Tough to See a Clear ‘Weh’ to Victory in New Mexico

by Jim Geraghty

You’re seeing some Republicans buzzing about the new poll out in New Mexico showing Democratic senator Tom Udall was backed by 50 percent of likely voters in a new Journal Poll on New Mexico’s U.S. Senate race, but Republican challenger Allen Weh at 43 percent. That’s a nice jump for Weh, as Udall led by 13 in the last poll, and the gap was 18 points back in August.

While I’d love to say Weh has a . . . “way” to victory, what we’re seeing here is Weh, a dramatically underfunded challenger, reaching the usual level of support for a Republican in a New Mexico U.S. Senate race. In 2012, Heather Wilson lost the New Mexico Senate race, 51 percent to 45 percent, to Democrat Martin Heinrich. Back in 2008, as Obama was winning the state in the presidential election, Udall beat GOP congressman Steve Pearce, 61 percent to 38 percent. You can find additional factors that may make this one even closer — midterm-year turnout instead of presidential-year turnout, the gloomy national mood, the low motivation of Democrats this cycle, and perhaps even coattails from Governor Susana Martinez, set for a big win — but history tells us that candidates trailing by 7 or more percentage points this close to Election Day almost never win.

An Alleh Weh win over Tom Udall would be on par with some of the all-time Republicans upsets — up there with George Nethercutt beating House Speaker Tom Foley in 1994, or Dan Rostenkowski’s defeat that same year.

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