(CNN)Democratic state Rep. Melanie Stansbury will win the special election to represent New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, CNN projected Tuesday, securing the seat left vacant when Interior Secretary Deb Haaland joined the Biden administration.
Stansbury, a scientist who has served in the New Mexico state House since 2019, defeated Republican state Sen. Mark Moores. Her victory for the seat, which had been vacant since March, will give the narrow Democratic majority in the US House a bit more breathing room.
The central New Mexico district, which includes most of Albuquerque, was considered favorable ground for Democrats: The congressional seat has been in Democratic hands since 2009, after former Republican Rep. Heather Wilson retired to launch a Senate bid that ultimately failed. And Democratic presidential nominees have won the district in every election since 2004. Joe Biden defeated then-President Donald Trump there by 23 percentage points last year.
While the election doesn’t alter the balance of power in the US House, it brings the Democrats’ narrow majority to 220-211, with four seats vacant.
State Democratic Party Chair Jessica Velasquez said in a statement late Tuesday that “Democrats sent a clear message during this election that we’re not taking anything for granted when it comes to electing leaders who truly represent our values.”
She added: “We know the importance of electing strong Democrats like Melanie Stansbury, and we
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