10 closely watched races for New Mexico House

10/21/2014 4:28 AM

Among the most closely watched legislative races that could determine whether Democrats retain their majority in the New Mexico House.

— District 4: First-term Republican incumbent Sharon Clahchischilliage of Shiprock is seeking re-election against Democrat Harrison Todacheene, a retired civil engineer who ran unsuccessfully for Navajo Nation president in 2006. The district historically has favored Democrats.

— District 7: Freshman Republican Kelly Fajardo of Belen is running for re-election against Democrat Teresa Smith De Cherif, a Los Lunas physician who defeated former Rep. Andrew Barreras in the primary. Fajardo defeated Barreras two years ago.

— District 15: Democrat Emily Kane, an Albuquerque firefighter, is seeking a second term against Republican Sarah Maestas Barnes, a lawyer, in a swing district evenly divided between the parties based on voting behavior in recent statewide elections.

— District 23: Freshman Republican Paul Pacheco, a retired Albuquerque police officer who won by 78 votes two years ago, is running against Democrat Catherine Begaye, a lawyer.

— District 24: First-term Democrat Elizabeth Thomson faces a rematch against former Republican Rep. Conrad James, whom she defeated in 2012 in an Albuquerque-area swing district.

— District 36: Democrat Phillip Archuleta of Las Cruces is seeking a second term against Republican Andy Nunez of Hatch, who lost re-election as an independent in 2012. Nunez is a former Democrat who held the seat for 12 years.

— District 37: In a rematch in the Las Cruces area, Republican Terry McMillan faces Democrat Joanne Ferrary, whom he defeated by eight votes in a recount in 2012.

— District 43: First-term Democrat Stephanie Garcia Richard, a teacher from Los Alamos, is running against Republican Geoff Rodgers, a Los Alamos County councilor.

— District 50: Republican Vickie Perea of Belen faces Democrat Matthew McQueen of Santa Fe in a Democratic-leaning district. GOP Gov. Susana Martinez appointed Perea last year to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Stephen Easley, a Santa Fe Democrat.

— District 53: Republican Rick Little of Chaparral is running against Democrat Mariaelena Johnson, a community organizer, to reclaim the seat he lost in 2012. It’s an open seat because Democratic incumbent Nate Cote is retiring.

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