New Mexico’s House of Representatives is to remain firmly blue for the next legislative session, according to early unofficial general election results from the secretary of state. Thirty-three seats in the governing body were uncontested going into the election, leaving 37 up for grabs. Democrats had a majority of 38-32 in the last session, and appeared to have hung on to it for the 60-day gathering that begins Jan. 15.
Overall, women made a strong showing, taking six of seven open races that featured female candidates. Other female challengers knocked off incumbents, notably in three Albuquerque races that went to Democratic women, two of whom defeated male GOP incumbents. Republican Monica Youngblood, who served a day in jail this election season after a DWI conviction, lost her District 68 seat to Karen Bash. District 28 went to challenger Democrat Melanie Stansbury over Republican incumbent Rep. Jimmie Hall, and in District 29, Democrat Joy Garratt overtook Republican incumbent Rep. David Adkins.
Santa Fe’s three hottest races also appear to have gone to Democrats, with incumbents Brian Egolf and Jim Trujillo also sailing through with no ballot challengers. 
In House District 43, Los Alamos County Councilor Christine Chandler handily defeated Lisa Shin to keep the district on the side of Democrats in an area that’s been defined of late  by pundits as purple. Long held by Republican Jeannette Wallace, the seat was left open after three terms by Stephanie Garcia Richard, who appears to have run a successful campaign for land commissioner instead.
Shin is best known in the community for appearing on television during the GOP convention prior to the 2016 election. Chandler has been on the local governing body for eight years. She credits that name recognition and record of service with the win, as well as tons of in-person outreach.
“I started early trying to make connections with people to introduce myself to them. That seemed to work for the primary and I expect it to work for general,” she told SFR a few hours before polls closed.
In District 46, Andrea Romero fended off a challenge from write-in fellow Democrat Heather Nordquist with more than 80 percent of unofficial results published Wednesday morning.
Romero, who has worked as a consultant and contractor on quasi-government projects including as former director of the Los Alamos Communities Coalition, came under fire for purchases she made with public funds that she later was required to reimburse. She knocked out Carl Trujillo in the primary on a platform that more closely resembled Democratic Party talking points than Trujillo’s did; he sometimes sided with Republicans. She also enjoyed support from tribal leaders who tussled with the incumbent.

In District 50, Rep. Matthew McQueen appears to have held on to his seat in a district that spans from Eldorado, parts of Edgewood and to the Rio Communities east of Albuquerque in the counties of Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Torrance and Valencia. Fighting off a challenge from Independent Jarratt Applewhite, the Galisteo incumbent is likely to continue an agenda centering on environmental regulation from his role as chair of the House Natural Resources Committee. His strongest margins came from voters in Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties. (Julie Ann Grimm)