Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., defeated former Republican Rep. Heather Wilson Tuesday in the New Mexico Senate race. The Associated Press has called the race for Heinrich.
Wilson was considered a top recruit for Republicans because of her history of winning tight House races in the state's left-leaning 1st Congressional District. But the Republican was unable to overcome the Heinrich's advantage in the blue state.
Despite solid fundraising efforts and early help from outside conservative groups, Wilson consistently trailed Heinrich in the polls. Her inability to cut into the Democrat's lead underscores the difficulty Republicans may have moving forward winning in New Mexico, given the state's growing Hispanic population. Mitt Romney's campaign never seriously made a play for the state in the presidential race, and President Obama comfortably won there Tuesday.
Heinrich tied Wilson to the national Republican Party at every turn, making it difficult for her to pitch herself as a moderate, independent voice for the state. The Democrat received significant financial backing from a coalition of environmental groups who opposed Wilson's candidacy.
Heinrich will replace Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who decided not to run for reelection.
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