New Mexico's Delegate Allocation Is Fair & Simple

by Joseph D. Lyons

With the final days of the primary elections dominated by talk of California, the West Coast population center whose Democratic delegates will likely decide that race, not much attention has been given to New Mexico. That changed this past weekend when Donald Trump announced plans to make nice with the state's female, GOP governor, Susana Martinez — he said he will meet with her "in the near future." Yes, the Land of Enchantment will also be voting Tuesday — and now that it's on your radar, you may want to consider its delegates. Thus, is New Mexico's primary winner-take-all?

Like every primary this election season, each party allocates their own delegates as they see fit. The Republicans tend to favor winner-take-all or winner-take-most scenarios, whereas the Democrats always allocate delegates proportionally. In New Mexico's case, though, both parties decided on proportional allocation. There are some subtle differences, though, between the Dems and the GOP.

The Republicans' system is the simplest. The delegates are split up based on the state-wide vote. As long as a candidate gets 15 percent of the vote, they get some of the 24 delegates. Trump will of course be the GOP nominee, but five other candidates — Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and John Kasich — will still be on the ballot. If any of the five were to win 15 percent of the vote, they would still be awarded delegates.

As for the Democrats, it's a bit more complicated — although still proportional. Some of the delegates are awarded proportionally, but on by congressional district. New Mexico has three and each get either seven or eight delegates. Then there are another 11 split up based on the statewide vote, for a total of 34 pledged delegates. There is a 15 percent threshold, just like the Republicans — something neither Clinton nor Sanders should have trouble meeting. There aren't many polls, but in the most recent it appears Clinton is leading by 26 points.

On top of the pledged delegates, New Mexico also has nine superdelegates. Seven of them have already announced their support for Clinton. Both of the state's Democratic senators, Sen. Martin Heinrich and Sen. Tom Udall, as well the state's Democratic representatives, Michelle Lujan Grisham and Ben R. Luján, are with her. That leaves only two for Sanders to convince — unless he's successful in his bid to flip more.

As for Trump's potential rapprochement with Martinez, it likely has to do with hoping to shore up support among women and Latinos — in addition to getting the well-liked governor to support his campaign. Gov. Martinez has so far refrained from endorsing Trump, while at the same time promising not to to vote for Clinton in November. Luckily the majority of the blue state's 2 million people probably will anyway.