On Wednesday, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), added first-term Democrat Rep. Melanie Stansbury of New Mexico’s First Congressional District to its target list, putting all three of New Mexico’s congressional seats in play. Emmer previously announce the Third District, held by first-term Democrat Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez was on the target list.
In the news release about Stansbury being added as a target, NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer, a congressman from Minnesota, said, “Republicans have the message, the candidates, and the resources needed to take back the majority,” He added, “Vulnerable Democrats who chose not to retire will be shown no mercy.”
One of the two Republicans who qualified for the June 7 GOP primary ballot, Calibers owner Louie Sanchez said, “One month ago, [CD1 was rated] rated favorable Democrat and now it is on their target list,” said Louie Sanchez, candidate for the First District.”
He added that the NRCC’s decision “says a lot about our team and our campaign that we’re running that the NRCC would put CD1 in play.”
“I think it’s hugely in play,” said GOP congressional candidate Michelle Garcia Holmes who previously ran for the seat. Since then, the seat has been partisanly gerrymandered, which added Republicans to the district. The Republican-leaning Second District’s conservative voters were stretched into the two other districts.
Garcia Holmes said, “The benefit of having run before is we now [have] a bird’s eye view of where we were weak and where we were strong with the old district.”
Stansbury’s team sent out a panicky fundraising email, saying, “We already knew that First-term Representatives are often seen as the most vulnerable. Now, we know how serious the GOP is about defeating Melanie this year.”
“They’re looking for any signs of weakness within our campaign, and this upcoming public FEC filing is our chance to show just how strong our momentum is.”
Stansbury won a special election in 2021 after Deb Haaland vacated the seat to join Joe Biden’s Department of the Interior. During that race, Stansbury was criticized for comments she made telling displaced Native American workers to just “sell your art or your wool” — a slur against Native Americans.
Now, the formerly heavily Democrat First and Third Districts could flip Republican this year, possibly resulting in all three New Mexico U.S. House seats to the Republican column.