As the nation woke up to an undecided presidential election, The Paper. spoke with Senator Martin Heinrich midday on Wednesday to get a sense of how the two-term Democrat from New Mexico, soon to be the state’s senior senator, was feeling as the country watched the election results unfold.
The Paper.: What’s the feeling right now with what’s going on with the presidential election? Is everyone preparing for a long fight?
I feel pretty confident that Biden is going to win the popular vote and the electoral college. We’re also going to see a historical of the number of votes cast in this election for a Democratic nominee.
It’s going to be very clear who won the election. Once the votes are counted, it’s going to put the president in a weak position in the courts. I don’t think the American people are going to stand a challenge to such a clear cut vote. I don’t think his elected supporters in the House and Senate are going to stand for a president who delegitimizes the right of citizens to vote.
Biden is going to have a legitimate right to the White House.
The Paper.: What does this election really say about the state of politics and in New Mexico with the CD2 race in southern N.M.? Are those extreme right views now more mainstream?
I think that so much of this is a reflection of a president who is really good at fanning the flames of division. I think it’s very early to see what CD 2 is going to be like in terms of politics.The good news is that a lot of House members from rural areas kept their seats around the country. This president has really drug the political discourse into the mud. It’s going to take a lot of work and empathy on both sides to meet people where they are and rebuild the political discourse.
The Paper.: Do you feel like it’s a positive step forward for the Democrats to flip states like Colorado and Arizona?
I think it’s an indication of where growth is occurring in our country. The Democratic votes historically have been reliant on upper Midwestern manufacturing states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. What we’re seeing of the future of the Democratic Party, where wages and jobs are growing in the sunbelt states. Over time New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona and Colorado. We’re the future of the Democratic Party. It’s more proressive and diverse than historically what its been. It’s a reflection of how our country is really changing.
The Paper.: With this election being so partisan, how does this bode for the future of the Democrats in this state and in the country?
In NM we have moved from being a lean GOP state in the time I’ve been in politics and now we’re a very clearly Democratic state. CD2 wasn’t supposed to be Democratic, things haven’t changed as much people thought in certain areas. State Senate seats that were won, show that we’re moving in a more progressive direction. It gives you a sense of where the state is going long term.