Now that the dust has settled, the post-election hang over is gone and the votes have been counted I wish to direct your attention to the New Mexico Senate race. Yes, I know it has been decided, but it was closer than you think.
The sitting Democrat really had nothing to worry about in the blue state of New Mexico. However, looking back into history at the 2008 election results shows a different scenario.
In 2008, Senator Tom Udall, then a 5 term Congressman was running for the Senate seat held by retiring incumbent Pete Domenici (R) against incumbent Congressman Steve Pearce. Ultimately Udall won with 505,128 (61.3%) to Pearce’s 318,522 (38.7%).
In 2008, the Democrats swept most the senate seats to gain a super majority. We all know this history. New Mexico would be considered a lost cause in 08. When asked if the NRSC would be walking away from the New Mexico Race (it was heavily favored to flip Democratic), Senator John Ensign stated to the Wall Street Journal:
“You don’t waste money on races that don’t need it or you can’t win.”
Here is how that map played out amongst New Mexico’s 33 county’s:
Flipping democratic is exactly what New Mexico did and in a blow out. 23 % points separated the two men and Udall won 21 out of NM’s 33 counties. Maybe Senator Ensign was right. However, I didn’t feel the Land of Enchantment was a lost cause this time around.
Lets add perspective and go back to the 2012 Senate race in New Mexico. Senator Jeff Bingamin (D) announced retirement, and the race was on between Martin Heinrich (D) and former Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R).
Heinrich went on to win the seat by 395,717 (51.01%) to Wilson’s 351,260 (45.3%). Comparing the percentage gap with the 2008 race, this one could be considered a “squeaker”. Heinrich on won only 14 counties out of the 33.
So why do I feel that Allen Weh not only came close, but could have won the seat from Tom Udall?
The 1st item is the 2014 Senate map listing New Mexico’s 33 County’s and how they voted:
The 2nd item, is that just like the 2008 election, Republicans basically gave up on New Mexico. Before the first polls were out between Udall and Weh, Americans For Prosperity-New Mexico picked up and left the state in January. The March poll had Udall up by 23 points, and the September poll wasn’t much different. So was this the Ensign quote coming back to haunt the Republican chances of retaking the New Mexico seat?
The 3rd and final item is that in October the National Republican Senatorial Committee, feeling that NM would not flip, relocated its focus and money to other Senate races across the country. This was the second time the group had abandoned a New Mexico Senate Race. After all, it looked like another lost cause. However, shortly after this announcement new polls came out. Allen Weh had erased the double-digit deficit to only a 5-7 point difference. Better late than never, right? Unfortunately, the big guns of the Republican party didn’t think so.
It was clear that New Mexico could have shifted far enough to flip the state red. Would it have gone to Weh if the money hadn’t been reallocated? Would Tom Udall still be our Senator if our state had not been abandoned? The difference between the two election years of 2008 and 2014 is astonishing. Udall won by 22% points in 2008, but by only 11% this time around.
Something to note from this recent election — The New Mexico state legislature for the first time in 60 years has a Republican majority. Our residents WERE READY FOR NEW LEADERSHIP.
Stay the course in New Mexico, and stay til the end. We might surprise you.
Thanks to Doug Ross @ Journal for linking