ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – In 1953, Dwight D. Eisenhower was sworn in as president, the Mickey Mantle-led New York Yankees won their fifth straight World Series and gas cost just 29 cents a gallon.
It was also the last time Republicans controlled the New Mexico House of Representatives.
House minority whip Rep. Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, is leading the charge to try to make history.
“I think we have great odds,” Gentry said.
Currently, Democrats enjoy a 37-33 edge in the House, meaning a two-seat swing would be enough to knot up the chamber.
Thursday, one national GOP group confirmed it was going to try and help move the needle. GOPAC, which funds Republican candidates across the US, announced in a news release that it would be funding nine Republican candidates in New Mexico including four incumbent representatives.
Also Thursday, the Republican State Leadership Committee reaffirmed its interest in state House races in New Mexico. Of the top 14 individual races the group is eyeing nationwide, two of them are for state House seats in Albuquerque.
Specifics on how much the groups plan on spending in New Mexico haven’t been revealed at this point.
“I don’t know what we can expect yet so it remains to be seen what kind of money we’re looking at,” Gentry said. “But I think everyone acknowledges that New Mexico’s very much in play.”
However, there’s a reason the New Mexico House has stayed in Democratic hands for more than six decades.
According to the latest registration numbers from the Secretary of State, there are nearly 200,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in the state. In 2012, President Obama won New Mexico by 10 points over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
“The math for the Republicans is an uphill battle,” said Michael Sargeant, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee’s executive director in a statement. “Donors know it and are investing in Democrats who fight for working New Mexican families.”
“The DLCC has been very supportive financially and we are confident that Democrats will be successful.”
Sargeant says the DLCC has invested $57K in New Mexico PAC’s so far this campaign cycle.
While the balance of power in the New Mexico House is in question, the state Senate is locked in until 2016. Democrats enjoy a 25-17 edge in the Senate right now.