A New Mexico Special Election Is Posing An Early Test Of Democrats' 2022 Messaging

13 hours ago
Originally published on June 1, 2021 8:28 am

Democrats in New Mexico are hoping to keep control of the House seat in the state's 1st Congressional District when voters take to the polls Tuesday to fill the position vacated by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.

A recent opinion poll by the Republican elections blog RRH Elections shows Democrat Melanie Stansbury with a comfortable double-digit lead — 49% to 33% — over Republican opponent Mark Moores.

Both Stansbury and Moores serve in the state legislature.

Democratic congressional candidate Melanie Stansbury speaks during a campaign rally in Albuquerque, N.M, on Thursday.
Susan Montoya Bryan / AP

The congressional seat has sat vacant since March, when Haaland, a Democrat, was confirmed as the first Native American to head the Department of the Interior.

While the central New Mexico district has historically favored Democratic candidates, Republicans are hoping an upset win can help them move closer to taking back the House majority in next year's midterm elections. But the party faces steep odds in a district that President Biden won in November by 23 points.

Democrats currently hold a a razor-thin advantage of only eight seats in the House.

Republican state Sen. Mark Moores, pictured above on March 20, has emphasized his support for lifting environmental regulations in the race for New Mexico's 1st Congressional District.
Morgan Lee / AP

New Mexico is a state rich in natural resources and home to one of the nation's largest Native American populations. Stansbury has called on her background in science to promote herself as a champion of the state's land and water resources.

Moores, a third-generation state official, has sought to accuse Democrats of villainizing law enforcement, while emphasizing his support for lifting environmental regulations aimed at drilling for oil and gas.

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