In an email sent on Thursday, the Republican Party
of New Mexico
congressional candidate Mark Moores
' loss in a special election
on "low voter turnout" caused by "angry" Republican voters
who "questioned election integrity."
If that were true, the party would only be responsible for themselves.
Following the 2020 election
, the state GOP repeated former President Donald Trump
's lies about widespread voter fraud, claiming that Trump lost New Mexico by nearly 11% due to fraud. (There was no widespread voter fraud in New Mexico or any other state.)
They falsely claimed that votes
appeared out of nowhere and that Republican observers were not permitted to observe post-election canvasses, both of which were false. The party filed a lawsuit
to overturn the state's results after state electors voted for Biden, the state's popular vote winner, on Dec. 14. The lawsuit was dismissed.
Even after the Trump-inspired riot at the U.S. Capitol
on Jan. 6, the party supported legislation introduced by a state GOP legislator to disenfranchise the 500,000-plus New Mexicans who voted for President Joe Biden
and award the state to Trump. However, because the New Mexico legislature and governor
's mansion are controlled by Democrats
, the bill did not pass.
The party is still controlled by supporters of the stolen election myth, which sparked the riot and continues to justify the GOP's anti-democratic stance.
“Anomalies and issues that were never addressed have tarnished our democracy
,” New Mexico GOP chair Steve Pearce, a former congressman, said after the Jan. 6 attack
Moores was defeated by Democrat Melanie Stansbury
in a special election to fill the seat vacated by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland
by a nearly 25-point margin. Voter turnout was less than half that of the 2020 general election, but significantly lower turnout is typical for a special election.
The drop-off in Republican voter turnout was greater than the drop-off in Democratic turnout: Stansbury received 42% of the votes that Haaland received in 2020, while Moores received 34% of the votes that 2020 GOP candidate Michelle Garcia Holmes received.
There is no direct evidence, however, that Republicans
stayed home because they believed the election would be rigged and their votes would be invalidated.
Perhaps the best explanation for the Republicans' loss is that their candidates lost this seat by double digits in five consecutive elections
as the district shifted further toward Democrats. Additionally, the national Democratic Party
sent resources and high-profile surrogates to help Stansbury win, while the national Republican Party stayed out entirely.
The myth of the stolen election, on the other hand, provides a better solace. Those who "stole the election" also stole the will of Republican voters, so the blame for losing this election falls squarely on the shoulders of the mythical election thieves, rather than the underfunded candidate running in a heavily anti-party district. The party is absolved of all responsibility.