Clinton, three congressional incumbents take NM
SANTA FE - Hillary Clinton won New Mexico’s presidential contest Tuesday to gain five electoral votes.
Voters chose the Democrat over Republican Donald Trump and the state’s former governor, Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson.
Clinton prevailed after she and running mate Tim Kaine skipped campaigning in New Mexico and relied on visits from Bill Clinton and a post-primary rally by Bernie Sanders.
Registered Democrats far outnumber Republicans in the heavily Hispanic state where Barack Obama won his elections handily.
Still, San Juan County voters overwhelmingly supported Trump in the election. With all 34 voting convenience center reporting numbers, 27,869 votes were cast for Trump and 12,820 were cast for Clinton, according to the San Juan County Clerk’s Office.
Johnson came in third in San Juan County with 4,174 votes.
In New Mexico, Clinton carried the Democratic primary and received near-universal backing from prominent party leaders, along with an endorsement from the Navajo Nation’s president.
Trump sowed divisions among state Republicans. He never won the backing of GOP Gov. Susana Martinez, chairwoman of the Republican Governors Association and the nation’s only Latina governor.
Trump and running mate Mike Pence touched down in New Mexico in the campaign’s final days to court voters, while Clinton rolled out television ads highlighting incendiary, expletive-laden comments by Trump.
Johnson joined sign-waving supporters Tuesday on the streets of Santa Fe, saying his campaign marks the start of a new current in U.S. politics regardless of the winner.
“The movement is underway,” he said. “I hope that it’s a leaps-and-bounds growth situation.”
Incumbents won re-election to New Mexico’s three seats in Congress.
In the 1st Congressional District covering most of Albuquerque, Democratic U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham will serve a third term. In New Mexico’s northern 3rd District, Democratic Rep. Ben Ray Lujan defeated Republican Michael Romero to earn a fifth term. Republican Steve Pearce beat out Merrie Lee Soules for a seventh term in office.
The entire state Legislature also is up for election, with Republicans defending a 37-33 House majority, which they won in 2014 for the first time in six decades. Senate Democrats are clinging to a 24-18 advantage and hope to defend it.
In the race to fill the state’s top oversight post for elections and campaign finance disclosures, Democratic Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver of Albuquerque defeated Republican state lawmaker Nora Espinoza. Toulouse Oliver will serve the two year remainder of a term vacated by former Secretary of State Dianna Duran, who resigned and pleaded guilty to spending campaign funds on a gambling spree.
Toulouse Oliver pledged to expand voting opportunities and restore the integrity to the office.
Democrats dominate the state’s voter registration rolls, with record-breaking early voter turnout raising their prospects for retaking control of the House and the Secretary of State’s Office.
GOP legislative candidates say they are fighting to preserve a business-friendly climate amid an oil bust and state budget deficits, while addressing concerns about violent crime following the killings of two police officers and the gruesome slaying of a 10-year-old Albuquerque girl this year.
Democrats say solutions to unemployment and poverty include more robust minimum wage requirements, new incentives for small businesses and possibly tapping a multibillion-dollar state trust to pay for early childhood education initiatives.
A failed Republican proposal to reinstate the death penalty spawned attack ads painting Democrats as soft on crime, while Democrats highlighted Republicans’ financial ties to the oil industry.
Voters widely approved a constitutional amendment that gives judges the authority to deny bail to defendants considered exceptionally dangerous. The amendment also allows pretrial release for nonthreatening crime suspects who cannot otherwise afford bail.
San Juan County voices on the election
“I think (voting) is very important, especially a woman’s access to reproduction justice.”
— Larrissa Jay, Farmington
“I’m scared. ... I’m not too excited about either candidate. ... I think it’s our job to vote and let our voices be heard.
— Ayin Griego, Aztec
“I hope that whoever wins ... gets us back into what’s good for the country.”
— Marie Quinn, Aztec
“I wish they had just a straight Republican handle. ... Remember the old machines where you would yank the handle for Republicans or Democrats?”
— Lonnie Moffett, Farmington
“We felt (Trump’s) policies were more in line with what we wanted than Hilary.”
— Laura Stowell, Farmington
“I wish I had better choices.”
— Luke Woolsey, Farmington
“The more and more people we let into the United States without going through the proper steps, I think we’ll just be increasing our deficit. ... I just feel like (Trump) knows more of how to get us back on track.”
— Gina Reese, Farmington
“My parents and grandparents fought for our right to vote, so here I am. Things could be much better, but they could also be way worse.”
— Amanda Valdez, Farmington
“It’s sad no matter who you vote for they forget what they’re there for.”
— Albert Allen, Tsé Daa K’aan Chapter
“(Election Day) means hoping to get the right people into our offices.”
— Vivian Attakai, Shiprock Chapter
“It was ... I think the most contentious campaign I’ve seen in my life. ... I’m sad that the parties are so polarized.”
— Suzanne Harrison, Durango, Colo.
“I think our county is a caring county and they realize what’s at stake and that carries nationally as well.” — Betty Berry, Farmington
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.