You might be thinking—what is an article about politics doing on a site devoted to strange things in New Mexico? Well, that’s the thing: this state’s politics are strange. Residents consistently vote for their party, but more than a quarter of the state’s populous is either “Unaffiliated” or a member of a minor party. So, let’s break it down.
New Mexico currently has a Republican Governor and Lieutenant Governor—Susana Martinez and John Sanchez, respectively. They were elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014, meaning the state is facing a Gubernatorial election in the 2018 midterms. Martinez is a very moderate Republican, drawing praise from both sides of the aisle. She is the first female governor of the state and the first Hispanic female governor in the United States. Martinez supports lower government spending and pro-life but accepted the Griego v. Oliver decision and supports large portions of the Affordable Care Act.
According to voter registration and party enrollment documents from 2016, just under half of New Mexico’s populous is a registered Democrat (47%). The state is also 31% Republican, 19% Unaffiliated, and 4% are members of minor parties. Currently, both chambers of the New Mexico State Legislature have Democratic majorities. Their members of the United States Senate are Democrats Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, while their U.S. House of Representatives members are Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), Ben R. Lujan (D), and Steve Pearce ( R).
In the 2016 presidential election, around 48% of New Mexicans voted Democrat, whereas just over 40% voted Republican. In the 2012 election, 53% voted Democrat and 43% voted republican. These figures suggest that more New Mexicans are voting for Independent and Third-Party candidates, further adding to the state’s inability to be strictly defined. Regarding major political issues, New Mexico abolished its death penalty in 2009, but the state has some of the least restrictive firearms laws in the country. Before December of 2013, New Mexico law neither explicitly allowed nor prohibited same-sex marriage, but our Governor is notoriously pro-life.
New Mexico is a strange and wonderful place. Our political makeup is one of the strangest, most diverse in the country, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Our geography may be to blame—sandwiched between Mexico and conservative Arizona, we’re not surprised to see the populous coming down on both sides of the aisle.