SANTA FE (KRQE) — While the presidential and congressional races in New Mexico have clear front-runners in next week's election, the battle for control of the Roundhouse is anything but settled.
For the first time in decades, Republicans have a real chance to takeover the House of Representatives. Democrats outnumber Republicans, 36-33, with one Independent caught in the middle.
"We've got a lot at stake," said UNM Political Science Professor Gabe Sanchez. "I'm maybe looking at five, six, seven races that are up for grabs."
Six House districts are split down the middle, where neither party holds a distinct advantage in registered voters. Five of the six are currently held by Republicans.
"The governor has been very effective at raising outside money and targeting where they think they can pick up their seats," said Sanchez.
The governor's political action committees, Reform New Mexico Now and Susana PAC, have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to back local candidates. Patriot Majority New Mexico, a Democrat-backed PAC, has also hit the airwaves with negative ads against Republicans.
Some closely contested races include:
House District 7, where Andrew Barreras, a Democrat, faces Republian Kelly Fajardo; Republican Rep. David Chavez is leaving the House to run for State Senate
House District 15, where Albuquerque firefighter Emily Kane, a Democrat, faces Republican attorney Chris Saucedo; Democrat Rep. Bill O'Neill is leaving the House to run for State Senate
House District 43, where Republican incumbent Rep. Jim Hall of Los Alamos faces Democrat Stephanie Garcia Richard
Sanchez said the GOP will try to hold those seats, then gain a few more to give the governor a big win.
"That would give her a lot of ability to enact her policy agenda, so that's what's at stake," said Sanchez.
Republicans only need to gain two more seats for a takeover of the House. The governor's PACs are trying to unseat the top two leaders in the Senate - President Tim Jennings of Roswell and Majority Floor Leader Michael Sanchez of Belen. Democrats in the Senate, however, hold a wide lead over Republicans, 28-14.
Copyright 2013 KRQE TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Did you like this article? Vote it up or down! And don't forget to add your comments below!
New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.