How New Mexico went from battleground state to blue

For five long weeks, the White House hung in the balance as one of the closest, most wrenching presidential campaigns in history went deep into overtime.

It all came down to Florida , where Republican George W. Bush was finally declared the winner, by Supreme Court decree . The official margin was 537 votes.

But in 2000, one state was even closer.

Lost amid Florida’s tumult and all the legal gladiating was Al Gore’s victory here in New Mexico, where the Democrat prevailed by a mere 366 votes.

The outcome may have lacked urgency; Florida’s 25 electoral votes decided the contest . But the result established New Mexico as one of the country’s foremost presidential battlegrounds, a status reaffirmed in Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign when he won the state by less than a percentage point.AdvertisementSince then, it’s been one Democratic victory after another — none of them close. For much of its history, the West was Republican ground. Today, it’s a bastion of Democratic support, a […]

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Michelle Rojas-Soto is Social Justice Director at the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council and Managing Director at Encompass, a racial equity nonprofit. Her children attend LAUSD and Glendale USD schools.

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