2020 NM Election: GOP makes slight legislative gains, Herrell ousts Torres Small from Congress

Record turnout in the 2020 General Election garnered much attention to countless races up and down the ballot, and many wins for Republicans. 912,565 ballots were cast across New Mexico, and voter enthusiasm on both sides of the aisle was high.

In New Mexico’s congressional delegation, Yvette Herrell bested first-term Democrat Rep. Xochitl Torres Small by 20,461 votes, winning by a margin of 53.9% to 46.1%. Torres Small voted with Nancy Pelosi 94% of the time, including to impeach President Donald Trump and to pass sweeping anti-Second Amendment gun bans. 

Herrell had the endorsement of President Donald Trump and many pro-Trump leaders, including Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), and others. Torres Small had the support of D.C. establishment figures, Planned Parenthood, and anti-gun groups. 

Democrat Rep. Ben Ray Luján won the open U.S. Senate seat, beating Republican Mark Ronchetti by 4%. Democrat Rep. Deb Haaland won re-election in the 1st Congressional District, while Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez won the open 3rd Congressional District seat being vacated by Luján.

In the state legislature, Republicans picked off a few seats from Democrat control, including Sen. Clemente Sanchez’s 30th Senate District seat, which he will be vacating after he lost the primary. Republican Joshua A. Sanchez won that race against far-left Democrat Pamela Cordova. 

Republican Crystal Diamond picked up Senate District 35 in the southeast part of the state, being vacated by Sen. John Arthur Smith, who also lost his primary election. Diamond ran against Naomi Martinez-Parra, a favorite of far-left Speaker Brian Egolf and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. 

Republican Luis Terrazas bested incumbent Democrat Rep. Rudolpho Martinez in House District 39, also in southeast New Mexico, winning 53% to 47%. 

House District 53 is still up in the air, as there is a possible recount between former Democrat Rep. Ricky Little and incumbent Rep. Willie Madrid. Little is leading by a handful of votes with 3,275 to Madrid’s 3,268.

In an open seat in House District 22, being vacated by Senator-elect Gregg Schmedes, Republican Stefani Lord beat out Jessica Velasquez in the Bernalillo-area seat. 

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Democrats picked up a net gain of one seat in the New Mexico Senate, “pushing their advantage to 27-15 — and lose three seats in the House, dropping their edge to 43-26, with one independent.” 

New Mexicans approved Constitutional Amendment 1 to give more power to the New Mexico Governor by abolishing an elected Public Regulation Commission and instead allowing the Governor to appoint a three-member panel to regulate utilities in New Mexico. The measure passed with 55% support.

Another measure, Constitutional Amendment 2 allowing the Legislature to dictate term limits on state, county, and local elected leaders also passed, giving more power to Santa Fe bureaucrats. The measure passed with 67% support. 

Although Republicans did not win the presidential race and many others down the ballots, they did make gains in the Legislature, while flipping the crucial Second Congressional District race. The newly elected legislators across New Mexico will be positioned well to fight hard against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and her increasing penchant to hold onto power.

3 thoughts on “2020 NM Election: GOP makes slight legislative gains, Herrell ousts Torres Small from Congress”

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