Nov 22, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Hispanics will hold nearly all New Mexico statewide office

NM Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Lt. Gov. Howie Morales, AG Raúl Torrez, Public Lands Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard, State Auditor Joseph Maestas and State Treasurer Laura Montoya.

From left, clockwise: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Lt. Gov. Howie Morales, Attorney General-elect Raúl Torrez, Public Lands Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard, State Auditor-elect Joseph Maestas and State Treasurer-elect Laura Montoya. Photos: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images, Office of Lieutenant Governor, Bernalillo County DA, New Mexico State Land Office, courtesy of Joseph Maestas and Laura Montoya campaigns

New Mexico has elected the most Latinos to statewide office of any state — and they're all Democrats.

  • Hispanics will now hold almost all statewide offices in New Mexico.

The big picture: The Democratic sweep in the state with the highest percentage of Hispanics illustrates their loyalty in the state to the Democratic Party despite some GOP gains in places like South Texas.

Details: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham won a second term with 52% of the vote this month despite a major national GOP push for her Republican opponent, former TV meteorologist Mark Ronchetti. Lt. Gov. Howie Morales, also a Democrat, was re-elected, too.

  • Lujan Grisham became the third Hispanic New Mexico governor in a row to win re-election. No other state has elected three people of color to governorships in a row.
  • Raúl Torrez was elected attorney general; Laura Montoya took the state treasurer race; Stephanie Garcia Richard was re-elected as public lands commissioner; and Joseph Maestas captured the state auditor spot.
  • Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver is the only non-Hispanic statewide officeholder.

Background: New Mexico, where about 48% of the population is Hispanic, has a long history of electing Latino candidates to state offices.

  • Ezequiel Cabeza de Baca, a former journalist, was the state's first Hispanic governor in 1917, but he was only in office 49 days before dying of an illness.
  • The state has had six other Hispanic governors since then.

Today Hispanics make up about 40% of New Mexico's legislature, the highest percentage of any state, according to the state's Legislative Council Service.

Yes, but: The state was without a Latino U.S. senator for 44 years until Ben Ray Luján was elected in 2020.

What they're saying: The latest crop of Latinos elected to state office skew younger, Sisto Abeyta, a New Mexico Democratic operative, told Axios.

  • The average age of legislators in New Mexico was previously 65-70 years old, while many now serving are under 55, Abeyta said.
  • "These Latinos also have made alliances with white progressives, and they will likely be around for a while."

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