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US Senate 2012 Election in New Mexico

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US Senate 2012 Election in New Mexico
This article presents facts, analysis, and predictions for New Mexico's 2012 U.S. Senate election race.

See 2012 Senate Elections - Who's Winning, Who's Losing for an overview of all 33 US Senate races, on a state-by-state basis.

The Incumbent US Senator
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, a Democrat, has served 30 years, five terms in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Bingaman has a solidly pro-peace, pro-choice, pro-public education voting record, but is respected and best known for his expertise on energy matters, including alternative energy sources and energy conservative measures. Since 2007, he has chaired the influential Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman has opted to retire, and run for a sixth term as U.S. senator from New Mexico.

New Mexico's 2012 Senate Race
Victors of New Mexico's June 5, 2012 senatorial primary elections were Republican Heather Wilson and Democrat Martin Heinrich.

Former Congresswoman Heather Wilson served in the House of Representative for six terms, ending in 2009. She previously ran in 2008 for the U.S. Senate, but failed to win the Republican nomination. Republican Heather Wilson graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy, and served in the U.S. Air Force for 11 years. She retired in 1989 after reaching the rank of Captain.

Rep. Martin Heinrich, now completing his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Heinrich is a staunch environmentalist who received the Sierra Clbu's first endorsement for the 2012 election cycle. He served on the Albuquerque City Council for four years.

Who Will Win?
Per a Santa Fe, New Mexico newspaper, "'This will be one of the most spirited races in the nation,' pollster Brian Sanderoff said of the Senate matchup between Wilson, the Republican, and Heinrich, the Democrat."

RealClearPolitics.com rates New Mexico's 2012 U.S. Senate race as "Leans Democratic," largely because New Mexico usually elects Democrats to Congress.

Republican Heather Wilson, however, quite possibly could prevail in November, just as Republican Susana Martinez won New Mexico's 2010 gubernatorial election.

Recent Election Results
New Mexico's two U.S. senators serving in the 112th Congress (2011 to 2012) are:

  • Democrat Jeff Bingaman, retiring after serving five terms
  • Democrat Tom Udall, serving his first term after ten years in the U.S. House of Representatives
Both Governor Susana Martinez and Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez are Republicans.

Among New Mexico's three-member U.S. House of Representatives delegation, two are Democrats and one is a Republican party member.

In the last four presidential elections, New Mexico voted as follows:

  • 2008 - 57% for Democrat Obama, 42% for Republican McCain
  • 2004 - 50% for Republican Bush, 49% for Democrat Kerry
  • 2000 - 48% for Democrat Gore, 48% for Republican Bush
  • 1996 - 49% for Democrat Clinton, 42% for Republican Dole, 9% for Other
New Mexico Economic Facts and Voter Demographics
Hispanic Population - Almost half of all New Mexico residents, 46.3%, are of Hispanic heritage, which ranks first among all states.

State Residents Living Below Poverty-Level Income - A high percentage of New Mexicans, 17.1%, live below the poverty line, a percentage that ranks 5th among all states, behind four southern U.S. states.

Unemployment Rate as of June 2011 - New Mexico's unemployment rate remained well below the national average in 2011, and was 6.8% in June 2011.

Foreclosure Rates as of June 2011 - Like unemployment, New Mexico's home foreclosure rate was well below the national average throughout 2011. In June 2011, New Mexico's foreclosure rate was 1 in 1254 homes, which ranked 29th among all states.

Labor Union Membership - New Mexico is home to 94,000 labor union members, representing 11.6% of all workers within the state.

Senior Citizen Population - Residents 65 years old and over are 13.2% of New Mexico's population, which ranks 32nd among all states.

Women as a Percentage of State Population - Women comprise 50.6% of all New Mexico residents, which ranks 29th among all states.

African-American Population - Only 2% of New Mexico residents are African-Americans, which ranks 39th among all states.

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