by Matthew Reichbach
Early voting in one key southern New México county is not only outpacing past years, it is so far beating out all other counties in the state.
As of October 15th, 4,304 Doña Ana County voters already cast their ballots either by early in-person voting or by returning absentee ballots.
And Democrats are happy, as 56.9 percent of those voters are Democrats. In 2016, 50.28 percent of early and absentee voters were Democrats.
Statewide, 22,702 voters have already cast ballots. Of those, 55.6 percent are Democrats, compared to 32.7 percent Republicans.
“It’s in everybody’s faces what is really going on and that we have the ability to take control of [the political process] in a way.”
Doña Ana County is home to less than 10 percent of all registered voters, but nearly 20 percent of the earliest voters have come from the southern New México county that’s the home of Las Cruces, the state’s second-most-populous city.
It is one of the few areas where Democrats can consistently win elections in the district, which is larger than the state of Pennsylvania and covers the southern portion of the state.
Members of both Democratic and Republican parties told NM Political Report that a number of things have come together to create the situation of high turnout, especially among Democrats, in the county.
Nayomi Valdez, the director of the New México Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign in the 2nd Congressional District, says the rush to the polls reflects organizing efforts by the Democratic Party and enthusiasm around the congressional race between Democrat Xochitl Torres Small and Republican Yvette Herrell as they battle for a seat held by Republican Rep. Steve Pearce for 14 of the last 16 years.
Valdez says the Democratic Party has more volunteers than they did in the 2016 election. While 2016 was a presidential election, New Mexico was not a battleground state that year.
“Definitely more volunteers,” she said. “It’s in everybody’s faces what is really going on and that we have the ability to take control of [the political process] in a way.”
Pundits consider the 2nd Congressional District race is a “toss-up” election, and one place Democrats can pick up a seat as the party seeks to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Valdez believes this election has also drawn more younger voters, who she said tend to vote for liberal candidates and issues.
“We’ve had a huge presence on the campus [of NMSU] with voter registration and going to high schools and things like that,” she said, noting there is no hard data on the age of voters.
She said the party has tried to educate younger voters about this election and what is needed to vote—and how they can help others to vote early as well.
“It’s been really interesting, just folks walking in off the street [into campaign offices] wanting to know how they can help,” Valdez said.
Matthew Reichbach is the Editor for New Mexico Political Report, read the entire article at nmpoliticalreport.com.
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