By Jim EllisJune 3, 2021 — The New Mexico special election went as expected Tuesday, as state Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-Albuquerque) defeated state Sen. Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque) by a 60-36 percent count, which is consistent with the partisan early vote turnout.
The overall participation factor exceeded 131,000 voters, or 28.2 percent of the district’s registered voter universe, which is relatively high for a special election. It appears that over 70 percent of the people participating in the electoral contest cast an early ballot.
Stansbury, twice elected to the state House of Representatives, was victorious in the special Democratic district convention whose delegates were empowered with choosing a party nominee to replace resigned Rep. Deb Haaland (D-Albuquerque). Haaland vacated the House upon being confirmed as US Interior Secretary in the Biden cabinet.
The Stansbury congressional victory margin came from population-dominant Bernalillo County, where more than 90 percent of the CD-1 residents live. Stansbury captured 61 percent of the vote here. In the smaller rural counties, Moores took three of four, but the aggregate vote total from each of those entities was individually less than 2,500 cast ballots.
The Democratic mean average in the seat since partisan conversion in 2008 is 58.2 percent, so Stansbury ran about two points above the benchmark. The state’s current governor, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, represented the 1st District for three terms and scored the single-highest Democratic election percentage during the 13-year post-conversion period. She tallied 65.1 percent in 2016, the same election in which Hillary Clinton posted a 52-35 percent CD-1 result and 48-40 percent statewide.
The Democratic low came in the Republican landslide year of 2010 when then-representative and now Sen. Martin Heinrich recorded a 51.8 percent re-election victory.
According to an election preview article in the Albuquerque Journal newspaper, 92,745 people cast their ballot through the early voting process, just under 20 percent of the registered voter universe. A total of 58.3 percent of those ballots came from Democrats as compared to 30.1 percent from Republican registrants. The party registration figures for the district break 47:28 percent Democratic to Republican. Therefore, these statistics provided an early final outcome clue.
The next special election will be the TX-6 runoff scheduled for July 27, which is followed by two special partisan primary elections in Ohio, for districts 11 (ex-Rep. Marcia Fudge) and 15 (ex-Rep. Steve Stivers), on Aug. 3. The special general election for both Ohio seats occurs on Nov. 2. The vacant FL-20 (late Rep. Alcee Hastings) will hold a partisan primary also on Nov. 2 with the special general scheduled for Jan. 11, 2022.
The Stansbury victory increases the party division in the House to 220 Democrats and 211 Republicans with four vacancies. The Republicans will hold TX-6 considering the double Republican runoff, and the remaining three seats look to also remain with the party risking the vacancy. Therefore, at the end of the entire special election period, assuming no further resignations, the House will expand to 222 Democrats and 213 Republicans when coming to full capacity.