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GOP Congressional Challengers Face Defeat

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Arianna Sena
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Two New Mexico Republicans hoping to oust incumbents in Congress were handed big defeats on election night despite their efforts. 

When we spoke Tuesday night in his campaign headquarters, Allen Weh was still hoping to overtake Sen. Tom Udall and win his Senate seat. Instead, the retired Marine colonel ended up trailing in the polls. He said he’ll be happy to get back to work as the head of CSI Aviation after the election, and he mused, briefly, on the political system in America. 

"You know it’s funny, in this country, we don’t pick political leaders by looking at their résumé," Weh said. "Americans tend to pick their political leaders based on their like-ability, how they run a campaign. Nobody peels back the onion skin and says, 'Boy this woman, or this man, is really really qualified. We ought to hire them.'" 

At the campaign offices of Republican Congressional candidate Mike Frese, volunteers made phone calls to voters until 10 minutes before the polls closed. Incumbent Democrat Michele Lujan Grisham had the upper hand in campaign funding, and Frese’s campaign manager Max Barnett said it didn’t help that the Frese team got no backup from the national GOP.

"They don’t believe that it’s a winnable race due to voter registration," he said. "There’s about 35 percent more Democrats registered in congressional district 1 than there are Republicans."

Barnett said he was glad his candidate got out his message of decreasing government regulation during this election cycle. 

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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