Udall: Dems will need to ‘blow it’ to lose New Mexico in ’20

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U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, left, pins replacement medals to All Pueblo Council of Governors Chairman Edward Paul Torres during a special ceremony at Isleta Pueblo, N.M., Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Sen. Udall presented the medals to Torres and former Isleta Tribal councilman Diego Lujan, not seen, both veterans of the Vietnam War, after he found out the men were never presented with their earned military medals. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

ISLETA PUEBLO, N.M. (AP) — Democrats would have to “really blow it” to lose New Mexico, the nation’s most Hispanic state, to President Donald Trump in 2020, Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Udall said.

In an interview with The Associated Press last week, the state’s senior senator said Democrats still have a strong advantaged over Republicans in New Mexico next year’s general election. But he said the GOP is expected to work hard to try to capture the state and that Democrats must not be complacent.

“When we have a nominee, that nominee will need to have a strong and robust ground game and get-out-the-vote operation in New Mexico,” said Udall, who has not endorsed a Democratic candidate. “The nominee will need to spend time in the state and not take it for granted.”

Last month, Trump visited Rio Rancho, New Mexico, and vowed to win the state in the presidential election.

“You all look much better than you did three years ago. … You’re doing better than any other state,” Trump told a cheering crowd, taking credit for the state’s oil boom. “How do I lose New Mexico?”

Trump lost New Mexico to Democrat Hillary Clinton by eight percentage points in 2016. However, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, as a Libertarian, captured more than 9% of the state’s vote — giving Republicans hope they may be able to flip the traditionally Democratic state in 2020.

Republicans have not won New Mexico since 2004, when President George W. Bush prevailed over Democratic U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

Nearly half of New Mexico’s 2.1 million residents identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino — the highest ratio in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Former Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican who soundly defeated Democrats in two elections, said she believes the president could carry the state in 2020.

Martinez has urged Republicans to campaign in areas with large populations of Hispanic and Native American moderate voters.

“It’s very clear to me that the president can win New Mexico but he’s got to go places where Republicans usually don’t go,” Martinez told Fox News days after Trump’s visit to the state.


Follow Russell Contreras on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras

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