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Election 2016: Shake Up At The Roundhouse

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Democrats Win Majority In New Mexico House – The Associated Press

The Democratic Party has won a majority of seats in the New Mexico House of Representatives, taking back control of the chamber from the GOP.

With Tuesday's victory, Democrats now fill more than half the seats in the 70-member House after campaigning vigorously to regain the edge.

In 2014, Republicans got control of the House for the first time in six decades by a four-seat margin. The GOP hasn't controlled both chambers of the Legislature since 1929.

Incoming lawmakers will be dealing with a state budget deficit linked to the downturn in the oil and natural-gas sectors.

Republican House Majority Leader Nate Gentry had placed a high priority on criminal justice reforms during two legislative sessions this year, often in cooperation with GOP Gov. Susana Martinez.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Loses Re-Election Bid - The Associated Press

Democratic Majority Leader and five-term Sen. Michael Sanchez has lost his re-election bid to Republican Greg Baca.

The race was seen as a high-stakes proxy battle between Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and the Democratic attorney. Withering negative attacks sponsored by well-funded super PAC organizations targeted both candidates.

Negative ads with dubious claims about Sanchez and his treatment of crime victims were sponsored a political committee run by Jay McCleskey, the top political adviser to Martinez.

A Democrat-aligned committee highlighted Baca's arrest record in the distant past for DUI and a public fight.

Sanchez has been an outspoken critic of the governor's emphasis on stricter criminal sentencing laws.

The horseshoe-shaped, majority-Hispanic district sweeps from the southern outskirts of Albuquerque across Isleta Pueblo and Belen, encircling the community of Bosque Farms.

Las Cruces Democrat Wins Senate Seat - The Associated Press

Three-time Democratic state Rep. Jeff Steinborn of Las Cruces has unseated Republican Sen. Lee Cotter.

The southern New Mexico district stretches from Las Cruces to Hatch, and voter rolls are dominated by registered Democrats.

In October, Steinborn voted against an approved package of state agency spending cuts designed to reduce a major budget deficit. He has been a vocal proponent of ethics reforms.

Steinborn also serves as the southern New Mexico director for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.

Cotter, a real estate investor and former legislative analyst, was an advocate for limited government and fewer regulations.

In the 2012 election, Cotter defeated Senate Majority Whip Mary Jane Garcia, who was the subject of an ethics investigation that year over possible campaign finance violations.

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