Tuesday, March 8, was filing day for the New Mexico primary election for candidates to formally declare their candidacy for the New Mexico House of Representatives and to submit qualifying nominating petition signatures. All 70 seats in the New Mexico House of Representatives are on the November 5, 2022 election ballot. Democrats hold a 45-24 majority over Republicans, plus one independent.
There are a total of 16 contested house seats. A total of 12 House Incumbents will not be seeking re-election. Seven Democrats, in including Speaker of the House Brian Egolf, have said they will not seek another term. Five Republicans did not file and made it known they are not running for another term.
The 12 incumbents not seeking another term are:
Speaker of the House Brian Egolf, Albuquerque area Democrats Deborah Armstrong, Karen Bash, Kay Bounkeua and Georgene Louis, all of Albuquerque and Corrales Democrat Daymon Ely will not be seeking reelection. On February 14, Rep. Georgene Louis was arrested on charges of aggravated drunken driving and resigned her potions after serving five-terms.
Representative Phelps Anderson of Roswell was a Republican but changed to Independent after was the lone House Republican in 2021 to vote in favor of repealing New Mexico’s archaic criminal law that outlawed abortions. The other Republicans not seeking re-election are James Strickler of Farmington, Kelly Fajardo of Los Lunas, Zachary Cook of Ruidoso and Randal Crowder of Clovis.
FACING OPPOSTION FROM THEIR OWN PARTY
In addition to all of the 12 departures, 8 Democratic incumbents and 5 Republicans incumbents will face challengers from their own party in the June 7 primary.
The 8 Democrats facing primary challengers are Anthony Allison of Fruitland, Doreen Wonda Johnson of Church Rock, Eliseo Alcon of Milan, Roger Montoya of Velarde, Susan Herrera of Embudo, Kristina Ortez of Taos, Andrea Romero of Santa Fe and Ambrose Castellano of Las Vegas.
The 5 Republicans facing primary challenges are Jane Powdrell-Culbert of Corrales, Rachel Black of Alamogordo, Greg Nibert of Roswell, Randall Pettigrew of Lovington and Larry Scott of Hobbs.
BREAKDOWN OF CONTESTED HOUSE RACES
There are 17 contested house races. Following is a breakdown of the contested houses races as gleaned from the Secretary of States listing of declared candidacies:
House District 5: Conservative Democrat Rep. Doreen Wonda Johnson has drawn a primary challenge from progressive Kevin Mitchell in McKinley County. No Republican has filed to run so the primary victor becomes state representative by default. With a vote for a new House Speaker next year, this is a race that will be watched closely.
District 7: This is a vacant seat caused by the retirement of Republican Representative Kelly Fajardo after serving 10 years. Democrat Danny Bernal, who lost the race for Belen mayor, and Republican Tanya Mirabal Moya have both filed and will face off in the November 8 general election. This is expected to be a very close race and a battleground district that leans Republican.
District 8: This is a Valencia County District that is decidedly Republican. Republican Brian Bacawas appointed to fill a vacancy and he drew no Republican and no Democrat opponents.
District 12: This is an Albuquerque South Valley District. Former Bernalillo County Commissioner Art De La Cruz was appointed to fill the vacancy by the County Commission when Representative Brittney Barreras resigned. Two women who competed with De La Crus for the appointment are running against him in the Democratic primary. They are Nicole Olonovich and Melissa Armijo. The two Democratic woman are considered far more progressive than moderate to conservative De La Cruz. No Republican has filed to run so whoever is elected in the Democratic primary becomes the House Representative by default.
District 17: This is an open seat on the West Side of Albuquerque the result of the departure of Representative Deborah Armstrong. The district has been significantly redrawn from the North Valley and now includes Albuquerque’s North West side. It has attracted two Democrats, former City Councilor Cynthia Borrego and Darrell Deaguero in the primary. The Republican candidates are Ellis McMath and Joshua Neal. It’s a seat substantially redrawn during redistricting. Ellis McMath is politically aligned with Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis who defeated Cynthia Borrego.
This race is viewed as highly competitive with Democrat voter registration projected at just 51%.
District 19: This another open house seat the result of the resignation of progressive Democrat Kay Bounkeua. The district covers part of southeastern Albuquerque. Three Democratic candidates have filed for the primary and they are Janelle Anyanonu, an office manager and member of the New Mexico Black Central Organizing Committee, Colton Dean and Eric Sutton, managing attorney for the Fair Lending Center at United South Broadway Corp. Only one Republican has filed for the seat and she is Kathleen Jackson.
District 22: This district did include portions of Bernalillo, Sandoval & Santa Fe Counties. As a result of redistricting the new district boundaries are the East Mountains in Bernalillo County and nearly half of Torrance County. Democrat Augustine Montoya is running unopposed in the primary as is Incumbent Republican Stefani Lord and they will be on the November 8 ballot.
District 23: This House seat is vacant as a result of the retirement of 3 term progressive Democrat Rep. Daymon Ely in the Corrales/Rio Rancho area. Redistricting has made it much more Republican. Democrat Ramon Montano and Republican Alan Martinez are running and will face off in the November 8 general election. Political pundits are already predicting that this house seat will flip Republican because of a 43.9 percent Democratic performance rate.
District 26: This is an open seat cause by the resignation of 5 term Democrat Georgene Louis after her DWI arrest. Former Rep. Eleanor Chavez and Route 66 West Neighborhood Association President Cherise Quezada, who is the wife of Bernalillo County Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada, are running for the Democratic nomination in the Albuquerque-based House District 26 seat. Republican Patrick Sais is also running. This house district is also decidedly Democrat with the District having a 63% Democratic voter turnout history.
District 27: This is a far Albuquerque North East Heights District. Democrat Representative Marian Matthews flipped the District Democratic and won the District 2 years ago. Two Republicans are running and they are Bob Godshall, who lost to Matthews last time, and Elisa Martinez who ran for the Republican US Senate nomination in 2020. Matthews has moved decidedly right on crime having sponsored major crime legislation in the last session. The Republicans are expected to launch an aggressive campaign to take back the house seat. has the wind at their backs this will be an obvious seat for them to snatch.
DISTIRCT 28: This is an Albuquerque area house seat. Progressive Democrat and attorney Pamelya Herndon was appointed to fill a vacancy. She is opposed by Republican Nicole Chavez in November. Nicol Chavez’s son was the victim of a high profile murder and she’s running on a stern anti-crime platform which may be enough to oust Hendron given that Democrat performance in the District is 49.5%.
District 30: This is an Albuquerque NE Heights District. Democrat Representative Natalie Figueroa running for another term in a District once represented by Republican Representative Nate Gentry who served as a Republican House leader. Nate Gentry Nate stepped down in 2018 in large part because the district became more Democrat. Republican Kurstin Johnson, a realtor and the wife of former Bernalillo County Commissioner Republican Wayne Johnson is running in the hopes of flipping the District back to the Republican column.
District 38: This is the House seat district that Republican Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences is vacating to run for governor. This Socorro area district is one that could impact the race for House Speaker. Longtime Socorro Mayor Ravi Bhasker, a moderate Democrat, is seeking the nomination against Tara Jaramillo, a Socorro school board member who is a progressive. Bhaskar has served as Socorro mayor for a record breaking 32 consecutive years. Redistricting has made the district more Democrat. Republicans running in the primary are Sandra Hammack and educator Melba Aguilar.
District 39: This is a Silver City and Las Cruces area area district. The seat has been on and off for Democrat Rudy Martinez since 2005 but Republican Representative Luis Terrazas won two years ago and is not opposed in the primary. Martinez faces Karen Whitlock for the Democratic nomination. Republican performance in redistricting fell to only 44% so the winner of the Dem primary could oust the incumbent in November.
District 40: This a northern New Mexico house district. Democrat first term State Rep. Roger Montoya is being challenged by former state Rep. Joseph Sanchez. Montoya is the progressive and Sanchez moderate. The Secretary of State has lists Gerald Steven McFall as the Republican candidate but the the Secretary of State also lists him as a Republican candidate for the northern congressional seat. It is far more likely than not that the Democrat will win the race come November 8.
District 41: This is a northern house district that include parts of Rio Arriba County. First term Representative Susan Herrera is seeking another term and she is the sponsor of the payday loan bill that lowered interest rates. She is being opposed by moderate Democrat and former Probate Judge Marlo Martinez. No Republican is running.
District 42: This is a Taos area house seat. Progressive first term Representative Kristina Ortez is being challenged by moderate Democrat Florence Miera. Ortez was appointed to fill a vacancy. No Republican is running .
District 46: Two term progressive Democrat Representative Andrea Romero has drawn 3 democratic primary challengers and one Republican is also running. Democrat Henry Roybal is a well-known moderate Dem Santa Fe County Commissioner. The district is heavy Democrat.
District 47: This is the Santa Fe area house seat being vacated by Speaker of the House Speaker Brain Egolf who has endorsed his top aide, Reena Szczepanski, to succeed him. Democrat Francisco Lopez is also running and no Republicans are running.
District 48:District 48 is a Santa Fe County District and is represented by Tara Lujan and she is running unopposed for a second term.
District 51: This district is in heavily Republican Alamogordo area. Republican Representative Rachel Black is seeking her third term and is opposed I the primary John Block, the editor of a conservative news site. The Democrat in the race is Sharonlee Cummins. The District is likely to remain in the Republican column.
District 53: This is a Las Cruces area House District. In 2016 Republican Ricky Little beat Willie Madrid to win the seat, but in 2018 and 2020. Democrat Willie Madrid returned to beat Little. In 2022 both are running again, but Republican Ricky Little faces another Republican Elizabeth Lee Winterrowd in the primary. Willie Madrid is the lone Democrat running.
District 56: This is an Otero-Lincoln County seat. Republican State Representative. Zach Cook is not seeking reelection. The only candidate to file for the seat is Republican Harlan Vincent, the Ruidoso fire chief.
District 64: This a house seat where Republican Rep. Randall Crowder is not seeking another ter. Only Republican Andrea Reeb of Clovis has filed filed and no Democrat has filed. Reeb served 7 years as the District Attorney from the Ninth Judicial District and retired last year.
District 68: This is an Albuquerque area house seat. Democrat Rep. Karen Bash won the heavily Republican seat in 2020 mainly because her Republican predecessor was arrested for DWI. Bash has decided not to seek another term. Two candidates have filed. Democrat Charlotte Little is running and will face off with Republican attorney Robert Moss in the November general election. to keep the seat in the Dem column? Those are the two candidates who have filed for the seat. The district’s performance is rated is split almost evenly and it is a race to watch.
District 70. This is a Las Cruces area district. Conservative Freshman Democrat Representative .Ambrose Castellano is being challenged by Progressive Democrat Anita Amalia Gonzales. This is a repeat of the 2020 election where they both ran and Gonzales narrowly lost the Democratic nomination to Castellano. No Republicans have filed in the heavily Democratic district.
The link to the Secretary of State office candidate statewide filings are here:
The link to quoted news source material is here:
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The Democrat majority in the New Mexico House of Repetitive is not expected to change much. What will change for sure is who will be elected the new Speaker of the House after the November 8 general election and will the new speaker be a progressive or a moderate to conservative Democrat. Another big issue is will the progressive incumbents such be able to hold on to their seats.
Stay tuned and best wishes to all those who make the private sacrifice and have the dedication to run for public office.
The link to a related blog article is here: