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How the GOP won control of the NM House

For the first time since 1954, Republicans will have a majority in the New Mexico House of Representatives.

Democrats had entered Tuesday’s election night with a 37-33 advantage over Republicans, but that number has been flipped on its head. Based on unofficial election results, House Republicans gained a net of four seats in the 70-member chamber.

In all, five seats changed in the political column — with Republicans winning five Democrat-held seats and just one Democrat claiming victory in a GOP-controlled seat.

Here’s a look at the six races that changed in the political affiliation column:

* House District 15 — Republican challenger Sarah Maestas Barnes of Albuquerque ousted Democratic Rep. Emily Kane in a hard-fought race. Maestas Barnes –52.1%, Kane — 47.9%

* House District 24 — Republican Conrad James reclaimed his old House seat by defeating Rep. Liz Thomson, D-Albuquerque, in a rematch of a 2012 race. James — 52.1%, Thomson, 47.9%

* House District 39 — Incumbent Democratic Rep. Rodolpho “Rudy” Martinez of Bayard was upset by Republican John Zimmerman of Las Cruces. This one was a surprise, but Republican groups had poured money into it late. Zimmerman — 52.6%, Martinez — 47.4%

* House District 36 — Former Rep. Andy Nunez of Hatch, running as a Republican after previously serving in the Legislature as a Democrat and independent, knocked off first-term Rep. Phillip Archuleta, D-Las Cruces. Nunez — 54.1%, Archuleta — 45.9 %

* House District 53 — Another former legislator, Ricky Little of Chapparal, will head back to the House after defeating Democrat Mariaelena Johnson. The race was for an open seat, since Rep. Nate Cote, D-Organ, was not running for re-election. Little — 62%, Johnson — 38%

* House District 50 — The lone Democrat to post a win in a GOP-held district was Matthew McQueen, who lives outside Santa Fe. He defeated Rep. Vickie Perea, R-Belen, who had been appointed to the seat last year by Gov. Susana Martinez. McQueen — 54%, Perea — 46%

None of the legislative races appeared close enough to trigger an automatic, state-paid recount. The threshold for such recounts is half of 1 percent.

To check unofficial state election results, click HERE.

And check back later for more details on Tuesday’s election.

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