Thursday, November 17, 2016

Pearce’s hold on district strengthens

While all three of New Mexico’s incumbent representatives in the U.S. House easily defeated their opponents in last week’s election, Republican Rep. Steve Pearce racked up the largest margin of victory in his southern New Mexico district in 22 years. Pearce won 18 of the 19 counties and received 63 percent of the votes in the district, compared with 37 percent for Merrie Lee Soules, a Democrat from Las Cruces, en route to his seventh term in the office. The only county Pearce lost in his 26-point victory was Doña Ana County, the densely populated area that includes Las Cruces, the state’s second-largest city, where Soules is from. In an interview this week, Journal pollster Brian Sanderoff noted that Pearce has “solidified his support” in the 2nd District, as evidenced by his 20 percentage point margin of victory in Guadalupe County, which is 80 percent Hispanic and typically votes Democratic. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won Guadalupe County’s presidential race by 20 points, making Republican Pearce’s identical margin of victory all the more impressive. The sprawling district – stretching from the Mexican border to the oil and gas fields of the southeast, north to Cibola, Valencia and Guadalupe counties – has long appeared to be fertile political ground to national Democratic strategists because the Democratic Party outnumbers Republicans in voter registration. It is nearly 54 percent Hispanic, according to U.S. Census data, but the Pew Research Center reports that just 40 percent of all eligible voters in the district are Hispanic...more

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