A national outlet says New Mexico has a very good chance of flipping from a Republican governor to a Democratic one.
In fact, National Journal predicted this week that New Mexico is the second-most likely state to elect a governor from a different party than the incumbent in the coming year. Governor Susana Martinez, a Republican, cannot run for a third consecutive term because of term limits.
From National Journal (story is behind a paywall):
“Martinez’s favorability has faded as the economy stagnates in the Democratic-trending state. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a former state Cabinet official backed by EMILY’s List, is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination and general election next year. She’ll face primary opposition from the son of a former governor, a state senator, and potentially others. Republicans have cleared the field for Rep. Steve Pearce, who starts from behind when it comes to cash on hand.”
The top-eight races in the outlet’s ratings are all currently held by Republicans. Republicans currently hold 33 governorships out of the 50 states. Of the 50 states, 38 have gubernatorial races either in 2017 or 2018. Republicans hold 27 of those states compared to 10 Democrats and one independent.
In addition to Lujan Grisham, state Sen. Joseph Cervantes, former Univision executive Jeff Apodaca—whose father Jerry served as New Mexico’s chief executive from Jan. 1975 through Jan. 1979—and alcohol-tax activist Peter DeBenedittis are running for the Democratic nomination for governor
Pearce is the lone Republican running for the seat. While National Journal says he is behind in cash on hand, Pearce is suing the Secretary of State in an attempt to use funds in his federal campaign account for the state race.
Richard Ellenberg, the chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, lauded the ranking and said, “Democrats’ plan to increase wages, provide tools and training to succeed, and invest in our economy will bring a better deal for everyday New Mexicans.”
Sabato’s Crystal Ball, which does not rank races but does rate each race by how likely a party is to win, rates New Mexico as “Leans Democratic.”
Crystal Ball, in its initial post announcing ratings this April, noted that Republicans are “overexposed” in gubernatorial races.
“Republicans will be defending nine governorships in states Clinton won—Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, and Vermont—while Democrats will be defending just one governorship in a Trump-won state (Pennsylvania),” the outlet wrote.