Democrats have retained a congressional seat representing part of New Mexico, filling a vacancy that arose when the officeholder left to join President Joe Biden’s administration.
Democratic nominee Melanie Ann Stansbury won the race for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, according to the final tally of a June 1 special election to fill the vacant seat. Stansbury received 79,208 votes, more than 32,000 ahead of Republican candidate Mark David Moores.
“It’s a good day to be a New Mexican because tonight New Mexico delivered for our people, delivered for our communities, and delivered for the United States of America,” Stansbury told a crowd during an election night celebration.
Stansbury, a state representative who formerly served in the Obama administration, ran on a platform that included tackling climate change, protecting land and water, and pushing for universal health care.
“Democrats sent a clear message during this election that we’re not taking anything for granted when it comes to electing leaders who truly represent our values. While the GOP relied on fear mongering and lies, Democrats were building an expansive field program and working to get out the vote. We know the importance of electing strong Democrats like Melanie Stansbury, and we will continue to build on that momentum as we look toward 2022,” Jessica Velasquez, chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, said in a statement.
Republicans painted Stansbury as an anti-police candidate who would cut funding for law enforcement, noting her support for the BREATHE Act.
“This would actually defund police and prisons and all punishment paradigms,” Moores, a state senator, said during a recent appearance on Fox News, calling the act “the most radical legislation” promoted in Washington.
The Republican told voters he would support law enforcement, help safely reopen New Mexico, and protect jobs in the state.
The race was held several months after former Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) vacated the seat to become Biden’s interior secretary.
Democrats have held the 1st Congressional seat since 2009, and the district has gone for Democratic presidential candidates for an even longer span.
Republicans missed an opportunity to cut into the narrow margin of control Democrats have in the House of Representatives. Once Stansbury is sworn in, the majority will grow to 220-211, with four vacancies still needing to be filled.
Candidates are running to replace former Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), who also joined the Biden administration; late Reps. Ron Wright (R-Texas) and Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.); and former Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), who resigned to become president and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.