Twelve of the 57 New Mexico state legislators running for re-election—eight Democrats and four Republicans—face contested primaries. That equals 21% of incumbents seeking re-election, the highest rate since 2014. The remaining 45% of incumbents are not facing primary challengers.
While there are fewer incumbents in contested primaries this year than in 2020 (12, down from 20), a higher percentage of incumbents running for re-election face contested primaries than in 2020.
The state House of Representatives holds elections in its 70 districts every two years. The state Senate, on the other hand, holds elections every four years to coincide with presidential elections. Only the House districts are up for election this year.
Despite the fact that only one chamber is holding elections this year, the number of open districts is at its highest since 2014. An open seat is one where no incumbents filed to run. This means 18.6% of the districts holding elections this year will be represented by newcomers.
Open districts most commonly exist when an incumbent chooses not to seek re-election. During redistricting, open districts might also exist if an incumbent is drawn into a new district, leaving their old district open.
In New Mexico, all 13 open districts were caused by incumbents choosing not to seek re-election. Every incumbent who filed for re-election did so in the district he or she represented before redistricting.
The filing deadline for candidates running for state legislative office in New Mexico this year was March 24. Candidates filed to run for all of the state’s 70 House districts.
Overall, 129 major party candidates filed to run: 69 Democrats and 60 Republicans. That’s 1.8 candidates per district, down from 2.1 in 2020 but up from 1.7 in 2018.
New Mexico has been a Democratic trifecta since voters elected Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) in 2018. Democrats currently hold a 26-15-1 majority in the Senate and a 44-24-1 majority in the House.
New Mexico’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for June 7, the sixth statewide state legislative primary date of the 2022 election cycle.