Friday, September 12, 2014

Race of the Day- New Mexico U.S. Senate

53 Days Until Election Day

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2012 Presidential Result: Blue State (West)

Outlook: Safe Democrat

Theoretically, New Mexico is a "purple" state, but it has had a strong blue tinge at the federal level since George W. Bush carried the state, in a modest upset, in 2004. While the state's Republican Governor looks to be in strong shape this election year, the incumbent Democrat Senator will probably win by a slightly bigger margin.

Tom Udall, like his cousin and Senate colleague Mark Udall of Colorado are both sons of prominent Arizona Democrat political figures. Moving on to other western states, both cousins were elected to the U.S. House on the same day, and both became Senators the same day as well. A more distant cousin, Republican Gordon Smith of Oregon, lost his Senate seat that day. Six years later, both Senators Udall are seeking a second term, but Tom has far less to worry about than his Colorado colleague and family member.

Udall of New Mexico has kept a fairly low profile during his freshman term and largely focused on local issues. There has not been a time when he looked like he might be vulnerable to any challenger in 2014 who might run. Nonetheless, two Republicans entered the primary. The establishment favorite was Allan Weh, a businessman and former GOP State Chairman. In 2010, Weh was the runner up in the Republican Gubernatorial primary behind eventual winner Susana Martinez. Also running was David Clements, an assistant district attorney, who had served the party as a local county chair. He was endorsed by some Tea Party groups and libertarian leaning Republicans, and made a stronger than expected showing, behind Weh, at an April party convention vote. The June primary however, was easily won by Weh, a 71 year old retired Marine Colonel.

Some have felt that in an absolute wave election, Weh might find himself in a more competitive contest with Udall. That does not seem to have happened though, as even voters who might have soured on Barack Obama's Presidency, seem willing to keep Udall in the Senate. While a CBS/New York Times poll from July showed the race as closer than expected, other polls show the incumbent well ahead. Weh is trying to use the illegal immigration issue to gain traction, but that remains to be seen if that might help him in a state with a very long history of legal immigration from south of the U.S. border.

Republicans have struggled in knocking off sitting Democrat Senators, but are very optimistic about being a few of them this cycle. The Senior Senator from New Mexico is not likely to be one of them though. Will he be the only Udall in the Senate though next year?

Weh campaign link:

Senate races predicted thus far: 10 D (6 Safe, 3 Leans, 1 Tossup), 13 R (5 Safe, 2 Likely, 4 Leans, 2 Tossup) 
Overall predicted thus far: 44 D, 43 R (net Republican gain of 5)


At 7:25 AM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Tom Udall wins around 57%-61% of the statewide vote in the U.S. Senate contest.


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