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Keep it within the fence posts

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Lawmakers get to design their own district boundaries

By Jay Miller

Unlike Congress, the New Mexico Legislature is not teetering on the brink of a Republican coup this year. Democrats have firm control  of both houses.
Democratic control of the Senate is assured for next year because no Senate terms expire this year. Senators like it that way. All the statewide offices are up for election this year. So senators can take a free shot at them without having to relinquish their Senate seats.
This year, Sen. Dianna Duran is the GOP nominee for secretary of state. Sens. Linda Lopez and Jerry Ortiz y Pino ran for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. And Sen. Linda Lovejoy is running for president of the Navajo Nation.
Rep. Janice Arnold Jones, on the other hand, had to give up her House seat in order to run for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.
Democrats have a 45-25 edge in House seats going into the election. In order to gain a majority, Republicans would have to win 11 democratic seats and lose none.
Such a feat might be possible somewhere but it is unlikely in New Mexico. Our state is ranked 42 in electoral competitiveness. That ranking comes because our lawmakers have no term limits.
They get to design their own district boundaries so they design them for life. That  means Democrats design safe Democratic districts and Republicans design safe Republican districts.


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