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New Mexico state rep wins Democratic nomination for Haaland’s House seat

JIM WATSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
US Representative Deb Haaland, Democrat of New Mexico, testifies during the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on her nomination to be Interior Secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on February 23, 2021. 

New Mexico state Rep. Melanie Stansbury has narrowly clinched the Democratic nomination for Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s now-vacant House seat. 

Stansbury and state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez both advanced to a runoff after an initial vote by the New Mexico Democratic Party’s central committee on Tuesday failed to yield a clear winner. Sedillo Lopez received 37 percent of the vote in the first round, while Stansbury won just under 22 percent. 

Stansbury defeated her opponent 103-97 on Wednesday in a race decided by the Democratic Party’s State Central Committee.

With the nomination wrapped up, Stansbury will face Republican state Sen. Mark Moores in the June 1 special election to determine who will serve out the remainder of Haaland’s term.

Haaland stepped down from her House seat in March after the Senate voted to confirm her as President Biden’s Interior secretary, a vote that makes her the first Native American Cabinet secretary.

Stansbury, a consultant who worked in the White House Office of Management and Budget during the Obama administration, won her state House seat in 2018 when she defeated seven-term Republican incumbent Jimmie Hall by an 8-point margin. 

New Mexico’s 1st District, which includes most of Albuquerque, is considered relatively safe for Democrats. The party has held the seat for more than a decade, and Haaland won reelection in 2020 by a comfortable 16-point margin.

Tags Antoinette Sedillo Lopez Deb Haaland House races Joe Biden Melanie Stansbury New Mexico politics NM-01 Special Election
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