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Democrat Melanie Stansbury wins U.S. House race in New Mexico

 Melanie Stansbury speaks at a campaign rally
Democrat Melanie Stansbury was elected to succeed Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in the House of Representatives.
(Susan Montoya Bryan / Associated Press)

Democrat Melanie Stansbury has won election to Congress in New Mexico to fill a vacant seat previously held by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

Stanbury prevailed Tuesday in a four-way race after campaigning in support of major initiatives of the Biden administration. Her victory shores up the Democratic majority in Congress ahead of the 2022 midterm election.

Stansbury defeated third-term Republican state Sen. Mark Moores to fill an Albuquerque-based seat that has been held by Democrats since 2009.

Her victory preserves an all-female House delegation in the state.

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Libertarian nominee Chris Manning and independent Aubrey Dunn Jr. also sought the 1st Congressional District seat.

The 1st Congressional District encompasses Albuquerque, rural Torrance County and other outlying areas that include the Indigenous community of Sandia Pueblo.

Biden asks Vice President Kamala Harris to lead his administration’s efforts to protect voting rights as many states work to add restrictions.

The district’s voters have heavily favored Democratic candidates in recent years, favoring Joe Biden by 23 percentage points in 2020 and reelecting Haaland by a 16-point margin as voter participation reached an all-time high.

Tuesday’s election is among a handful of races to fill vacancies in Congress ahead of the midterm. Democrats held a 219-211 majority in Congress going into Tuesday’s vote in New Mexico.

New Mexico’s 1st District seat has been a steppingstone to higher office for Republican and Democratic politicians, including late Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan Jr., former Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The district relies heavily on federal military and research funding as home to Kirtland Air Force Base and Sandia National Laboratories.

President Trump in 2020 fell flat with Albuquerque-area voters after he sent federal agents to bolster local law enforcement efforts.

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Republicans last year flipped the state’s sprawling 2nd Congressional District in southern New Mexico as Yvette Herrell of Alamogordo ousted incumbent Xochitl Torres Small.


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