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What to expect in the New Mexico presidential and state primaries
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What to expect in the New Mexico presidential and state primaries

  • PublishedMay 31, 2024



WASHINGTON – New Mexico voters will be among the last to cast ballots for presidential nominees when the state holds its presidential and state primaries on Tuesday.

That day includes the final four contests on the Republican side and is the penultimate presidential primary day on the Democratic side. Both parties have had their presumptive nominees — former President Donald Trump on the Republican side and President Joe Biden on the Democratic side — since mid-March.

New Mexico has voted reliably Democratic in recent presidential elections, but its downballot contests have been more competitive.

In 2022, Democrats won all three of New Mexico’s congressional districts, aided by a new map that shifted a Republican-leaning district to the left. In the fall, the most closely watched district will be the 2nd, a swing seat along the Mexican border where first-term Rep. Gabe Vasquez will face a rematch with the incumbent he defeated, former Rep. Yvette Herrell. Herrell is uncontested in the Republican primary.

The sole contested U.S. House primary is on the Republican side in the 1st District. Businessman Louie Sanchez and accountant Steve Jones are running in the Albuquerque-based district, the most Democratic-leaning in the state. The winner will face incumbent Rep. Melanie Stansbury, who has represented the district since winning a special election in 2021 to succeed current Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.

Also on the ballot are 19 contested state Senate primaries and 22 contested state House primaries. All 42 state Senate and 70 state House seats are up for election this year, but many of the primaries are uncontested.

Here’s a look at what to expect on election night:

PRIMARY DAY

The New Mexico state and presidential primary will be held Tuesday. Polls close at 9 p.m. ET.

WHAT’S ON THE BALLOT

The Associated Press will provide coverage for the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries, one U.S. House primary and 41 state legislative primaries.

The Democratic ballot includes Biden, Marianne Williamson and an uncommitted option.

The Republican ballot includes Trump, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, Chris Christie and an uncommitted option. For Trump, Tuesday marks the first primaries since he became the first former American president to be convicted of felony crimes.

WHO GETS TO VOTE

New Mexico has a closed primary system, which means that only voters registered with a political party may participate in that party’s primary. Democrats may not vote in the Republican primary or vice versa. Independent or unaffiliated voters may not participate in either primary.

DELEGATE ALLOCATION RULES

New Mexico’s 34 pledged Democratic delegates are allocated according to the national party’s standard rules. Seven at-large delegates are allocated in proportion to the statewide vote, as are four PLEO delegates, or “party leaders and elected officials.” The state’s three congressional districts have a combined 23 delegates at stake, which are allocated in proportion to the vote results in each district. Candidates must receive at least 15% of the statewide vote to qualify for any statewide delegates and 15% of the vote in a congressional district to qualify for delegates in that district.

There are 22 delegates at stake in the Republican presidential primary. Since the Republican primary is taking place within 45 days of the Republican National Convention, the delegates will be considered unbound. However, a spokesperson from the state party told the AP that the party expects the delegates will vote at the convention in accordance with the results of its presidential primary.

DECISION NOTES

In the presidential race, Biden and Trump are the favorites in their primaries as neither candidate faces credible challenges. The first indications that they are winning statewide on a level consistent with the overwhelming margins seen in most other contests held this year may be sufficient to determine the statewide winners. There is an organized protest vote against Biden in New Mexico, which may be strongest in and around the cities of Santa Fe and Albuquerque. If there are protest votes against Trump, they are likely to be most evident in the same areas, as Haley’s best performances in the campaign this year have come from states’ Democratic areas.

The 1st District includes all of Torrance County and parts of Bernalillo, Sandoval, Santa Fe and Valencia counties. The bulk of the district’s votes are concentrated in and around Albuquerque, about three-quarters of which falls in the district.

The AP does not make projections and will declare a winner only when it’s determined there is no scenario that would allow the trailing candidates to close the gap. If a race has not been called, the AP will continue to cover any newsworthy developments, such as candidate concessions or declarations of victory. In doing so, the AP will make clear that it has not yet declared a winner and explain why.

In New Mexico, federal races with a vote margin of 0.25 percentage points or less are subject to an automatic recount. State legislative races are subject to a mandatory recount if the margin is within 0.5 percentage points. The AP may declare a winner in a race that is eligible for a recount if it can determine the lead is too large for a recount or legal challenge to change the outcome.

WHAT DO TURNOUT AND ADVANCE VOTE LOOK LIKE

As of April 30, there were 1,336,178 registered voters in New Mexico. Of those, 43% were Democrats and 31% were Republicans.

In the 2022 primary election, turnout was 9% of registered voters in the Democratic primary and 10% in the Republican primary for the 1st Congressional District.

As of May 29, a total of 71,258 voters had cast ballots before Election Day. About 61% of ballots were cast in the Democratic primary and 38% in the Republican primary.

HOW LONG DOES VOTE-COUNTING USUALLY TAKE?

In the 2022 primary election, the AP first reported results at 9:11 p.m. ET, or 11 minutes after polls closed. The election night tabulation ended at 2:50 a.m. ET with about 99% of total votes counted.

ARE WE THERE YET?

As of Tuesday, there will be 41 days until the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, 76 days until the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and 154 until the November general election.

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Follow the AP’s coverage of the 2024 election at https://apnews.com/hub/election-2024.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.



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johndweiner@gmail.com

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