-incumbent atmosphere, it was a good performance. Mullins didn't hurt himself any and if the tea party movement has any legs, we could see him running with it.

More on the Governor and congressional races below...

DURAN DID IT

How about that Dianne Duran performance? The Republican candidate for SOS came up the largest vote total of any statewide candidate in a competitive race--including Susana Martinez! The Alamogordo area state Senator was scoring 57.7 percent of the vote against Herrera. Martinez in early morning returns was running at 53.4 percent.

Herrera was engulfed in a number of ethics controversies that caused her downfall. But analysts on our KANW-FM radio broadcast Election Night said it was opposition from county clerks outside of ABQ that really helped do her in. They made sure negative news about the SOS that might have been confined to the ABQ media market spread far and wide.

GARY IS KING

Attorney General Gary King immediately becomes a possible 2012 Dem Guv nominee as a result of his re-election win over Republican Matt Chandler. King, 55, was being held to 53.5 percent to Chandler's 46.5 percent. He would have liked 55%, but Chandler mounted an aggressive and well-executed negative campaign against King. Chandler, 34, may have opened up any number of opportunities for himself within the state GOP.

BALDERAS AND LEWIS

State Auditor Hector Balderas and State Treasurer James Lewis were both looking for bragging rights over who led the Democratic ticket in this difficult year. Balderas was a re-elected to a second four year term and was running at 55% over R foe Errol Chavez. But Lewis was getting 55.2 percent. The final vote canvass may have to settle that one.

The closest Election Night contest wasn't between candidates. It was over Higher Education Bond D which was winning by only two-tenths of a percent--50.1% to 49.9%. Did bad publicity out of the University of New Mexico in recent months hurt?

POWELL VS. RUSH

Former Democratic Land Commissioner Ray Powell is back. He beat back a challenge from Republican Matt Rush 52.2 to 47.8. That was close because Powell did no TV. Rush did.

INSIDE THE RACES

We collaborated with veteran GOP analyst Bruce Donisthorpe in putting together for you analysis of all the major races. First, the Governor:

Martinez won 25 of the state’s 33 counties, and helped Republican legislators pick up eight new seats in the State House. She rolled up big victories in the South and Eastern counties by gathering over 70% of the vote in Chaves, Eddy, Lea, Curry, Roosevelt and Lincoln. In the Northwest, Martinez captured 69% of the vote in San Juan County.

With the big Republican Party counties in the bag, all Martinez had to do was to run competitively in the Albuquerque Metro area, which she did by winning Bernalillo County (51%-49%), Valencia County (60%-40%), Sandoval County (57%-43%) and Torrance County (67%-33%). Her outstanding performance in the Albuquerque suburbs dragged in five GOP legislative seats in the Duke City region.

Martinez took her home county (Dona Ana) by a 52%-48% margin, while Denish captured Grant, McKinley and Cibola counties. Perhaps the biggest frustration for the Denish campaign was the inability to gain traction outside of the Northern Hispanic Counties. However, Denish’s margin in the North was curtailed by the Martinez campaign’s ability to attract Hispanic supporters

Denish’s largest victory was in Taos County, where she captured 71% of the vote. In Santa Fe County, Denish won with 69% of the vote. However, Martinez cut into Denish’s margin in the North by running competitively in Rio Arriba, San Miguel and Mora counties with over 40% of the vote. As we said, Martinez's Hispanic background showed its deep appeal.

HEINRICH VS. BARELA

Incumbent Democratic Representative Martin Heinrich showed voters why elections (and not polls) matter by winning the race in a classic election-day fashion.

Though Republican Jon Barela won the Bernalillo County absentee/mail ballots by 2,100 votes, Heinrich took the Early In-Person voting by a margin of 3,100 votes, giving him a 1,000 vote advantage in the County heading into the election day precinct vote count, which often favors Democratic candidates. And this time it was no different as Heinrich won the in-person election day ballots by a margin of almost 9,000 votes giving him an insurmountable lead for Barela to overcome in the suburbs.

Barela had healthy wins in Torrance and Santa Fe County precincts that are in the district, but it wasn’t enough to close the gap as Heinrich was re-elected with 51.6% of the vote and a 6,800 vote margin over his Republican challenger.

TEAGUE VS. PEARCE

Incumbent Congressman Harry Teague was elected in 2008 with an outstanding performance in Dona Ana County and strong campaigns in Southeast New Mexico. Challenger Steve Pearce made it clear early in the evening that if Teague was going to be re-elected, he needed to look for votes in the western side of the district as he piled up large majorities in Otero, Lincoln, Chaves, Eddy and Lea counties. Pearce won the east-side counties by a margin of 25-thousand votes. That was more than enough to overcome Teague’s 5,800 vote win in Dona Ana County and his 1161 vote win in Grant County. Pearce piled on by winning Valencia County by over 1100 votes and ran his total numbers to almost 56% of the vote--the exact same margin Teague won by 2 years ago.

LUJAN VS. MULLINS

Home to one of the most Democratic voting districts in the nation, the 3rd congressional district again showed why Republicans may never take this seat in a general election--even in a Republican year! Incumbent Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, Jr. was re-elected with 57% of the vote by securing huge majorities the Northern Hispanic counties, where he won by over 33-thousand votes. Lujan also ran strong in McKinley County, winning by over 7,500 votes.

The Republican challenger--Tom Mullins--ran strong in his home county (San Juan) where he won almost 2/3 of the vote and defeated the Congressman by almost 11,000 thousand votes. Mullins also ran strong on the East side counties, winning Roosevelt, Curry, Quay and Union counties by comfortable margins. Mullins also won in Sandoval and Los Alamos counties.

STATE HOUSE RACES

Republicans picked up eight seats in the New Mexico State House of Representatives, which included 5 new seats in the Duke City suburbs, where Gov.-elect Martinez won by strong margins. Republican re-captured two state house seats lost in the 2008 Obama tidal wave--District 23, held by Ben Rodefer (D-Corrales) who was defeated by David Doyle by a 54%-46% margin; and in District 30, held by Karen Gianinni (D-Albuquerque) who was defeated by Nate Gentry, by a 58%-42% edge.

In Sandoval County, incumbent Rep. Jack Thomas (D-Rio Rancho) lost to Republican challenger Tim Lewis by a 61%-39% margin.

In Valencia County, Republicans picked up two Democratic seats as David Chavez defeated Andrew Barreras in District 7, by a 54%-46% tally, while Alonzo Baldonado defeated Julian Luna by a 54%-46% margin.

In Dona Ana County, District 37 GOP challenger Terry McMillan defeated Dem incumbent Jeff Steinborn by a 52%-48% edge, while District 53 Republican challenger Ricky Little defeated Dem incumbent Nathan Cote by a 53%-47% margin. And, in Eddy County, long-term District 55 Dem incumbent John Heaton was defeated by GOP challenger Cathryn Brown, 52%-48%.

Republican incumbents dodged two bullets aimed by the D's at Jeanette Wallace (Los Alamos, Santa Fe) who won with 51% of the vote; and Chaves County State Rep. Candy Ezzell who was easily re-elected with 65% of the vote. Republicans came close to defeating Albuquerque North Valley State Rep. Bill O’Neill, but he was re-elected with 51% of the vote. Dem State Rep. Mimi Stewart was also re-elected with 51% of the vote, despite a strong Republican challenge.

MORE COVERAGE

Here's the New Mexican wrap on the Guv race and the same from the NM Independent and The AP.

TURNOUT

It appears at least 600,000 New Mexicans voted, a turnout of about 52 percent of the state's registered voters.

Thanks to our entire radio team for their Election Night efforts.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2010
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