Democratic candidates stole the night in New Mexico state elections, taking a variety of seats of all sizes and significances.
Over 680,000 people voted in the 2018 Midterm Elections in New Mexico, a 24 percent increase over the last midterms in 2014.
While Democrats won seats in the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and the Governor's seat, they also won variety of statewide elections, securing the Roundhouse's Democratic status going into the January session.
Democrats now have complete control over the state legislature, completing the trifecta with Michelle Lujan Grisham's gubernatorial win, for the first time since 2010.
Democratic incumbent Hector Balderas won his re-election with 60 percent of the votes, against Republican Michael Hendricks and Libertarian A. Blair Dunn.
During his acceptance speech, Balderas expressed his satisfaction with the wave of Democratic wins across the state, particularly the governor’s race.
“I’m excited to have a new governor,” Balderas said, referencing governor-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham. “Talk about being (attorney general) for (Gov.) Susana Martinez, that’s been a tough eight years.”
Balderas recently condemned the University of New Mexico for a lack transparency in relation to Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) and Open Meetings Act (OMA) violations, and is considering pursuing a criminal investigation against former athletic director Paul Krebs.
Secretary of State
Democratic incumbent Maggie Toulouse Oliver was re-elected with 56.1 percent of votes, surpassing her Republican opponent Gavin Clarkson who had 39 percent and Libertarian Ginger Grider with 4.9 percent.
Appointed incumbent Republican Wayne Johnson lost to Democrat Brian Colón, who won with 56 percent of votes.
Colón said, as state auditor, he will fight waste and fraud across the State of New Mexico, including at the University of New Mexico. The Athletics Department was investigated by the State Auditor in 2017.
“We have to get in the office, take a look and see where those audits are and see where those investigations stand to date.
Both Johnson and Colón ran for mayor of Albuquerque earlier this year, Colón was out before the runoff election only getting 16 percent of votes and Johnson with 9 percent. This is the first time Colón has been elected to public office.
“This has been a long journey for me,” Colón said.
Commissioner of Public Lands
Democrat Stephanie Garcia Richard won earning 49.7 percent of the vote, against Libertarian Michael Lucero who earned 5.7 percent of votes and Republican Patrick Lyons who received 44.7 percent of votes.
Democrat incumbent Tim Eichenberg won against Republican Arthur Castillo with 56 percent of the votes.
While results are still unofficial, Democrats appear to have gained several seats in the State House this year, adding to their already six-seat majority.
Speaker of the House Brian Egolf told the Daily Lobo that, with Democrats controlling the State Legislature and the governor’s seat, that policy related to education will become the primary focus. He also said that the UNM Men’s Soccer program, which was cut by the University in August, would be reinstated along with all the other cut sports.
Men's soccer, along with beach volleyball and skiing, were cut by the University in order to combat the Athletics Department's budgetary woes and lack of Title IX compliance. Egolf said Title IX will not be an issue if all the sports are reinstated.
“This is not a Title IX issue, this is a money issue,” Egolf said.
Kyle Land is the editor in chief for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kyleoftheland.
Madison Spratto is the news editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @Madi_Spratto.