This is a very competitive election year, especially in New Mexico, which is considered by many to be a toss-up state in the presidential election.
“Partisan competition abounds in this election year, so much that it might seem that the entire nation is one big political hotbed,” writes Bob Benenson of Congressional Quarterly (CQ) Politics, a longtime, nonpartisan political journalism source.
The race for president, Benenson writes, promises to be competitive. And CQ Politics ranks 20 Senate races and 89 House races “as at least somewhat competitive.”
But these competitive races are not distributed evenly among the 50 states. Some will be battleground states up and down the ballot, with close contests for president and competitive races for major offices. Others have one or the other. Some are deep Republican red or Democratic blue on those color-coded presidential race maps, but have other key races in play. A few are expected to be competitive in the White House battle but have little else to watch.
As with just about every media outlet this year, CQ Politics can’t help but run down the list of reasons why New Mexico is special this year.
A state that went to Gore by a tenth of 1 percentage point in 2000 and to Bush by eight-tenths of a point in 2004 is again a presidential battleground. New Mexico also has a marquee Senate race for the seat of retiring six-term Republican incumbent Pete V. Domenici. CQ Politics currently rates the Senate contest between two House incumbents, Democrat Tom Udall and Republican Steve Pearce, as Leans Democratic, but the race is expected to go down to the wire.
The Senate candidacies of Udall, Pearce and Rep. Heather A. Wilson , who lost to Pearce in the Republican primary, left all three of New Mexico’s House seats open. The hottest contest is the one to succeed Wilson in the 1st Congressional District, the swing district based in Albuquerque.
CD 1 has Democrat Martin Heinrich and Republican Darren White facing off to take over the seat currently held by Wilson. The seat has never been held by a Democrat despite the district having more Democrats than Republicans.
In the 2nd Congressional District, where Republican Ed Tinsley is taking on Democrat Harry Teague, CQ Politics ranks it Republican Favored, while the 3rd Congressional District is a Safe Democrat seat according to the Washington, D.C.-based news source. This means Democrat Ben Ray Lujan should win the race over Republican Dan East. Two Independent candidates also plan on running in the Northern-New Mexican 3rd Congressional District.
Ahead of New Mexico are three other presidential swing states. Pennsylvania also boasts seven races that CQ Politics ranks as somewhat competitive. Ohio has a number of competitive House races as well. New Hampshire has a competitive Senate race as well as two House races where Republicans are trying to take back seats won by Democrats in 2006.