Final Analysis of 2024 Primary Election Results: Progressive Democrats Purge Conservative Democrats From Legislature; Speaker of the House Javier Martinez Addresses Divide Between “Progressives” And  “Moderates” 

The June 4 New Mexico Primary has come and gone. The unofficial statewide voter turnout was just under 23%, or a fifth of registered voters. A little more than 1 in 5 eligible voters turned in Bernalillo County, a tally slightly lower than the 2022 primary contest.  Low turnout also marked the statewide results where 225,000 New Mexicans voted in the primary election, or about 22% of the state’s 1,011,000 eligible voters.

Democrats turned out in greater numbers than Republicans in Bernalillo County.  About 47,500 Democrats cast primary votes, or about 66% of the total votes cast in the county. Republican voters cast 23,972 votes and Libertarians, 259 votes.  In total, Bernalillo County has about 199,209 registered Democratic voters, 117,889 Republican voters and 5,173 Libertarians, according to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office.

All 112 seats in Legislature are on this year’s general election ballot. Members of the state Senate stand for election every four years while House districts are on the ballot every two years. Democrats hold majority control in both chambers. There are 45 Democrats and 25 Republicans in the New Mexico House of Representatives. There are 27 Democrats and 15 Republicans in the New Mexico Senate. The 2025 New Mexico legislature convenes on January 21, 2025 and ends on March 22, 2025.


All but 7 Democratic incumbent legislators beat back challengers in the June 4  primary.  Republican voters in southeastern New Mexico ousted 2 recent Republican appointees of Governor  Michelle Lujan Grisham to select their own candidates.

In a final analysis one week after the election, the biggest take away is that progressive democrats purged conservative democrats from the New Mexico legislature.

With the unofficial statewide voter turnout of just under 23%, or a fifth of registered voters, progressives had some potential gains in the House of Representatives.  If the Democratic candidates nominated  can win in the general election, it will result in the state House moving  slightly further  to the left.


Three House Democrats from rural areas of New Mexico lost their bids for reelection. Those legislators were Willie Madrid from Chaparral, representing District  53  who lost to Jon Hill  58.06%  to 41.94%; Ambrose Castellano representing District 70’s representing Torrance and San Miguel counties who lost to Anita Gonzales 55.24% to 44.76% and  Harry Garcia of Grants, representing District 69 who lost to Michelle Abeyta 56.76% to  34.94%.  In the 2024 New Mexico legislative session, all 3 Democratic Representative voted against Senate Bill 3  which would have created the Paid Family Medical Leave Act. The bill died on the House floor on a 34 YES vote to a 36 NO vote.

Other House incumbents who voted NO on the  Paid Family Medical Leave Act legislation earlier this year survived their primary challenges. District 27 Democratic State Representative  Marian Matthews of Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights overcame a bid by  Progressive Democrat  candidate Greg Seely.  Mathews secured  56% of the vote compared to  Seely’s 44% in the Democratic primary. Matthews faces Republican Gregory Gallegos in the general election.

Democrat State Representative  Patricia Lundstrom  from District 9 successfully and forcefully fended off two challengers, taking 62% of the vote.  In the District 9 race , Christopher Hudson garnered 29%, and Arval McCabe had 9% percent. Lundstrom has no general election opposition. Lundstrom also voted against the Paid Family Medical Leave Act.

In the State Senate District  26  Democratic Primary, Incumbent Moderate Democrat Antonio “Moe” Maestas prevailed over Progressive Democrat Julie Radoslovich  in a highly contentious race 59.24% to  40.76%. There is no Republican running in the general election so Maestas returns to the Senate for a 4 year term.

Long time Democratic State Senator Daniel Ivy-Soto, District 15, lost in a major landslide to new newcomer and progressive Heather Berghmans 80% to 20%. Ivy-Soto for the past 2 years was plagued with accusations of sexual harassment.  Even though the ethics charges were dismissed and not proved, Ivy-Soto was pummeled with sustained attacks on his character. Berghmans will faces Republican Craig Degenhardt in the general election.

Long time Democratic Progressive incumbent State Senator Bill O’Neill, whose District 13 boundaries in Albuquerque were changed under redistricting, lost to the more progressive former Albuquerque City Councilor and former Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley by fewer than 200 votes.  O’Malley secured 52% of the vote to O’Niell’s 48% of the vote.

In Albuquerque Senate District 21incumbent Conservative Republican Mark Moores did not seek reelection. Progressive Democrat Athena Ann Christodoulou, who has run for the position 3 times before, prevailed over Moderate Democrat Philip A. Snedeker 76.09%  to 23.91%  In the Republican Primary for Senate District 21, Nicole Tobiassen garnered 43.96% prevailed over  Republicans Michael Wiener who garnered 30.45%  and  John C. Morton who garnered  25.58%. Senate District is considered a Republican leaning district and  conservative Republican Nicole Tobiassen is considered to have the distinct advantage over Progressive Democrat Athena Ann Christodoulou.

Native American advocate and Democrat Angel Charley beat out former State Senator Clemente Sanchez for Senate District 30 with 64% to 37% of the vote. Redistricting played a key role in this race. The Republican incumbent, Joshua Sanchez, decided to run for District 29 instead, and some Native communities like Isleta Pueblo are now part of District 30. Charley’s opponent, Sanchez, served eight years in the legislature until 2020 when he lost to progressives in the primaries.


On the Republican side, Greg Nibert, a Roswell attorney and former state representative, lost to rancher Patrick Henry Boone IV by 101 votes. In the three-way race, Larry Marker received 15% of the vote, compared with 41% for Nibert and Boone garnering 43%.  Nibert  was appointed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham  in January to fill the District 27 Senate seat vacated with the retirement of Republican Senator Stuart Ingle. Boone has no Democratic opposition in the general election.

Republican Larry Scott, who vacated his House seat to run for the state Senate this year, handily won over incumbent Steven McCutcheon in District 42. McCutcheon, a Carlsbad rancher and businessman, was appointed by Lujan Grisham to the seat in 2023.   Scott secured 61% of the vote compared with McCutcheon’s 39% of the vote.  Scott has no Democratic opposition in the general election.

Catherine Jeanette Cullen won the three-way Republican primary for House District 57 in Rio Rancho. She received 37% of the vote compared to John D’Antonio Jr. with 33% and Corrine Rios receiving 29%. They were vying for the open seat left by the resignation of Republican Rep. Jason Harper. Cullen now faces Democrat Michelle Sandoval in the general election.

In House District 31 in the far ABQ NE Heights, Nicole Chavez took the GOP nomination for the only Bernalillo county Republican House seat. But she is expected to get a strong Dem challenge in November.

Sandoval Republican County Commissioner Jay Block, an Trump Republican, prevailed over  former state Senator Candace Gould 68% to 32%. Block is expected to prevail over a Democratic  rival in the Republican leaning seat in November.


On June 10, the Albuquerque Journal published the following guest opinion column written by New Mexico Speaker of the House Javier Martinez regarding the Democratic Party primary election and the divide between “progressives” and “moderates”.  Below  is the guest column in full followed by the link:

“Throughout the recent primary election, we heard a lot about the supposed growing divide between “progressives” and “moderates” in New Mexico. While there certainly can be substantive policy differences among Democrats, we have to remember that there’s far more that unites us than divides us, especially since there is so much on the line this November.

The reality is that the robust competition in our primary actually demonstrates that New Mexico’s Democratic Party remains a “big tent.” That is certainly true in our House of Representatives, where our Democratic caucus is one of the most diverse in the country. As we prepare to welcome new faces and say goodbye to a few familiar ones, I am reminded of the saying: “Our diversity is our strength, our unity is our power.”

Your New Mexico House Democrats come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including educators, working parents, veterans, small business owners, Indigenous leaders, and immigrants. The majority of our Democratic representatives are women and people of color. Our lived experiences inform our perspectives as lawmakers and how we show up for our communities.

When we disagree with one another, we don’t shy away from difficult conversations. We work to find common ground without compromising our values. We understand that while we may sometimes have different views on the specific policies in front of us, we’re all united by a set of shared beliefs that guide our decisions in the Roundhouse.

We believe that hardworking New Mexicans should be able to get ahead and that all of our children deserve the best start possible. We believe our fundamental freedoms and rights are worth safeguarding. We believe in protecting our Land of Enchantment for generations to come and creating a sustainable economic future so that our children and grandchildren will choose to raise their own families in New Mexico.

Lastly, we believe that a community’s ability to elect the people who will serve them best is fundamental to our democracy.

New Mexico voters understand that elections have real, meaningful consequences on our lives. The 2016 election of former President Donald Trump, for example, resulted in tax cuts to benefit the wealthiest Americans on the backs of working families and the upending of federal protections for abortion, civil rights, and access to the ballot box.

On the other hand, electing a Democratic majority in the Roundhouse here in New Mexico allowed us to cut taxes for working families, safeguard reproductive freedom, and protect fair and open access to the ballot for all eligible New Mexicans.

This November we can choose the future we want for our state: Do we want to continue building a brighter, more equitable, welcoming, and inclusive New Mexico? Or, do we want to roll back our hard-won rights and freedoms and perpetuate the kinds of unequal systems that make it difficult for hard-working New Mexicans to get ahead?

Whatever our differences, New Mexico’s Democrats share a commitment to keep our state moving forward, not backward. In the coming months and weeks, we invite anyone who shares that vision to come under our big tent.”


Despite being a very low voter turn out, election night in the Democratic primary was clearly a major victory for Progressives within the Democratic Party. The hotly contested primary election campaigns focused on incumbent moderate to conservative Democrats seeking legislative posts who were opposed by far more  progressives candidates.

The 2024 primary saw progressives defeating incumbent State Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto and ousting conservative House Democrats Ambrose Castellano, Willie Madrid and Harry Garcia, all while bolstering turnout among women voters.  Ambrose Castellano was defeated 55% to 45%  by Governor Lujan Grisham  endorsed Anita Gonzales in District 70 in the Las Vegas area, and in House District 69  incumbent  Representative Harry Garcia was beaten  in a 3 way race to Michelle Abeyta, a lawyer and Navajo nation member. Representative Willie Madrid of House District 53 near Las Cruces was defeated by progressive Democrat Dr. Jon Hill, a lifelong educator. Long time State Senator Bill O’Neill was unable to fend off and aggressive campaign and lost to progressive and former Bernalillo County  Commissioner Debbie O’Malley 52% to 48%.

Notwithstanding, there were two major losses for Progressive Democrats. Albuquerque Democrat State Representative Marian Matthews came under severe attack from Progressive Greg Seeley for voting against the Paid Family Medical Leave Act but Matthews defended her vote and defended her seat by defeating Seeley with 56% of the vote.  Although Matthews represents a conservative leaning district, she does stick with the Democratic party on most votes.   Another defeat for progressives was State Senator Moe Maestas who successfully beat an aggressive challenge  by  the far more Progressive Julie Radoslovich beating her 59.24%  to  40.76%.

The primary election results will likely  decide the politics of next year’s 60-day legislative session which will convene in January 21,  2025.  With the  election of more Progressive Democrat candidates over more Conservative to Moderate Democrats there will be the passage Legislative bills that failed to win enough votes in the past. The best example is the Paid Family Medical Leave Act. New Mexico’s Democratic-led House of Representatives narrowly rejected a bill during the 2024 legislative session that would have guaranteed paid time off for workers to cope with serious illnesses or care for newborns and loved ones, amid concern about companies’ opposition in an election year. The proposal failed 34-36 on a final vote. Eleven Democrats in the House voted with Republicans to kill the measure. Watch the legislation reemerge in the 2025 session and  be enacted.

Speaker of the House Speaker  Javier Martinez is to be commended for the leadership he has exerted through out his time as Speaker and  can be proud of what he has  been able to accomplished.  He is commended for reminding all Democrats what is truly at stake in the 2024 election.

The link to a related blog article is here:

2024 New Mexico Primary Election Results For Bernalillo County,  State Senate and House Races And Santa Fe DA Race; Low Voter Turn Out


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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.