SANTA FE — The outcomes of three tightly-contested New Mexico state House races did not change after vote recounts were completed, giving Democrats a net pick-up of eight seats in this year’s general election cycle.
The state canvassing board certified the results of the three contests today, after county clerks in eight different counties conducted the taxpayer-funded recounts over the last week.
The recounts were triggered by a provision in state law that requires automatic vote recounts when the margin separating two candidates in a legislative race is less than 1 percentage point.
In the Albuquerque-based House District 20 contest, Democrat Abbas Akhil defeated incumbent Republican Jim Dines by a 114-vote margin, according to final official results.
In House District 22, which includes the East Mountains, Placitas and Algodones, Rep. Gregg Schmedes, R-Tijeras, turned back a challenge from Jessica Velasquez, a Democrat from Sandia Park. Schmedes ended up winning that race by 142 votes — up by two from the initial vote count.
The closest of the three races was in House District 63, a largely rural district that encompasses parts or all of five different counties, primarily in eastern New Mexico.
Republican Martin Zamora of Clovis won the race by a 25-vote margin over four-term incumbent Rep. George Dodge, D-Santa Rosa. The final margin was two votes closer than the original vote tally had it.
As a result of the recounts, Democrats will enter next year with a 46-24 advantage over Republicans in the state House — their largest margin in more than 20 years.