James Verini, who also writes for the Los Angeles Times, filed his story after a spending time canvassing for Kerry in Las Cruces and Albuquerque. The story is long, but here are some of the juicy bits.
“Although New Mexico has only five electoral votes, it has done a good job of holding on to its crucial status for two reasons. First, because this election may come down to no more than five electoral votes. Second, because New Mexico represents the raw edge of voting in the U.S. and both parties know it. With a population that’s 42 percent Hispanic—the highest percentage of Hispanics in the country—the state is not so much a melting as a boiling pot, being wrenched from one side of the stove to the other by the competing appeals of old-school liberals and God-and-country conservatives.”
He later writes, “Still, as I continued to canvass New Mexico and talk with the state’s political scientists, I had to conclude that the smart money here was on Kerry. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 200,000—a ratio of 1.6-to-1—and nearly half of all the 140,000 newly registered voters are Democrats (25 percent were Republicans). What’s more, experts on both sides agreed, about 65 percent of the state’s huge bloc of Hispanics could now be counted on to vote Democratic. And ultimately that could tip the scales toward Kerry.”