Initial thoughts on the 2020 election in New Mexico (mostly)

As I write this the dust STILL has not settled from the 2020 election, but here are a few thoughts:

  • Regardless of who ultimately prevails in the presidential election, the fact that Republicans held onto the US Senate (UPDATE: this is pending the results of two runoffs in Georgia) means that there will be no court packing or addition of new states for at least two years.
  • Voter turnout in New Mexico was over 68 percent which set a record. Normally this bodes extremely poorly for the GOP in New Mexico which is outnumbered by Democrats in this State. But, 2020 WAS NOT a “bloodbath” for the GOP. In fact, Yvette Herrell won her race handily and Mark Ronchetti had a very strong performance against Ben Ray Lujan in the Senate race. Ronchetti has a bright future in New Mexico politics.
  • The GOP had a more coherent election strategy than in years’ past with its “Respect New Mexico” effort and other GOTV efforts. Turnout was good on the GOP side, but Democrats also turned out and in New Mexico the GOP simply can’t compete purely on turnout.
  • Albuquerque has gone far to the left. Whether it is just the growing urban/rural divide, an influx of more liberal voters, or voters not responding to the GOP message, by all measures the GOP was wiped out in Albuquerque. Of four GOP state senators that came into 2020 with districts largely in city limits, only Mark Moores remains.
  •   The New Mexico Legislature will be very “progressive” moving forward. In years’ past the GOP had at least “some” influence with moderate Democrats like John Arthur Smith. Those days are done and not only did the GOP NOT pick up seats, it lost one. Marijuana legalization is likely. So is tapping the permanent fund and so are tax hikes.
  • Finally, with a “progressive” New Mexico Legislature in place, it is unlikely that Gov. Lujan Grisham will face challenges to her near-dictatorial powers on COVID 19, but it is also quite possible that she could leave New Mexico if Biden is declared the winner. Only time will tell if the “progressives” running the Legislature will demand separation of powers and whether MLG or Lt. Gov. Howie Morales will be running the show.