Republicans won all three contested State House races in southeast New Mexico, maintaining control of the rural, conservative-leaning region at the Capitol in the Tuesday general election.
For New Mexico House District 66, Artesia Republican Jimmy Mason defeated Libertarian candidate Andrew G. Kennedy with 81 percent of the vote as Kennedy received 19 percent, according to unofficial results reported by the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office.
Both men ran for the seat vacated by Independent Phelps Anderson from Roswell.
The district now covers an area from east of Roswell to Lovington then to parts of Artesia and places in and around Carlsbad, after the boundaries were changed following the 2020 Census.
Before redistricting, District 66 covered parts of Chaves County, Roosevelt County and Lea County.
Mason ran on a campaign to clean up the New Mexico House, according to his Facebook campaign page.
“Being soft on crime creates more victims in New Mexico. Having one of the highest violent crime rates is not an achievement but a red flag that a turnover needs to happen in Santa Fe. Vote, and vote Republican this time for a safer New Mexico,” he wrote in a Facebook post nearly one week before Tuesday’s election.
He has been part of the family business, Bennie’s Western Wear, with locations in Artesia and Carlsbad for most of his life.
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In New Mexico House District 51 which covers Otero County, Republican John Block took the victory with about 63 percent of the vote after 91 percent of ballots were counted the the night of the election, records show. Democrat Sharonlee Cummins had about 37 percent.
Republican Block created conservative website the Pinon Pos. He previously worked in the administration of former-President Donald Trump, and worked in government affairs at Chevron.
Block is a local “activist” in Alamogordo, according to his campaign website and is critical of “corruption” he said was evident at the State Capitol in Santa Fe.
He espoused typical conservative values on the campaign trail, opposing abortion and gun restrictions and supporting law enforcement.
“Together, we proved the establishment wrong and won. But the fight has only begun,” Block said in a statement following the election. “As I promised throughout my campaign, I will fight tooth and nail to protect your rights and battle the Radical Left with everything I’ve got at the Legislature.
“I will work to advance our bold agenda and stop at nothing until we taste victory. The Santa Fe Swamp is no match for We The People.”
Democrat Sharonlee Cummins is a former U.S. Marine who ran and lost against District 3 Otero County Commissioner Vickie Marquart in 2020.
House District 56 encompassing parts of Lincoln and Otero counties saw Republican Harlan Vincent win the seat with about 68 percent of the vote after 93 percent of the ballots were counted Tuesday night, while his Independent opponent Elaine Allen won about 32 percent, according to initial unofficial results.
Vincent, a former fireman and emergency medical technician (EMT) who served as the Village of Ruidoso Fire Chief touted support of “Second Amendment rights” in his campaign, calling for stronger security at the U.S.-Mexico border and restoring “traditional family values.”
Allen, who served as District 5 Lincoln County commissioner for the past eight years and ran as an Independent criticized Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham along the campaign trail and vowed to stand up to Democrats in Santa Fe if elected to the post.
She chided Lujan Grisham’s COVID-19 response, arguing businesses were unfairly closed amid the pandemic − an effort to slow the spread of the virus − and vaccination requirements imposed by state health officials.
Allen, according to her campaign website, is a small oil producer and also attacked the governor for energy policy such as recently enacted air pollution restrictions on fossil fuel operations which Allen said only served to increase the fuel costs for consumers.
Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-628-5516, [email protected] or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.