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Stansbury Wins Special Election for Haaland’s House Seat

June 2, 2021 by Dan McCue
Democratic congressional candidate Melanie Stansbury speaks during a campaign rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Thursday, May 27, 2021. She was joined by Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris. The trip marked Emhoff's first on behalf of a candidate. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

Democrat Melanie Stansbury claimed a decisive victory Tuesday night in a contested special election for Congress in New Mexico, easing fears in some corners of her party that a close result could have been a sign of disaster to come in next year’s midterm elections.

As of Wednesday morning, Stansbury had garnered the support of 60.3% of the electorate, while her Republican challenger, Mark Moores, had received the support of just 25% of voters.

Stansbury’s dominating performance represented an early vote of confidence in the Democratic-controlled White House and Congress in a heavily Hispanic district and will likely quiet concerns in the party about its prospects going into the 2022 midterm elections.

Prior to the votes being counted, a number of political observers, including Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman, had suggested that a Stansbury victory by 15 points or more would be good for Democrats heading into the midterms, while a margin under 10 would have Republicans stoked heading into next fall.

During her campaign, Stansbury focused primarily on economic fairness, the urgency of addressing climate change and the importance of Democrats’ retaining their four-seat House majority

Moores, a state senator, ran almost entirely on crime, assailing Stansbury for endorsing a bill in Congress that would shift money away from police departments. In the end, that argument failed to resonate with voters, and while she responded to it with an ad, she never became consumed with pushing back at Moores’ claims.

The race also saw Moores left largely on his own by national Republicans, while First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Second Gentleman, Doug Emhoff, both appeared with Stansbury in Albuquerque.

Democrat donors also came through for Stansbury, enabling her to overwhelm Moores on the airwaves.

Stansbury raised nearly $1.2 million in the last reporting period, from April 1 to May 12, while Moores brought in just $344,000 in the same period, according to FEC filings.

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