New Mexico Senate Remains Solid Democratic For Now

March 25, 2019 · 12:20 PM EDT

Open seats are usually better takeover opportunities, but Republicans still have plenty of work to do in New Mexico to prove they’ve got a real chance of flipping the seat. Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico announced on Monday that he would not seek re-election, but it’s been close to 20 years since Republicans won a Senate race in the Land of Enchantment.

Taking into account all statewide and congressional elections over the last four cycles, the Inside Elections Democratic Baseline performance of New Mexico is 54 percent compared to 44 percent for Republicans. That includes 2018, when no Republican won statewide office, while Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich was re-elected 54-31 percent and Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham was elected governor 57-43 percent. Democrats also flipped the 2nd District, previously held by Republican Steve Pearce.

Sen. Pete Domenici won re-election to a sixth term in 2002, which was the last time a Republican won a Senate race in New Mexico. And given the 2016 alignment between presidential results and Senate outcomes, 2020 might be difficult for Republicans considering Hillary Clinton won the state by 8 points.

But of course the senator just made his announcement and it could be a few weeks or months before we know who runs and ultimately who is nominated by each party.

We’re going to maintain our Solid Democratic rating of the New Mexico Senate race until the candidate fields and political climate come into focus.

We’ll have more on New Mexico and all of the Senate races around the country in our upcoming April 5 Senate Overview issue of Inside Elections.