Republicans led in early voting throughout the rural southeast region of New Mexico as Democrats were ahead in urban areas and in overall statewide turnout, a day before the Nov. 8 general election, records show.
Early voting ended Saturday in New Mexico as 224,855 Democrats voted early or absentee statewide compared to 152,087 Republicans, according to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office.
The statewide trend was driven by turnout in New Mexico’s heavily populated, urban areas, with Democrats leading Republicans in Bernalillo, Dona Ana and Santa Fe counties, read data from the Secretary of State.
More than 91,000 Democrats voted early in New Mexico’s largest county Bernalillo while more than 52,000 Republicans voted early along with more than 23,000 who declined not state any party affiliation.
Democrats in New Mexico’s second-largest county, Dona Ana, led Republicans by nearly 6,800 people.
More than 5,000 people in Dona Ana County declined not to state any political party affiliation.
Democrats in Santa Fe, New Mexico’s third populous county led Republicans by nearly 28,000 absentee and early voters.
Nearly 6,000 Santa Fe County residents declined to state political party during early voting, read Secretary of State figures.
Democrats are not resting as early voting concluded, said Democratic Party of New Mexico Spokesperson Daniel Garcia.
“Leading up to election day, the Democratic Party of New Mexico has hundreds of volunteers eager to talk directly to voters through canvassing and phone banking,” he said.
“Other volunteers put up signs, help around the office, write postcards, and walk in parades to support our Democratic candidates up and down the ballot. We also have rallies all across the state, so candidates have the opportunity to meet voters one on one.”
Republicans hope to sway voters ahead of election
Republicans in Eddy, Lea, Chaves, Otero, and Lincoln counties led Democrats by wide margins, per the Secretary of State’s office.
The number of southeast New Mexico residents not affiliating with Democrats or Republicans varied from 2018 when the governor’s office was last on the ballot.
Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham defeated Republican Steve Pearce four years ago for the office, after Republican former-Gov. Susana Martinez could not seek another term due to term limits.
Numbers of those declining to state party dropped from 2018 to 2022 in Chaves and Lea counties and rose in Eddy, Lincoln and Otero counties, data read from the Secretary of State.
State Sen. David Gallegos (R-41) said it was difficult to predict when voters would change their party affiliation or not identify with a party, but he was hopeful unaffiliated voters could be swayed to return to the GOP in 2024
“I’ve got family members that wouldn’t change from Republican party to Democrat it’s too big of a leap for them. I know they’ve gone to decline to state and I think there are some Republicans unhappy with the lack of work done to check on voting irregularities. I think those two groups are going to non-declared,” he said.
The largest concern for the first-term Republican senator who represents portions of Lea and Eddy County in Santa Fe, he said, was a lack of turnout.
“They’re not going to switch from non-declared if they don’t vote. Or wanting to make a statement and I think they have the right to do that,” he said.
“What scares me are those people not willing to vote for whatever reason. If you don’t like they way things are now, you need to vote.”
Garcia said the Democratic Party wants voters’ voices heard in every election, regardless of party affiliation.
“Even if a voter has switched their registration to declined to state, the Democratic Party still works tirelessly to reach these voters and fight to make sure they can participate in free, secure, and fair elections,” he said.
Who and what is on the ballot?
A majority of statewide races are on the ballot, including governor where Lujan Grisham was challenged by former Albuquerque television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti.
Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez and Republican Jeremy Gay ran for the open seat of New Mexico Attorney General. Current Attorney General Hector Balderas could not seek reelection due to term limits.
Democratic Secretary of State incumbent Maggie Toulouse Oliver sought reelection against Republican Audrey Trujillo and Libertarian Mayna Meyers.
New Mexico State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard sought reelection against GOP challenger Jeff Byrd, a member of the State’s Public Regulation Commission.
All three of New Mexico’s U.S. House seats are on the ballot along with seats in the New Mexico Legislature and ballot initiatives related to spending public money and amending the state constitution.