Russell Contreras, Associated Press, November 7, 2018
New Mexico is set to have a U.S. House delegation made up of all people of color after a historic win Tuesday by a Native American candidate, a victory by a five-term Hispanic incumbent and a too-close-to-call contest between two other minority candidates.
It’s believed to be a first for any state with at least three House seats.
Democrat Debra Haaland defeated Republican Janice E. Arnold-Jones in the race for one of New Mexico’s open U.S. House seats, becoming one of the first Native American women elected to Congress. She also beat Libertarian Lloyd J. Princeton in the district that includes Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest city.
The seat was open because incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham opted to run for New Mexico governor. She won, meaning the reins of state government will pass from one Latina to another as termed-out Gov. Susana Martinez leaves office.
Meanwhile, a hotly contested U.S. House race in southern New Mexico — between Republican Yvette Herrell, a member of the Cherokee Nation, and Democrat Xochitl Torres Small — remained too close to call late Tuesday. Torres Small is a granddaughter of Mexican immigrants.
Regardless of who wins, the state’s House delegation will be all people of color.
Haaland is an enrolled Laguna Pueblo member. She was one of a three Native American women seeking to become among the first elected to Congress on Tuesday.
According to the U.S. Census, around 49 percent of New Mexico’s population is Hispanic and about 11 percent is Native American. However, the voting participation of both populations historically has lagged behind whites.