Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

The Final Call

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In the final hours of the campaign the races in New Mexico seem to be etched in stone. The majority of polls show President Obama claiming the state’s five electoral votes and U.S. Senate candidate Martin Heinrich is predicted to win Jeff Bingaman’s seat. Although the races appear to be settled, Republican advocates and Super PACs are making last ditch efforts to drum up support for local Republican candidates such as Heather Wilson and Janice Arnold-Jones.

Last week, Senator Marco Rubio and Governor Susana Martinez appeared at a rally in support of Heather Wilson and other local candidates. Rubio spoke to the crowd about the importance of small businesses and focused on achieving the American Dream. Ivy Wilborn, a member of the Young Republicans at New Mexico State University, attended the rally and said that even though the crowds were mainly there to hear Rubio speak, his presence and Governor Martinez’s endorsement seemed to help Wilson and will hopefully allow her to connect more with Hispanic voters.

GOP superstars are not the only tools the party is using to give local Republicans a boost. Karl Rove’s Super PAC, Crossroads GPS, invested $500,000 in television ads aimed at helping Wilson close the gap with Heinrich. The Restore Our Future Super PAC has also purchased ads in New Mexico. The organization purchased $700,000 worth of airtime as a last-minute blitz to block the President’s momentum. However, Wilborn doesn’t think Romney can win the state because President Obama has a strong following due to his grass roots efforts with Hispanics and the most populous cities in New Mexico, which are predominantly liberal. Senator Tom Udall told the Journal that throwing money at the state won’t help Romney because he hasn’t run a real campaign in the state for the last two months, “Romney has been invisible in New Mexico and it mystifies me that they are now going to spend a whole bunch of money. President Obama has run a very good on-the-ground organization.” The President does have the clear advantage because of his grass roots efforts that have carried over from 2008. I think Udall is correct in claiming that Romney can’t expect to win by flooding the state with ads hours before the polls close.

Despite GOP efforts to make a last minute push, I think the results have been well decided for quite some time now. President Obama will win the state, Heinrich will clinch the Senate seat, incumbents Steve Pearce (R) and Ben Ray Lujan (D) will maintain their seats in the House and Michelle Lujan Grisham will win Heinrich’s open seat in the House. I am no expert but I think the people of New Mexico have had their minds made up for quite some time and no amount of star power or money will sway them.

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