How this western battleground state shifted from purple to solid blue


As Republicans aim to capture the Senate majority in 2024, New Mexico isn’t on their radar.

Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich is up for re-election next year, but the top nonpartisan political handicappers rate New Mexico either “safe” or solid Democrat in the 2024 battle for the Senate.

And the handicappers also rate the state as safe for the Democrats as President Biden runs for re-election next year. Biden carried the one-time battleground state by ten-points in his 2020 White House victory. 

“It’s been a relatively rapid change from purple to blue and now maybe deep blue. Not California blue but pretty deep blue here with all the statewide offices belonging to the Democrats. The entire congressional delegation belonging to the Democrats. Both houses of the legislature. So it’s been quite the sweep,” New Mexico based political analyst Joe Monahan told Fox News.

It wasn’t always this way.

THE RED STATE DEMOCRATS KEEP TRYING — BUT FAILING — TO TURN BLUE

President Biden, right, and Michelle Lujan Grisham, governor of New Mexico, on stage during a New Mexico Democrats rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. Photographer: Adria Malcolm/Bloomberg via Getty Images (Malcolm/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Republicans carried New Mexico in six straight presidential elections, from 1968 through 1988.

But over the past three decades, then-President George W. Bush’s razor-thin victory in the state during his 2004 re-election was only time a Republican has won the state in a White House race.

THIS COMPETITIVE STATE’S 2023 ELECTIONS COULD BE A ROADMAP TO 2024 

Republicans used to control the state’s congressional delegation. But it’s been more than two decades since the GOP’s won a Senate election in New Mexico. And the Democrats currently control all three of the state’s House seats in Congress. They’ve also won four of the past six gubernatorial elections.

So what happened in New Mexico?

“A lot of it has to do with the changing of the political scene for the Republicans. They went pretty far right and this state’s always been kind of centrist, and I think that has something to do with it,” Monahan said.

New Mexico State Capitol, in Santa Fe, New Mexico

File photo of the New Mexico State Capitol, in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Getty Images) (Getty Images )

He also pointed to demographics.

“Our Hispanic population has burgeoned in recent years as a percentage of the population and the stance of the Republican on immigration has not helped,” Monahan said. 

He noted that the state’s largest cities, such as Albuquerque, Lac Cruces, and Santa Fe, “are dominating what little population growth we’ve had. And those people tend to congregate around the Democratic Party or independents.”

WHAT’S BEHIND THIS SOUTHEASTERN STATE’S TRANSFORMATION FROM RELIABLY RED TO TOP BATTLEGROUND?

“We’ve turned into a one-party state and those of us who watch politics don’t think that’s necessarily healthy,” Monahan added.

Looking ahead to next year, Monahan noted that no major Republican has jumped into the Senate race, “which is kind of late in the cycle.”

But there may be a glimmer of hope for the GOP in New Mexico.

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“Republicans still have a chance to grasp some victory,” he sad pointing to their chances of retaking the state’s Second Congressional District, which covers the southern part of the state. 

Monahan said a Republican victory in the swing congressional district “could breathe some life into them.”

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.



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