Melanie Stansbury commons.wikimedia.org

It was a good night for the Blue Team in New Mexico, where Democratic state Rep. Melanie Stansbury easily beat Republican state Senator Mark Moores to take over the US House seat vacated by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in March. New Mexico's first congressional district was always going to be a Democratic hold, with Biden carrying it by 23 points last November, running seven percentage points ahead of Haaland's 16 point blowout. The only issue last night was the margin.

As Cook Political's Dave Wasserman put it yesterday:

Would there be a Republican resurgence in the burbs without Orange Man Bad stinking up the top of the ticket? Would Moores succeed in dragging Stansbury down by accusing her of wanting to defund the police and unleash the Unabomber on Albuquerque? Would Democratic enthusiasm flag without the ever-present danger of Trump to concentrate the mind?

NOPE.


When all the votes were counted, Stansbury won by almost 25 percent, blowing out Haaland's margin and even lapping Biden by a couple points. By Wasserman's standard, 15 points would have been a great showing for Stansbury, so 25 counts as a tidal wave.

It was a very good night for Democrats, the other Dave agreed.

Over in Nate-land, the reaction was similar, with the New York Times's Nate Cohn remarking that Democrats had a two percent higher turnout rate than Republicans (that's on top of there just being more of them).

But FiveThirtyEight's Nathaniel Rakich cautioned that piss-poor campaigning in a lost cause race does not mean the Republicans are in trouble in next year's midterms, pointing to Republican swings in the special elections in TX-06 and LA-05, as well as the Democratic over-performance in LA-02. And indeed, Democrats appear to have worked hard and dumped cash into this race, while Republicans largely ignored it.

(Nate Silver was too busy opining on COVID trends to comment.)

So, HOORAY it is Nicetimes. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi boosts her margin to eleven members, meaning she can lose five, rather than four, votes and still pass a bill. We're still waiting to fill House seats vacated in Ohio by HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge and Republican Steve Stivers, who left to run the state's Chamber of Commerce. There's also a special election in Florida to fill Rep. Alcee Hastings's seat, may his name be for blessing.

These races will take place in November, and they should all be comfortable holds for the incumbent party. As with last night, the issue is turnout, although Cook has a partisan lean of 30 percent in both Fudge and Hastings's seats, so who could blame the GOP for failing to mount any serious opposition. But Stivers's seat in OH-15 is only a nine-point Republican advantage, according to Cook (the same as NM-01), so perhaps we'll get some interesting data there, depending on who runs.

All in all, it was a good night for Democrats. With no primary, the party picked a middle of the road candidate who did well in the suburbs and seemed to have stopped the bleeding among Latinos. And Republicans didn't even take advantage of a cheap media market with 42 percent Hispanic population to test market campaign ads on a group they made major inroads with in 2020. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Naturally, Dave Wasserman had the gloomiest possible take on it, tweeting that "Dems' only hope for the midterms (but also one I'm not ready to dismiss): that the current GOP coalition is overly reliant on peripherally engaged voters who only bother to show up when Trump is on the ballot."

What just happened in Georgia on January 5? Can someone remind me?

Ah, well. Back to our regularly scheduled DEMS IN DISARRAY programming.

[FiveThirtyEight]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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