A special congressional election in New Mexico is testing political enthusiasm among Democrats in an increasingly progressive district last won by a Republican in 2006, as voters prepared Tuesday for a final day of balloting.
The winner of the four-way race for the 1st Congressional District will fill a seat left vacant by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland as she joined the Biden Cabinet.
Republican state Sen. Mark Moores’ campaign to flip a seat held by Democrats since 2009 has highlighted concerns about crime in Albuquerque and has painted his Democrat opponent as a progressive with a radical agenda to defund traditional police agencies.
Democrat state Rep. Melanie Stansbury has aligned her campaign closely with initiatives from the White House on pandemic relief, infrastructure spending and interventions to slow climate change.
Responding to Moores, Stansbury says she’s corralled tax dollars for police initiatives as a legislator, but also believes policing reforms are needed to address systematic racism in the U.S..
Registered Democrats led early in-person voting that ended Saturday as well as absentee balloting — casting roughly six out of 10 ballots prior to Election Day.
Far fewer voters were likely to participate overall than in 2020, a record-setting year for voting in the 1st District.
Both major-party candidates are native New Mexico residents who claim working class
The seat has consistently been a stepping stone to higher office for Republican and Democrat politicians, including now-deceased Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan Jr., former U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.