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New Mexico’s US House delegation likely to be all women

Top from left: Deb Haaland, Alexis Johnson, Xochitl Torres Small. Bottom from left: Michelle Garcia Holmes, Teresa Leger Fernandez, Yvette Herrell

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico will most likely have an all-female U.S. House delegation for the first time, beginning in January.

All six of the major party nominees on the November ballot in the state’s three congressional races will be women, with Alexis Johnson’s win in the Republican primary in the 3rd Congressional District race.

Only an unlikely upset by independent candidate Steve Jones in the 2nd Congressional District featuring a rematch between Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small and former Republican state Rep. Yvette Herrell would keep that from happening.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland will face Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes in the 1st Congressional District race. Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez will face Johnson in the 3rd District.

New Mexico’s delegation would be the largest all-female delegation in the country in history. Hawaii and New Hampshire have had all-female two-member delegations, according to the Center for American Women in Politics.

“I think we’re seeing a lot of change in the Democratic Party, with a lot of women running since 2018, actually,” University of New Mexico political science professor Lonna Atkeson said. “It seems like a continuation of that change.”

She said the success of Republican women in the state “is a little more unusual.”

In fact, women made up two-thirds of the field in two of the three Republican congressional races Tuesday.

“That was pretty big,” Atkeson said. “That’s novel.”

New Mexico Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce said in a previous interview with the Journal that his party made an effort to recruit a diverse field of women, Hispanic and Native American candidates in both state and federal races.

Atkeson said the success of former Gov. Susana Martinez may have encouraged more Republican woman to run.

“There’s been a leader,” she said. “And we know that role models matter.”

According to the Center for American Women and Politics, only one other state, Iowa, will have women as the majority of congressional nominees.

New Mexico made history in 2018 when it became the first state with at least three House members to elect a delegation consisting entirely of people of color. That year, Haaland became one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress. Luján, who gave up his 3rd Congressional seat to run for U.S. Senate, and Torres Small are Hispanic.

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