Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
Democratic incumbent Debra Haaland fended off a challenge from Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes in New Mexico's Congressional District 1 race to win a second term.
Pollster Brian Sanderoff called the race for Haaland early Tuesday night.
Unofficial results showed Haaland was leading the race 59% to 41%, according to the secretary of state's website about 9:30 p.m.
“I think I know my voters in this district. I am the candidate who fights for the issues that this district cares about,” Haaland said Tuesday night. “I feel very confident that the voters in District 1 know that I'm going to Congress to fight for the things that they care about.”
Haaland said one of those issues important to her constituents – which Haaland predicts will be a pressing issue during her next term – will be protecting the Affordable Care Act.
“They don't like Republicans trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and take away their health care,” Haaland said. “They don't care about (health care) just for themselves. They care about it for underrepresented communities. It's a human right.”
Garcia Holmes from the outset faced an uphill battle. Haaland was elected to the seat in 2018 by a whopping 23 percentage points over her GOP opponent, and the Democratic incumbent had a sizable fundraising advantage in this election.
A Journal Poll conducted Oct. 23 to Oct. 29 showed Haaland had a big advantage heading into Election Day. She was favored by 58% of voters, compared with Garcia Holmes, who had the support of 37%, according to the poll.
New Mexico's 1st Congressional District includes much of Bernalillo County, all of Torrance County, and parts of Sandoval, Santa Fe and Valencia counties.
Haaland's original election made history. She and Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kansas, in 2018 were the first Native American women ever elected to Congress.
Haaland told the Journal she predicts the biggest issues facing the country in the next two years will be coronavirus relief packages and trying to address racial and social justice. She said she's a “proud progressive” and some of her policy stances put her on the left flank of her party.
She has supported major environmental reforms such as the Green New Deal and even a ban on fracking, despite being a representative from one of the nation's biggest oil-producing states.
Garcia Holmes ran on a law-and-order platform, pledging that if she was elected she would push to increase federal law enforcement's presence in Albuquerque and the rest of the state. She also said during the campaign that she would support anti-abortion legislation.