June 4, 2021

Democrats are celebrating a landslide win Tuesday in a special election for an open seat in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. State. Rep. Melanie Stansbury defeated Republican State Sen. Mark Moores by nearly 25 points, 60-36%. The Democrats were sweating over this race because losing it would mean (A.) an even narrower House majority and (B.) bad prospects for the 2022 elections. But now they’re crowing that the Democrats are “stronger than ever” and people are rejecting Republicans’ “fear-mongering” about their policies.

Yeah, that’s the official line. Here’s the real takeaway from this:

This is the safest of safe Democrat seats. It’s in solid blue Albuquerque, and Biden won it just seven months ago by 23 points. A Libertarian and an Independent siphoned off 4% of the vote, which means that Stansbury’s actual margin of victory over all challengers was 20 points, a 3-point drop in the bluest of safe blue seats in a low-turnout election.

To get to that margin, the Democrats did everything they possibly could, including an endorsement from President Biden, visits from state and national big names like First Lady Jill Biden, and outspending Moores on advertising by 2-1. Analysts are now saying that a victory of more than 15 points should make Democrats “very happy.” But winning by 15 points, or even 20 points, after going all-out in a safe district they’d just won in November by 23 points? That don’t impress me much. In a close district where Republicans really fight for it, losing three points could mean losing the seat; and the races like that in 2022 will far outnumber the Dems’ microscopic majority margin.

Oh, and one other thing: when Republicans slam Democrats for opening up the borders to let in drug gangsters and other criminals they refuse to arrest and deport; and for defunding the police while releasing criminals from jails, going away with bail and refusing to prosecute rioters, resulting in record leaps in violent crime; pointing all that out isn’t “fear-mongering.” It’s just alerting the voters to the fact that their opponents are nuts.

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