The worst thing that can happen in politics is to begin believing your own spin. Apparently the latest victim to fall guilty of that is the New Mexico GOP.
‚ÄúComparatively, we did quite well next to other Republicans across the nation,‚Äù said Chris Atencio, political director of the Republican Party of New Mexico. ‚ÄúEven with Richardson‚Äôs millions and the national mood, local Democrats were unable to change the makeup of our state.‚Äù
To put this in perspective, the state of New Mexico has been under Democrat control for about 80 years. They control damn near everything. Governor Richardson won 32 of 33 counties last week. The few bright spots in the state for Republicans are the 28 seats we hold in the state House (out of 70), the 18 seats we hold in the State Senate (out of 42) two Members of the US House, one Senator, and the state land commissioner who was just reelected despite the party’s best efforts.
Let’s further define some terms. The 28 and 18 are pretty much a mathematical certainty that has more to do with the way the districts are drawn and the number of Republicans in the state. It would be possible to have less, but very difficult.
The land commissioner was actually a gift from the Democrats. The Democrats gave us that race when they nominated a guy who was so liberal that Clinton fired him from his Interior Secretary post. He was also a disaster as the Mayor of Albuquerque.
As an example, Baca turned a four lane bridge that took thirty years to build into a two lane bridge and two lane pedestrian foot path. He actually cordoned off one lane for foot traffic going each way and left the other lanes for vehicle traffic at 35 miles per hour. Not surprisingly, few pedestrians were willing to share the road with cars and trucks moving that fast, so the pedestrian side stayed empty until Mayor Chavez was re-elected.
Pat Lyons, the incumbent Republican land commissioner, had to run his own campaign without help from the state party. The state GOP bought billboards for and sent mail on behalf of every other Republican candidate for statewide office, but did nothing for Pat. Pat won in spite of the state GOP, not because of it.
Heather Wilson’s win, similarly, was due to the Democrats’ empty suit Congressional candidate who imploded in the week before the election, not to the NM GOP.
Given all of this, the only possible way the Democrats could have “changed the makeup of our state” would be to actively campaign for and elect Republicans. That may be a bit much to hope for.