Hillary Clinton wins NM Democratic primary
ALBUQUERQUE — Hillary Clinton has won New Mexico’s Democratic presidential primary, and Donald Trump has prevailed on the GOP side.
Clinton prevailed at the polls on Tuesday, a day after she secured enough delegate commitments to become the presumptive Democratic nominee — and without campaigning directly in New Mexico. Bill Clinton made two swings through the state on behalf of his wife in the weeks leading up to the primary.
Trump has vowed to wage a competitive general election race. Registered Democrats in New Mexico far outnumber Republicans.
At stake in New Mexico’s Democratic primary was the distribution of 34 pledged delegates and nine superdelegates, the party leaders who are free to choose their candidate. Seven of New Mexico’s superdelegates sided with Clinton before Tuesday’s vote, and two have been uncommitted.
The primary contest hinged on the state’s diverse demographics in communities stretching from the border with Mexico to the Navajo Nation.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders attracted jubilant supporters in May to a trio of public rallies in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and the southern part of the state. Clinton secured endorsements from a long list of Democratic power brokers.
Trump shared the ballot with five other GOP presidential contenders who never removed their names after they suspended campaigning or dropped out of the race.
New Mexico’s twenty-four GOP delegates are awarded on a proportional basis to candidates with at least 15 percent of votes.
Trump used a visit to Albuquerque in May to drum up support for his campaign and to criticize Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who has withheld her endorsement.
Tens of thousands of voters turned out to polling locations in New Mexico’s most populous county on Tuesday, and election officials expected the numbers to surpass those from the 2012 presidential primary.
Statewide, absentee and early voting soared past 137,000 ballots — up from about 85,000 four years ago.
Sanders received more direct campaign contributions from New Mexico residents than any other candidate through the end of April. His enthralled supporters flocked to hear his pitch for dealing with income inequality, campaign finance reform and student debt at a trio of rallies around the state.
Aileen Mell of Santa Fe voted for Sanders but was resigned Tuesday to a Clinton nomination.
“I think Hillary is going to be president, and I’m OK with that,” said the 29-year-old utility contract worker.
Claudia Scott cast her ballot for Trump, citing his candor and hard-line stance on immigration.
“He’s saying to America what people don’t want to say out loud, but the way the feel,” she said after voting at Eisenhower Middle School in Albuquerque.
At the May rally in Albuquerque, Trump defiantly led chants of “build that wall,” a reference to his immigration plans. Outside, protesters clashed with police as rocks, water bottles and burning T-shirts were hurled.
In other races, two Republicans are competing for the nomination to challenge four-term U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-Santa Fe.
Retired law enforcement officer Michael Romero of Vadito is running for the GOP nomination against Michael Lucero of Jemez Pueblo, who works for a security contractor at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The entire state legislature is up for election in November, and primary voters on Tuesday will pick nominees who will determine which party controls New Mexico’s House of Representative and Senate.
As few as three legislative seats could change the balance of power in each chamber and shape the fate of conservative policy initiatives from Martinez in the closing two years of her administration. Republicans currently control the House, 37-33, and Democrats control the Senate, 24-18.
There were 14 contested primaries in the House, and nine in the Senate. Nine incumbent Democrats — five in the House and four in the Senate — were facing primary challenges.