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Democrat Lujan Grisham wins governor's race

Democrat Lujan Grisham wins governor's race

The Latest on the midterm election in New Mexico (all times local):

8:51 p.m.

Democratic Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham has won election as governor of New Mexico to succeed a two-term Republican amid simmering conflicts over struggling public schools and high poverty rates.

The reins of state government will pass from one Latina to another as termed-out Gov. Susana Martinez leaves office.

Lujan Grisham has been a leading critic in Congress of President Donald Trump's policies on immigration.

The 59-year-old former state health secretary defeated Republican Rep. Steve Pearce in a campaign focused on expanding preschool education, lowering crime rates and reducing poverty.

Lujan Grisham is embracing new investment in solar and wind energy and has pledged to comply with a court order to help poor and minority students.

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8:50 p.m.

New Mexico voters have approved a constitutional amendment that clears the way for the creation of an independent ethics commission.

The proposal was on the ballot this year after many years of debate in the Legislature over establishing such a panel to address complaints involving elected officials, public employees and others.

The state has had a string of public corruption scandals going back more than a decade, with two state treasurers, two state senators, a secretary of state and a deputy insurance superintendent going to prison on criminal charges.

Most recently, a former state taxation and revenue secretary is facing felony charges of embezzlement and using a position in government for personal gain.

The number of states with ethics commissions has steadily increased in recent years, leaving New Mexico as one of six without one, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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8:36 p.m.

Democrat Debra Haaland has defeated Republican Janice E. Arnold-Jones in a New Mexico U.S. House race, earning a groundbreaking congressional victory as a Native American woman and keeping an open seat under Democratic control.

Libertarian Lloyd J. Princeton also was seeking to represent the district that includes Albuquerque, New Mexico's largest city. The seat was open because incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham opted to run for New Mexico governor.

Haaland is an enrolled Laguna Pueblo member. She was one of a few Native American women seeking to become the first elected to Congress on Tuesday.

Republican Yvette Herrell, a member of the Cherokee Nation, is in a hotly contested race for another open U.S. House seat in New Mexico. And Democrat Sharice Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, won a U.S. House seat in Kansas.

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7:50 p.m.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich has been re-elected in a three-way race against a Republican political newcomer and a Libertarian former governor.

The 47-year-old engineer and former Congressman won a second term, finishing ahead of construction contractor Mick Rich and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. Heinrich's victory further solidifies Democratic control over the state's Senate delegation.

Heinrich cast himself as a vigorous adversary of President Donald Trump's policies in the Senate, and campaigned on promises to defend federal health care and retirement programs.

Heinrich recently became an advocate for decriminalizing marijuana, co-opting one of Johnson's signature Libertarian issues against government interference. He derided Johnson's proposals to slash federal spending on Medicare, Medicaid and the military.

Rich ran on his reputation as a businessman while embracing Trump and voicing anti-abortion sentiments.

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5:50 p.m.

Candidates for governor of New Mexico are making last-minute appeals for support at polling places and restaurants in Albuquerque.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham stopped at a coffee house in the Barelas neighborhood Tuesday to eat and shake hands.

Campaign spokesman James Hallinan says Lujan Grisham voted in the afternoon along with family members at a middle school in a North Valley neighborhood.

Republican U.S. Rep and gubernatorial candidate Steve Pearce visited the polls in Albuquerque and stopped at a Vietnamese restaurant. He cast an early ballot weeks ago in his home town of Hobbs.

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5 p.m.

New Mexico's voter turnout numbers have surpassed those from the last midterm election in 2014 just hours before polls close.

New Mexico officials say more than 571,000 ballots have been cast by those who voted absentee, early in person or on Election Day. The numbers released by the New Mexico Secretary of State's Office reflect available voter data as of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The more than 375,000 votes cast at sites across the state before Tuesday accounted for the biggest share of ballots.

At least 132,500 people so far have voted on Election Day.

Nearly 520,000 people total voted in 2014.

More than 600,000 voted in 2010.

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3:15 p.m.

Hours before polls close, New Mexico's voter turnout numbers have surpassed those from the last midterm election in 2014.

New Mexico officials say more than 527,000 ballots have been cast by those who voted absentee, early in person or on Election Day. The numbers released by the New Mexico Secretary of State's Office reflect available voter data as of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The more than 375,000 votes cast at sites across the state before Tuesday accounted for the biggest share of ballots.

At least 89,000 people so far have voted on Election Day.

Registered Democrats comprise just more than half of the voters, casting 51 percent of ballots. Registered Republicans made up 34 percent of the electorate based on early numbers and independents accounted for 14 percent.

Nearly 520,000 people total voted in 2014.

More than 600,000 voted in 2010.

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1:25 p.m.

A Santa Fe resident says President Donald Trump has set the country on a violent and dangerous path.

Travis Moore, a 36-year-old technology worker and father, said he was voting Democratic in races for Congress, Senate, governor and statehouse representatives.

Moore said he's pretty much against all of what Trump does, including tax breaks for the rich and what he called "dog whistles for all kinds of racists stuff."

Moore said his wife works as a dentist in a public health clinic that relies on Medicaid funding. They fear that Republican plans to overturn the Affordable Care Act could affect her livelihood and undermine public access to health care in general.

Moore said he never considered himself to be a hard-core Democrat. Now he sees no other choice than voting Democrat in an effort to block the Republican majority on Congress.

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1:05 p.m.

A registered Republican from Bernalillo County says he is frustrated with the nation's polarizing political environment and wants to see members of both parties tackle issues where they have common ground.

Steve Baca, a 29-year-old server of legal notices for law firms told The Associated Press that one of those issues is criminal justice reform, which would involve reducing the nation's prison population and amending tough sentencing laws for non-violent drug offenders.

Baca said that's something both sides agree on "but they're too busy throwing stones at each other."

He said he voted for Republicans in all statewide and congressional races. In 2016, he voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson for president. He said the two issues most important to him were gun rights and lower taxes.

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12:50 p.m.

New Mexico officials say early voter data shows more than 37,000 ballots had been cast on Election Day by 10 a.m.

The early figure released by the New Mexico Secretary of State's Office brings the total number of people who have voted in the state through in-person early voting, absentee ballots, and Election Day voting to roughly 474,000. Democrats accounted for 51 percent of total ballots, while Republicans comprised 34 percent of voters.

Nearly 520,000 people total voted in 2014.

Before Tuesday, 2018 voter turnout shattered previous early voting records for midterm elections in New Mexico. In 2010, the last time the governor's seat was open, the number of early in-person and absentee voters was nearly 298,000.

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10:05 a.m.

A 23-year-old recent University of New Mexico grad says she voted for Republican Steve Pearce for governor largely because of his views on the state's struggling economy and his record as a businessman.

Vivianne Gonzalez told The Associated Press that Pearce shares her values on economic freedom and that considers him the best person to create jobs.

Gonzalez said she mainly voted for Republican candidates even though she's upset with some of President Donald Trump's decisions as president.

Gonzalez said she voted for Republican political newcomer Mick Rich for U.S. Senate over Democratic incumbent Sen. Martin Heinrich because Rich closely reflects her views on economic issues.

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9:45 a.m.

A 71-year-old retired chef who lives in the southern New Mexico border town of Columbus says he's angry that President Donald Trump and other Republicans are "using fear" to push for a border wall and immigration restrictions.

William Johnson says he was voting for Democrat Xochitl Torres Small who is running in a closely watched U.S. House race in the southern New Mexico and that he likes "like what she stands for."

Johnson says he especially likes that Torres Small isn't calling for the abolishment of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement like some liberal Democrats and was taking what Johnson considers a pragmatic approach to immigration and border security.

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7 a.m.

Voting is underway across New Mexico as polling locations open for Tuesday's midterm election.

Voters are picking the state's next governor, a U.S. senator, three U.S. House members and a string of statewide offices.

Democratic Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham and Republican Congressman Steve Pearce were vying to succeed termed-out Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

A congressional district bordering Mexico is among the more competitive races in the state, with Republican state lawmaker Yvette Herrell facing Democratic attorney Xochitl Torres Small.

Polls are scheduled to close at 7 p.m., when absentee ballots also are due.

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11:40 a.m.

Polls are opening across New Mexico as voters decide on the state's next governor, a U.S. Senate seat, representation in Congress and a string of statewide offices.

Balloting began Tuesday as two member of Congress compete to be governor. Democratic Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham and Republican Congressman Steve Pearce were vying to succeed termed-out Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

A congressional district bordering Mexico is among the more competitive races in state, with Republican state lawmaker Yvette Herrell facing Democratic attorney Xochitl Torres Small.

Polls are scheduled to close at 7 p.m., when absentee ballots also are due.

Election regulators say several independent groups have appointed election watchers and observers to safeguard against fraud and unintentional problems or conduct research.

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For AP's complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics

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